Should Governmental Policy Be Based On Ideology or Evidence?

Ideology –
“A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic
or political theory and policy”

* * *

Tuition Fees

8th December 2010
David Cameron, Prime Minister said:
£9,000 tuition fees are “sustainable, competitive and fair.”
“We have no choice: we need change”
 “…the change we are proposing is the best option we’ve got.”
The rise in tuition fees is “”the fairest option on the table.”
There are many benefits to the change, “but most importantly, making it fairer – opening the doors of universities to everyone, regardless of where they’re from.”

David Cameron Peking Uni

16th January 2014
The BBC reported that “Higher fees led to a 17% drop in undergraduates.”
The Office for Fair Access said it was “concerned” as “any downturn in their numbers is therefore likely to have serious repercussions on the competitiveness of our economy.”
The BBC reported that “in Scotland, where the government still pays for the tuition of Scottish students studying within the country, there was a 2% rise in the number of students taking up places on full-time undergraduate courses.”

21st March 2014
The Guardian reported that “Student fees likely cost more than the system it replaced.”
“revised civil service forecasts [have] conclude[d] that far fewer graduates will earn enough to pay back their loans over their working lives.”
This means that “by 2042 about £90bn out of the overall £200bn in student loans will remain unpaid.”
The National Union of Students higher education vice-president, Rachel Wenstone, said the figures represented a turning point in the debate over student funding and that it had become a failed experiment.”

* * *

Badger Cull

14 December 2011
Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP said:
“no one wants to see badgers culled. But at present there is no satisfactory alternative.”

Caroline Spelman
March 2012
The Bow Group, a Conservative thinktank, stated the cull “should be scrapped in favour of vaccination to help curb the bovine TB infection afflicting cattle.”
81% of people are opposed to the badger cull.
Natural England warned that local extinctions “cannot be ruled out”.

13th October 2012
The Guardian reported that “More than 30 eminent animal disease experts describe the cull as a “costly distraction” that risks making the problem of tuberculosis in cattle worse and that will cost far more than it saves.”

25th October 2012
In a non-legally bound vote in parliament, MPs voted to stop the cull by 147 votes to 28.

September 2014
The Wildlife Trusts urged the government to drop culling and move towards vaccination.
Badger vaccination in Wales in 2012/13 saw a 23.6% decrease in the number of infected cattle. In England, where badgers were culled, cases of infected cattle increased by 17% during the same period.

* * *

Privatisation of Railways

28 March 2013
Patrick McLoughlin, Conservative MP said:
“The record of franchising also shows why it is right that we now take the East Coast Mainline… back into private hands.”

29 September 2014
“Our plan: a new private operator from next year running more trains to Leeds, faster services to Edinburgh, new routes, new trains, growth.”

27 November 2014
“I think [privatisation is] a very good deal for passengers and staff”


18 April 2013
The Office of Rail Regulations discovered that “The state-run East Coast rail service requires less public subsidy than any of the 15 privately run rail franchises in Britain.”

5 November 2013
A YouGov poll found that 66% of the public wanted to re-nationalise the railways.

7 March 2014
The TUC stated that “Directly Operated Railways (DOR) – the public operator of the line – has achieved record levels of customer satisfaction, provided the highest returns to the taxpayer while receiving the lowest public subsidy among all the train operators, and received 35 industry awards since 2011.”

38Degrees has a petition entitled “Keep East Coast Public” which 35,000 people have signed.

27 November 2014
The Guardian reported that East Coast mainline has contributed “around £1bn to the exchequer since 2009.”


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2 thoughts on “Should Governmental Policy Be Based On Ideology or Evidence?

  1. I think it’s interesting to unpack the question here. Is it actually possible to collect evidence without first using an ideological position to do so? If I’m to decide that some things are correct and some things are not then I must be using a methodology and therefore an epistemology (because I’ve been forced to decide what it is actually possible to know). However, if you and I disagree about what is knowable then can we ever actually agree on an evidence-based policy?

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I think that it is entirely impossible to be completely neutral on an issue, so to collect evidence without a position is not something that could be achieved.
      In media studies/journalism, you are always told to be objective, but there is nobody that is, because there is no issue that is so straight down the middle 50-50 that requires you to be absolutely neutral.

      In this post I have tried to use a range of sources, and a range of comments from multiple people to show that my evidence is not coming from a single point. I have even used a Conservative thinktank.
      Quite obviously, the evidence I have presented supports my beliefs about society should be run, and what policies need to be changed. If someone were to write a defence of the policies I have challenged here then I would be interested to see what evidence, if any, would be available to them.

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