Monday, January 08, 2007
The other morning I was taking a shower with Caroline Slocock.
No, titter ye not. She's Chief Executive of the £10.5m pa Equal Opportunities Commission, and as I got to work with the loofah, she was barking into my ear about how working women don't get a fair crack of the whip. Inflexible working hours... child-minding... glass ceilings... hardly any female company directors... blah, blah. You get the picture.
But the bit that caught my attention was when she claimed that companies pursuing such blatant discrimination were missing out on a great opportunity. Didn't they realise that being more flexible would boost corporate performance, and they'd end up making tons more money? It was pure win-win!
Caroline sounded so very sure of her ground, you'd have to guess she's an expert on how companies make money.
Er, no. She's actually a cradle to grave civil servant, who as far as I can tell, has never even worked outside Whitehall, let alone sampled the grubby world of commerce.
It was the pure voice of the Commissariat: you businesses don't seem to know how to run your own businesses, so we'll tell you. It's all a question of logic, and we're the ones with the best brains. QED.
Needless to say, in finest Dictatorship of the Proletariat traditions, the EOC wants more legislation to force employers to listen.
Of course, in the real world, such humbug top-down inflexible one-size ill-informed ideas don't work. They simply impose new burdens for the rest of us to carry.
Private businesses can usually - at a cost - find a workaround. And if things get too bad, they can simply up sticks and emigrate, as several of our biggest firms are currently thinking of doing.
The real damage is inflicted on our public services, which have no escape, and for whom the Commissars are the direct paymaster. And every day on BOM we document the consequences.
Now, the Commissars are usually the last to realise that things aren't working. They lead cloistered chauffeur driven lives, well insulated from the illiteracy, MRSA, and street violence facing those who depend on the public service sharp-end.
But every now and again their own private lives bump deliciously into the consequences of their own arrogance, and we all get to see exactly what appalling humbugs they are.
So today we have the oh so richly deserved public roasting of Ruth Kelly. Just like so many many other Commissars, she's decided that the education shambles she's inflicted on the rest of us simply isn't good enough for her own child. So it's a £15 grand a year private school instead.
Of course, all of us small government types fully support her right to do this- indeed the young Tylers were both privately educated. And we want to see all parents being given similar rights through voucher-based choice.
But the hypocrisy. The sheer black blackness of it.
Ruthie, you are a sinner, and there is no health in you. But we are merciful people and we will do what we can to intercede for your immortal soul. Before nightfall we need to see you in sackcloth on your knees in front of the Abbey. We need to hear how you now support free choice for all parents, and the immediate end to educational control by Commissars.
And you need to tighten that spiked gartar belt a couple more notches.
It won't be easy. But there will be more rejoicing over a sinner who repenteth, than there has ever been over your hopeless dysfunctional state education system.
An in the name of God, I pray you, don't follow the Chipmunk. Her continuing promotion of Commissariat health policies she so clearly disagrees with has surely consigned her to the eternal fires of Hell!
Of course, the best outcome of all would be a mass repentence. For the entire Commissariat to assemble at the barren rainswept site of the 2012 Olympics, on their knees, to confess their sins, and to beg forgiveness.
PS The R4 Today coverage of this issue was its usual self. According to them, Ruthie's sin is mainly an issue among Westminster politicians, and it's no business of the rest of us, who should respect her privacy. Er wrong. We're all foaming out here.
Posted by Mike D at 8:55 am