Whilst we’re waxing Ludwig von Mises, let me direct you once more to the estimable Newton Emerson, who eloquently makes the case for limited government. Let’s recall, as mentioned on these pages before, that the current Stormont Assembly has 108 representatives, where the old Stormont got by with a mere 52. (And the Scottish Parliament, more powerful and with a population three times the size, has only 129.) On top of that, you’ve got the first and deputy first ministers, ten departmental ministers and two junior ministers in the OFMDFM, plus each department being shadowed by an Assembly committee. Not to mention Assembly members double- or triple-jobbing as Westminster MPs or district councillors, with their wives and children on the payroll.
Newt approvingly cites the example of Sir Basil Brooke, prime minister of the North between 1943 and 1963, who got all his business at Stormont done on one morning per week before returning to his Fermanagh estate. Bearing in mind what our political class is like, that’s a pretty good record. And yet, the punditocracy (itself under threat of downsizing, as Newt points out) is grousing about the current Assembly’s two-day week, and demanding more political product. No, a thousand times no! Can you imagine the damage these bozos would do working a five-hour week?
Peter Robinson keeps talking about the need to reduce headcount in the public sector. Our elected representatives would be a good place to start.