Paul Stainton: Don’t just change for change’s sake

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I have long been an advocate of the concept that no idea is a bad idea. Even the wackiest, strangest and most ridiculous of notions can be used, improved and manipulated into something good, something worthwhile – Or so I thought.

I have now come to the conclusion that too many new ideas can actually cause more harm than good and lead to confusion, anger and resentment.

Take the present government for example – They have lots and lots of ideas which they throw about like a flan flinger at a Tiswas reunion dinner.

One week we were having plain packaging on cigarette packets, the next we were all paying more for our sausage rolls, due to the hasty pasty tax; except we didn’t.

The caravan tax came and went a lot quicker than your average three berth does when it’s on the A47 bound for “Sunny Hunny” and the big plan to sell off our forests was chopped down before the idea had even taken root.

It seems every five minutes we get another radical proposal for the health service, our schools or the lesser spotted, sabre toothed squirrel – Don’t bother googling it, I made it up, although it does sound more dangerous than a badger.

Change might be good for Sheryl Crow but I long for the days when you had stability and you could make plans for the future, without the goalposts being continuously moved.

You get a pension, then they change the rules; you invest in a house and they move the drive and don’t even get me started on the various phone numbers you have to remember if you are not quite dead or if you haven’t been the victim of a big enough crime.

I don’t want to speak to someone who is reading from a script and using the internet to look up my symptoms; I want to see a doctor or a nurse please; I’ve paid for it.

I don’t want a crime number; I want a policeman to visit my house and check that I haven’t been the victim of fraud; “I only counted ten Chipsticks in my packet last Tuesday officer and the Wagon Wheels must have fallen off a Lego stagecoach.”

This week’s grand plans, from the department of not needed notions, began with a cut to disability benefits, which caused unnecessary worry and bewilderment to those who depend on them just to survive.

It also forced Iain Duncan Doughnuts to fall on his sword and claim that his government was in danger of “Dividing society rather than uniting it.” Cue Tory in-fighting and another U-turn.

Schools were the next target on some bright sparks cunning concept list, although Peterborough City Council leader, John Holdich, isn’t convinced that all of ours should become academies. Sadly, judging by their recent results, something needs to be done to re-invigorate our primary schools.

The same could be said of Peterborough City Hospital, although I can’t see how a merger with Hinchingbrooke could possibly be the brainwave that is required; one huge deficit, plus one huge deficit, surely equals one even bigger deficit.

New ideas will be required to solve many of these problems but I think we need to have a moratorium on change for change’s sake.

Successive governments, of all colour, are guilty of this; Why can’t they just leave some things be?

Have they never heard of the phrase, less is more?