Friday, May 01, 2009

Uncontrollable Pandemic - Billions At Risk

Tyler's new facemask

Run for your lives!

The Bacillus Consuasor Gravis* has mutated, and is back on your case!

Now there's nowhere to run. Wherever you go, it will seek you out and suck you dry. There is no escape. We're all doomed!

This morning we hear the alarming news that the Bacillus has attached itself to Cam - the very man who was supposed to cure us:

"A management consultancy employed for its cost-cutting skills is playing a key role in helping Shadow Cabinet members to draw up their preparations for power.

Boston Consulting Group has seconded a member of staff to the implementation unit run by Francis Maude... Two other Shadow ministers receive help from Boston Consulting: George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, who wields huge power over the economy, City regulation and wider party spending commitments, and Michael Gove, the Schools Minister."

Worse, BCG are apparently working "pro bono" - just like Andersons did before the 1997 election. And we all know how that ended - when last sighted, the government was spending an extraordinary £3bn pa on consultants, five times more per employee than private sector firms (see many previous blogs eg here, and the Bloke's old vid here).

So what are BCG actually doing in exchange for their projected future revenues?

"The company traditionally works out where the axe should fall in the private sector by categorising bits of a business into “Stars”, “Cash Cows”, “Question Marks” and “Dogs”, and then advises where to allocate cash accordingly."

Ah, the famous BCG matrix. And in case you haven't seen it (you normally have to pay), here it is:

Get the idea? You categorise all your various businesses according to their growth rate and their market share. Those with low growth and low market share are Dogs - to be put down - and those with high growth and high market share are Stars - to be fed and watered liberally.

So, how would that apply to the public sector?

Now let me see...

Let's start with the NHS. That's clearly high growth and, as a virtual state monopoly, it definitely has a high market share. So it's A Star, to be liberally fed and watered... just like it has been for the last decade.

Education? High growth, high market share... definitely A Star - feed and water, just like the last decade.

Welfare benefits? High growth, high market share... definitely A Star - feed and water, just like the last decade.

Oh, but hang on... we've already accounted for nearly two-thirds of government spending. Surely they can't all be Stars. How are we ever going to cut spending? There have to be some Dogs.

Ah yes, Defence. That's got definite canine features. For one, thing it's virtually alone among public services to see a decline in real terms over the last 20 years. And for another, its global market share has collapsed. An ideal candidate for the chop.

I have a very nasty feeling about this.

As from today, I'll definitely be wearing a facemask.

PS For those who haven't seen it, Simon Jenkins article on the Great Flu Pandemic is worth reading. He reminds us just how often the global doom industry has cried wolf with nothing very much materialising... except of course, bigger public subsidies for said global doom industry. I'll attempt to discover just how much all these HMG ads, leaflets, and general scurrying activities are costing us.

*Footnote Bacillus Consuasor Gravis* is obviously extremely serious, but the interesting thing is that Latin has no literal translation for "consultant", only "advisor". How can the Roman Empire possibly have grown so powerful without consultants?