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The Peter Principle, or: c’mon lads, the game’s up

This blog has been a longtime critic of the government, mainly because they don’t seem to have a clue what they are doing. And when they do have a reasonable idea, they put in ridiculously short time limits to see results, so that they can claim the credit in time for the next election (I am thinking of the Work Programme and the pilot programmes for reducing re-offending here, where funding is dependent on outcomes, but also set within unrealistic time frames, equivalent to the lifespan of a flea).

Their one idea for the economy, the notorious Plan A, is dead in the water. It’s greatest proponent George Osborne is on the missing list, and he seems to have taken even deeper cover since the IMF wagged their finger at him yesterday. On all previous known form, he’ll take about five days to think about what he’s going to say next and since he’s not due an annual Mansion House speech for another year, it might be even longer. Then there’s Michael Gove’s new phonics based ‘reading’ test (actually an exercise in decoding sounds) which is failing competent children who read for understanding and meaning. Incidentally, Mr Gove, trying to teach the latter to adults is a tough gig, whereas the sounds – well those are child’s play… As for Theresa and Jeremy and Dave et al – well would you? Knowing what you know now? Dave’s autumn cabinet reshuffle is going to have to introduce Willy Wonka himself to to turn this thing around.

I suppose they were banking on the Jubilee and the Olympic summer saving their collective bacon and bringing back the feelgood factor to the populace (also on the missing list, probably in George Osborne’s back pocket), but the Gulf jetstream, the bus drivers, train drivers and Border Agency staff, not forgetting G4S, had their own ideas about that. Don’t get me wrong, I hope the Olympics goes off well, for the sake of the athletes and for the rest of us that have had to pay for the effing thing (just don’t think about Greece ok?). On the other hand, I can’t help but have a few reservations (still don’t think about Greece). Arguing about surface to air missiles on the roof, when god knows how many G4S uniforms have gone AWOL? It’s really not cool. I have a fantastic colleague at work, she’s from Hull and she’s a no-nonsense Northern lass who produces spot-on stuff, including colour-coded spreadsheets for everything. She’d have organised the Olympics, on budget, on time, with security, no problem. I think if she’d been in charge you might have even been able to get in wearing a Pepsi t-shirt…

And that’s my problem with the government, right there, in a nutshell. My colleague is operating well within her comfort zone, she has a lot more to offer, in fact. The government are collectively suffering from the Peter Principle – where employees rise to their level of incompetence. And the problem for us is that it’s not just one of them, it’s bloody well all of them. They are too young, too arrogant, insufficiently wise and lacking in substance to do the job properly. The facts are that they can barely run this country. Sadly, the default setting of desperate clinging on to power will probably see the coalition stagger on to the next election; the Lib Dems will be finished after that and the Tories will hopefully be chased back into their historical blue lands. I for one, cannot wait. And I’m hoping that Miliband et al have the sense to learn from the mistakes of others before they inevitably start making their own, as we all do.

In the meantime, whilst we suffer the horrors of the British summer, the mish mash of the coalition’s blue and yellow colour combo and also those pretty disgusting Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville , I would really like to have Spitting Image back on Sunday night.
That would really cheer me up.

Gideon Oddball’s Fudget (a.k.a. George Osborne’s Budget)

I would analyse yesterday’s rubbish spewing from the Chancellor’s maw (first name Gideon until he changed it), but you know what? I can’t be bothered. I’m too tired. And be warned people, that is how they will keep getting away with it. It will be because people like you and me, with no money, who work but can barely make ends meet, will not have the energy to keep opposing the coalition government policies.

We won’t have to time to protest, and if by chance we do, we won’t be able to afford the petrol or the train ticket to get there. We will be In Our Place and we will be silenced and those cock-eyed, ignorant pillocks on the government Front Bench will keep feathering their nests and those of their mates. Apparently, the money a millionaire will save in tax, thanks to yesterday’s budget, will keep them in a new Porsche EVERY YEAR. Meanwhile the pensioners’ ever-diminishing pots will continue to be raided. Under a stimulus package for growth, things are starting to pick up in the States. Over here the austerity cuts have had had a negligible effect on the deficit and many of those of us on modest incomes aren’t spending because we are tired and miserable and fed-up. I can’t speak for people on benefits, but my professional experience shows me that to be a benefit claimant under the coalition is little different from being a fox hunted by a pack of hounds. The current benefit regime is putting people constantly under pressure to find jobs that either don’t exist, or that they are wildly unsuited for.

