Who first came up with the ridiculous idea that governments are better at stuff than we are ourselves?
No, really, I want to know. Was it Napoleon? Or was he just copying Louis XIV? Must have been some French guy, for sure. Or... wait... was it that Roman Emperor bloke? Caesar Augustus, Emperor of the Month, the man who invented modern taxation and bureaucratised the Empire. Yeah, he probably started the rot.
Whoever it was, he owes us a serious apology. Never a day passes without fresh proof of just how disastrously it all turned out. Here's another grim selection picked up by BOM correspondents in just the last few days:
Twoks on the Kango Job
We've blogged NHS dentistry so often our teeth hurt. Today's news confirms the lunacy of the commissars' new contract - the one that pays NHS dentists the same whether they do complex and time-consuming crown work, or simply smash out all your teeth with a Kango.
Guess what. They're taking the Kango option:
"Dentists in England are more likely to extract teeth or fit false ones than fit fillings or crowns under a new contract introduced two years ago.
Treatments that included fitting dentures rose by 10% to 48% between 2003-04 and 2007-08, while extractions rose from 7% to 8%, a report by the NHS Information Centre. By contrast, the number of crowns fitted fell from 48% to 35%, while the number of fillings fell from 28% to 26%.
Susie Sanderson, chair of the British Dental Association's executive board, said "More than a million people have now lost access to NHS dental care. Those that are able to access care are confronted with a system that discourages modern, preventive care by placing targets, rather than patients, at its heart."
Well, who could have predicted that?
(HTP Rory S)
Twoks on the Arthur Daley Job
Psst. Wanna buy some cheap Eurofighters?
No, seriously - straight up. These are kosher Eurofighter Typhoons - as new. Well no, not as new - they are new. Brand new. Never been used - still in the box. It's an overstock - y'know, they need the warehouse space.
Something else we've blogged so many times our extremities hurt - the ludicrously superfluous Cold War* Eurofighter Typhoon (see these blogs). When last sighted, MOD had contracted to buy 232 of them at a total cost of c£20bn, or £80m apiece.
But now we learn:
"Talks have been held with countries including Japan about offloading large numbers of Eurofighter Typhoons that the British Ministry of Defence has ordered but can no longer afford...
...the UK and Italy asked late last year what it would cost to buy fewer aircraft than agreed initially or none at all, but both options were regarded as unworkable because they would incur such a high financial penalty. The Eurofighter contract is written so tightly that it would be almost as cheap to take delivery of the aircraft as to incur the penalties."
Bottom line? We'll be selling them to the Saudis for about 3p apiece.
You'll be paying the difference.
(HTP Jeremy Poynton)
Twoks on the 7/7 Job
As you will know by now, the tax-funded BBC's Children in Need appeal financed the 7/7 bombers:
"Children in Need inadvertently handed £20,000 to the 7/7 London bombers. The BBC charity cash was given to a bookshop run by Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, who spent it on videos glorifying holy war."
Cards on the table - I have never been a fan of Children in Need. Quite apart from the fact that El Tel Wogan charges a fee for fronting it, its mix of cloying sentimentality, self-congratulation, and unabashed self-promotion just doesn't appeal somehow.
And this latest twist doesn't surprise one jot.
Roll on privatisation.
(HTP Dryden T-H)
Twoks on the Fraud Job
Over at Bendy Girl, the girl in question has spotted a problem with Commissar Purnell's Job Brokers - the private sector operators who are supposed to get Benefitsscoungingscum (the girl's words, not mine) back to work. Apparently, the brokers may - only may, mind -have been defrauding the Simple Shopper, and not finding real work for IB recipients after all.
Well, waddya know.
No, that's it - enough Twoks for one day.
*Footnote: Ah yes, hmmm, the Cold War. Maybe not so cold any more? Maybe we will need those Typhoons? But are they any good against Russia's gas supply weapon? Wrap up warm this winter.
Update 22.8.08: Yet another data fiasco - another subcontractor (PA) has lost a datastick containing "personal details and intelligence on 33,000 serious offenders, dossiers on 10,000 “priority criminals” and the names and dates of birth of all 84,000 prisoners in England and Wales. There is also information on an unspecified number of people enlisted on drug intervention programmes." PA are clearly at fault, but WTF is the hopeless Home Office doing dishing out this data in the first place? Presumably thousands more villains will now have to be released on the grounds of breached human rights. Words like fiasco and twok seem somehow inadequate.