Sunday, November 09, 2008
News From BOM Correspondents - 8
This week's news and links:
Simple Shopper litter bins
Over at Zen Mischief Keith Marshall blogs news that the London Underground is to be equipped with "bomb-proof" litter bins. At an eye-watering cost of £30 grand apiece.
FSA to regulate City Sandwich bars
Despite its catastrophic failure in regulating Britain's banks at the corporate level, the FSA is now proposing extending its work to cover "everyday" High Street banking.
BOM correspondent JW sees vast new opportunities to expand the FSA empire beyond even the chunky growth Lord Turner already plans:
"I am sure we can find other useful extensions of FSA power, like sandwich bars (expose city workers to risk of food poisoning leading to collapse of financial institutions through loss of key personnel); shoe resolers (accident on Docklands express catapulting thousands down escalators, mashed bankers leading to collapse of financial institutions through etc."
And note too that despite their manifest and hideously expensive failure, Turner has pledged to pay FSA staff their bonuses.
BERR grabs the internet
As we know, Big Government hates the freedom of the internet, and would like nothing better than to bring it under state control.
Now, Dave draws our attention to BERR/DTI's new plan to take over Nominet, which is the independent company in charge of the .co.uk registry. According to Reg:
"In a letter dated October 15, senior civil servant David Hendon, BERR's Director of Business Relations, asked Nominet chairman Bob Gilbert: "What arguments would you employ to convince my Ministers that the present relationship between government and the company is appropriate in ensuring that public policy objectives in relation to the management of the domain name system and the standing of the UK in the internet community are understood and taken into account?"
It is a naked power grab by the Ministry of Mandy.
Worst Procurement Project Ever Award
BOM readers are all too familiar with the MOD's appalling record in defence procurement. The latest fiasco concerns the £16bn contract for the Future Rapid Effects System (Fres), a medium-weight armoured vehicle set to replace a myriad different vehicles currently operated by the army.
Despite a clear and desperate operational need for speed, the whole project has been stymied by MOD indecision. One source told the FT: “The entire procurement strategy has been bonkers.” Another said “This has been the worst procurement programme ever."
But that can't be right. We know for a fact that the title "Worst Procurement Programme Ever" was officially awarded by PAC Chairman Leigh to the Chinook fiasco (£0.5bn on 8 unflyable choppers currently sitting in a shed in Wiltshire).
You can't have two Worst Ever Procurement Projects. Is this yet another example of MOD indecision? (HTP JW)
£20m on police propaganda
As we know, the key element in Labour's criminal justice strategy is to persuade us that crime mainly exists in our own heads. And they run an extensive propaganda campaign to help with that persuading.
Now we learn that the Home Office has spent £20.3m on TV advertising over the past five years, and that excludes fees, VAT and production costs. It is a gross misuse of taxpayers' cash.
PS On the subject of the FSA, at least we can rest easy knowing they've got a firm grip on money laundering. Last week, ahead of the rate cuts, Tyler switched some cash from a variable rate building society account to a fixed rate. And as per - even though he has been a customer of said BS for 20 years, and even though this was simply switching some cash within the same BS - he had to present his passport for photocopy and docketing "to comply with anti-money laundering regulations". What a fabulously useless bit of box-ticking.