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A considerable amount of the increase in public sector jobs are down to the Blair governments actions but it is often forgotten that these will include teachers and health workers.

Let's look at some factors that will be contributing to the increase.

For a start, there has been considerable recruitment of nurses and doctors to the NHS due simply to the changes in working patterns. Newly qualified doctors working in hospitals have had their hours reduced from the rediculous and dangerous level of 80-90 a week on call. This meant more were needed to provide 24/7 cover. Not in itself a significant number but there are also increases due to the pressure on health authorities to make extra provision.

The numbers involved in that will however be quite small compared to the education side, particularly the under 11s. Blair's famous "education, education education" commitment meant that more non-teaching staff were employed to support class teachers. Again fairly small in overall terms but more recently they have mandated that every teacher has a half day session a week for preparation, marking and personal professional development. This was already common practive in secondary schools where the teaching tends ot be undertaken by subject specialists. For most primary school teachers this was an innovation but it meant schools had to get their classes covered. The need is for an extra 10% teacher time. This does not necessarily equate to only another 10% of people employed as many of these cover posts will appeal to part timers or temporary teachers.

by Londonbear on Tue Apr 11th, 2006 at 05:05:33 PM EST
I am certainly not saying that that spending is bad - just pointing out that this is not how "Blairism" is sold. They flaunt their "reformist" credentials, and do the exact opposite, while blaming Old Europe for doing pretty much what they are doing.

Look at the Ségolène Royal episode. She said that she thought Blair was unfairly criticised despite spending a lot on education and healthcare - and that has been turned in the papers into a supposed admiration of the "third way" and "reform", etc... which Blair is supposed to embody.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 11th, 2006 at 05:59:15 PM EST
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And I won't be the one to call foul here: improving teaching and health has my blessings. Although the other side of the story is the oft remarked injection of more and new manager tiers into the NHS (and what about schools?) Although I believe this is more Metatone's beef than it is mine.

The hypocricy, though, comes when the UK is touted as a "booming" economy, while its plummeting unemployment number is covered by increased public jobs. Again, I find nothing wrong with public jobs - as long as it is spend wisely. But freemarketistas (to generalise) shouldn't use the number as fodder that the Anglo-Saxon model trumps any other economic configuration while Blair and Brown practically betray the ideology they seem to pursue... And according to TGeraghty, the same is true for the US - but there the defense sector takes much of the public spending pie. Now there public spending doesn't seem the wisest solution...

by Nomad on Tue Apr 11th, 2006 at 06:11:06 PM EST
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It was quite right for New Labour to create public-sector jobs after the diet Thatcher put public services on. What is insincere is to hush that up, claim the improvement in the job market is due to mobility, make out Britain has a hot free-market economy when in fact Blair & Brown have been running a Keynesian spending policy.

It's particularly infuriating when B&B and their surrogates (see this Ashley Seager article for example) keep on feeding the meme of a stark divide between UK and French economies, one successful, the other "failing". This narrative constantly paints a picture of a stodgy public-sector France compared to a flexible private-sector Britain. The implication is always that the UK has defeated unemployment through private-sector job creation. In fact, it's the other way round : over a decade, France has created more private-sector jobs than Britain, while Britain has been strong in public-sector job creation.

BTW, when you read in the press (hard to avoid this one since the Economist fed it into the mainstream a couple of weeks ago) that three-quarters (or two-thirds, accounts differ) of young French people want to become civil servants, you should remember that  teachers and health workers are included in the French fonction publique. In Britain they are public-sector employees, but not civil servants. Just another small example of the (more or less wilful) inaccuracy of British journalists in presenting France and its economy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 12th, 2006 at 02:20:56 AM EST
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