This week's news and links:
Excellent cartoon above is by Dutch illustrator Siegfried Woldhek. So much for G's supposedly massive international standing.
Well worth taking a look through Siegfried's gallery (copied with permission).
(HTP Michael P)
Honours for failure
"Dr Barbara Hakin, East Midlands health authority chief executive and key player in GP negotiation over pay and contracts, has become a dame." (BBC News)
So would that be those GP contracts that turned out to be one of the most costly failures in the entire history of the NHS? The contract that gave GPs an immediate 30% pay increase while simultaneously allowing them to opt out of providing Saturday morning surgeries, and out of hours cover? (See many previous posts - eg here)
Failure is a concept entirely unrecognised by Big Government.
Failure is success.
Black is white.
Severe shortage of Public Sector Bosses
Yesterday's Sunday Times jobs section (Appointments) was a classic. Of the 14 top flight jobs advertised on pages 1 and 2, no fewer than ten were for tax-funded operations (and two of the others are virtually tax-funded). They included:
- Chair of the East of England Regional Development Agency - yes one of those entirely useless RDAs that are high on George's Cuts List - £82 grand for a three day week
- Director of Communications for Imperial NHS Trust - they've obviously got more than enough doctors and nurses, so they're using up their surplus cash on a "competitive package" for a Propaganda chief who will "deliver a cohesive communications strategy across a multi-stakeholder community"
- Director of Marketing at Buying Solutions - a "six figure package plus benefits" for someone to market the services of the tax-funded Office for Government Commerce to the rest of the tax-funded public sector; Buying Solutions is of course a key player in the £175bn pa Simple Shopping government procurement shambles we've blogged so often.
No, I can't go on But at these times of high economic uncertainty in the real world, it's good to see such a a staggering array of well-paid cushty jobs still available in the public sector.
(HTP Mr V Angry)
£50m for translations nobody reads
We've met this translation moneypit before, and the government had promised to get a grip on it. Who would have guessed they'd fail.
"Town halls and Whitehall spend £50 million a year on translation and interpretation for the benefit of people who cannot speak English. Yet now an investigation has found that many of the expensively-produced foreign-language leaflets have never been read.
Documents which have failed to attract a single reader include a pamphlet for gipsies translated into Polish, and a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender directory translated into French. No-one read the Haringey Women's Directory when it was translated into Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish, Somali or Urdu.
The public bodies which spent the most on translations last year were the Metropolitan Police (£10.6 million), the Department for Work and Pensions (£4 million), West Midlands Police (£2.3 million), the Welsh Assembly (£2 million) and the Crown Prosecution Service (£1.5 million)."
(HTP Steve B)
To which the only response is come the revolution, comrade...
"GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party. They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances, he as a European commissioner and she as a member of the European parliament.
The pair are already drawing payments from three of their taxpayer-funded pensions. Glenys Kinnock, 64, soon to be elevated to the House of Lords alongside her husband, is collecting a teacher’s pension and from next month is entitled to another from Brussels with an estimated annual value of £48,000.
Lord Kinnock, 67, is receiving one pension as a former MP and a second for his service in Brussels, together worth more than £112,000."
(HTP - many BOM correspondents)
In the light of Tyler's brief account of his omnibus excursion to Shepherds Bush last week, the Major draws attention to Rod Liddle's S Times column:
"The overwhelming bulk of violent street crime in London is committed by young black men, and in numerous cases against white people, although one would not impute a racial motive; the statistics suggest that young black male criminals are quite happy to stab or shoot anybody who hoves into view with either a bulging wallet, a mobile phone or an assumed reflection of disrespec’ in their eyes.
Apologies if this offends – but that’s how it is. At most, the African Caribbean population of London is about 12% of the whole. But black males are responsible for nearly 60% of arrests for robbery – and the overwhelming majority of gun crime, most of it black-on-black violence.
We skirt this issue, mostly for decent, if deluding reasons – that a proportion of young black males is more likely to commit violent crime than other sectors of the population. It is a form of racism, though, to assume that the problem is simply a given, and unalterable – but we have been hamstrung in our attempts to deal with it for reasons of political correctness."
The Major doesn't generally approve of lefty Liddle, but reckons he's spot on here.
"So why do we have to tolerate this?" he roars. "Why can't we lock these people up? We could double the number of prison places for £3bn pa, and we could get £1bn of that from canning the useless Probation Service! Or why not make them join the army? Prison or the army - that's your choice son... Sgt Major Hogsflesh would soon sort them out".
(See here for a collection of the Major's bracing views on cost effective criminal justice, along with some facts and figures culled by Tyler).