Whilst I think there is far, far too much waste in public spending and that the money can be better spent on more efficient and higher quality services, as shown by some councils (A Tale Of Two Councils - or Why I Wish I Had Hammersmith & Fulham Council), I also have limited faith in Labour to achieve this. So until the next election the choice is between higher taxes and serious lapses in what's needed. That's the honest truth - expecting Gordon Brown to discover efficiency after nearly ten years is like expecting Ruth Kelly to be a true believer in equality.
Nowhere is this deficit in provision clearer than in the current crisis of limited prison numbers. Even paedophiles are being kept out of jails because of it. (BBC News: Full jails change child porn term) This is simply unacceptable.
If in the short term I have to pay an extra penny or two in income tax or another 2 1/2 % VAT to finance new prison places (and specifically this - I don't want it flooding into the general pot to be wasted in traditional Gordon Brown style) then that's a price worth paying until we can get a government that will sort out the finances properly. Dogma about low taxation doesn't do diddly squat in a situation such as we have now.
But let's be honest - New Labour doesn't work that way. It sees any increase in tax as an opportunity for waste, for pointless jobs, for new administrators to set targets and massage the figures to meet them. Meanwhile it's the public who are at risk.