Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
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When will democratic governments stop running scared?

I was reading recently how the British Government had recognised that they had a problem with hitting house building targets and that there were a number of granted planning permissions that were not being implemented.They recognised that it was likely that builders were holding on to their planning permissions while they waited for house prices to increase.

The Government's response was to set up an inquiry to establish, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what they expected. Regardless of whether or not the Government hypothesis was true, if people are not using their planning permissions for the buildings they had proposed then they should not be allowed to hold on to them. 

A private organisation, faced with such a problem would have implemented a time limit on planning permissions, not set up an enquiry.

This led me to investigate how many other consultations the Government were operational in 2017. However, having found over 100 in the Department for Business alone, I decided that I needed to go no further.

Let me say that I have experience of Government Committees, and they all need to be staffed by senior civil servants, there is a need to provide facilities including refreshments, paying of travel expenses and often hotel accommodation. In other words, such enquiries are expensive, time consuming an keep many civil servants in pensionable employment.

However, many such consultations are defined as open ended, and others run for a considerable length of time.

I may be old fashioned, but I thought democracies elected parliaments to make decisions, not to cover their rear ends by asking non-parliamentarians to decide the outcomes. 

It seems to me that parliamentary democracies have become afraid to use their own judgement as their electorate expected them to, and instead to bat issues off to the sidelines to occupy the inflated numbers of civil servants.

Surely it is time for innovation to enter the democratic process. Taking the example of the planning permissions, why not immediately implement a regulation that puts a limit to the time between gaining permission and commencing work. Could not there also be a requirement at planning permission time to submit the length of time ti will take to build?

While the tabloid press may find the odd exception where an investor went bust and it took a month over the limit to get a new investor, but I be there would be a sharp decrease in the number of planning permissions not being used.

Whether you love him or hate him, at last in Donald Trump you have a politician that does what he said he would do. As a consequence, at the end of his term people have information on which to decide whether to continue to support him or to back another candidate. 

In the majority of democracies, and certainly in the UK, it would be hard to make such an appraisal at the end of most leader's tenures. Surely the need for innovation in Government was never more obvious that in the last UK election where the only thing on offer was that our leader is better than your leader! 

Boys stopped playing that game behind the bike sheds when they entered their teens. Isn't it time that governments either got the courage of their convictions and started making decisions? That should remember that ' those that say something is impossible should get out of the way of those of us that are doing it'

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