Monday, December 07, 2009
So after 12 years incinerating mountains of our cash, this high spending low performance "government" wants to tell us it can be more efficient.
To be frank, I can't be bothered to read Brown's speech. In essence he's after the same headlines the Tories got months ago - a crackdown on public sector fatcat pay, cuts in top civil service jobs, and cuts in the use of consultants (yes, all these items were identified long ago by the TPA - which just goes to show what conviction and persistence can achieve).
On top of that, Brown reckons he can make savings from the "smarter use" of IT - even though none of his previous IT projects (like the now scrapped NHS supercomputer) have ever saved money. And finally he wheels out yet more of those preposterous Gershon "efficiency savings" - even though three-quarters of the previous savings were bogus (see previous posts eg here).
Oh yes, to make sure these savings don't result in worse public services, he's going to combine them with yet more citizen guarantees of good service. Job done.
Does he actually believe this garbage? And does he imagine we'll believe it? Not only is he a proven liar, but he is the very man directly responsible for the bloated public sector which now afflicts us. How can he possibly think we'll believe a word he says on efficiency?
Yes, of course, there is huge waste in the public sector: we have spent the last five years blogging that very subject. But there is absolutely no reason to think fresh orders from the top will change anything. The public sector has had 12 years of Labour's Stalinist management methods, and they are utterly discredited.
What we need is fundamental public sector reform. By which we mean what we've always meant - break up the monolith and introduce choice and competition. The money must be put directly into the hands of the customers, and the producers must compete for the customers' biz.
That is the only way we know that will both free frontline professionals to manage their own affairs, and incentivise them to meet customer needs. No amount of citizen guarantees, online league tables, and unringfenced grants comes anywhere close to the simple power of the marketplace.
Sure, Brown will never wrap his socialist head around that.
But there's no excuse for Cam.
Meanwhile, with Rome well and truly in flames, and entirely at your expense, Brown's wife has thrown a Tweet party at No 10:
"Guests at the Downing Tweet Christmas Party were able to tweet about the event from a specially created ‘Tweetzone’ whilst they were entertained by singer Beverley Knight and ate mince pies adorned with the iconic Twitter bird."
Let them eat Twitter mince pies.