The thing about red tape is we really want more of it

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The Telegraph had an interesting report today:

Vince Cable has warned that businesses could end up with more regulation rather than less from the Government's Red Tape Challenge campaign.

The Business Secretary said that members of the public and consumer groups were using the Government website to lobby hard for existing regulations to be maintained or increased.

The moves put pressure on the Prime Minister who has pledged to leave office with less red tape on the statute books than when the Coalition was formed. If the weight of public opinion tips in favour of keeping regulations, ministers will feel under less pressure to reduce red tape for businesses.

He pointed to the Red Tape Challenge website and said: “Very perversely we are being bombarded by messages from the public saying please increase regulation.”

Mr Cable said messages from people who had lost “loved ones” in workplace accidents made clear their opposition to any reduction in health & Safety regulations. Consumer groups were also co-ordinating responses on the site, he said.

So it's not perverse at all: it's absolutely logical. Regulation has been put in place to:

a) Protect the public good

b) Protect people from the externalities of the market

c) Prevent abuse

d) Ensure people are not oppressed

No wonder people like regulation. People have fought for this regulation, and for good reason. They're not going to live it up easily.

Please keep defending regulation. It exists for your benefit.

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