Gideon Oddball and his loathsome spamhead mates are nothing more than throwbacks to the Victorian landed gentry. I wish someone would kick them out and find them a more natural home where we can pay through the nose, only if we want to see them.

*and breathe*

Why Cameron is wrong

  • Because his ideology is getting in the way of rational thinking and action contingent on circumstances.
  • Because he refuses to admit that without a real strategy for growth, there will be no growth.
  • Because he insists the world economy is in trouble which is simply not true (last time I looked Asia and the Far East were doing fine).
  • Because he suspects he might be wrong, but he doesn’t know what to do about it; he has painted himself into a corner and he can’t find a way out without leaving telltale footprints.
  • Because even if he is right, he has a way of making it feel wrong.

The whole coalition government shebang seems to be predicated on one enormous gamble: cut fast and hard, shrink the state to fit the Tory persuasion and cross your fingers hoping that, in the full term before the next election, unemployment falls and business flourishes to fill the gap. 
It’s a hopelessly optimistic strategy given the fundamental trouble with the European and US economies, the increase in inflation partly as a direct result of the one tax hits all increase in VAT, and the fact that the pound in your pocket is now worth about 80p (pay freezes, inflation again, cost of fuel and knock on costs).

Cameron cut out the bit referring to personal households reducing their own debts in his conference speech the other week, but the fact that he had it in there at all betrays his deep lack of understanding of the hole capitalism has put us all in: people, business and nations.  The whole damn shooting match runs on debt you prat.  Shuffling notional money around so someone, somewhere can cream off the full fat. 

I heard it put very well on the radio a while ago in relation to the Chinese economy, which is doing ok.  The commentator remarked that they had played the capitalist West at its own game, and beat it hands down: by making tat cheaper than we could make our own tat and selling it to us by lending us money we don’t have.

The system is creaking like rackety ship and what we need is some proper intellectual rigour brought to bear on the economy; not half-baked schemes, total inflexibility and antiquated economic policy. I wonder if Ed Miliband can get that creative. On all evidence so far we can be sure Osborne and Cameron cannot.

The culture of capitalism must keep individuals sufficiently dissatisfied that they continue to seek satisfaction from it, but not so dissatisfied that they reject or resist it outright

Dr William Davies

Resist, reject, recycle. Make-do, muddle, mend, & don’t buy crap you don’t need.

A quick salvo

It’s perfectly apparent now that the coalition have no idea whatsoever about anything very much at all.

I managed to keep schtum last week when silly old bear Nick Clegg said just because the government did not publish a plan for growth did not mean they did not have a plan for same. Well, it’s becoming evident that, apart from the “long, hard road” of cuts, there’s no map at all. And if there is one then someone is holding it upside down.

If you think I might be being a bit mean, think about this. One of the ‘free’ schools the goverment has approved in Leicester (and that’s a new additional state school run with government money by parents and teachers) is costing £15 million upfront in capital costs. That’s before they’ve even got a kid on the register. In the meantime the schools’ capital budget was slashed. With plans like that who needs to hear any more?

Education, education, education…

My mother, who worked in education for her whole life, always used to say that it was a political football; what I never quite grasped was that education is the first knackered old ball a new government reach for when they want a kickabout.

I spoke to the deputy at the kids’ school the other week. The subject of the new government saw her slump in her chair, her face fell. My words in her mouth are that education in schools is just a merry-go-round and there is little new thinking. Instead a sense of: oh here we go… we’ve all get to get out of the red teacup and into that blue teacup on the roundabout and spin round until we are dizzy and sick.

All the news is about cutting funding to our universities and allowing them to raise their fees. Certainly that’s going to make a lot more families think twice about the cost of a degree. Maybe it will put it out of reach of some them. It is a devastatingly efficacious way for the “progressive” coalition to begin to reverse the effective Labour policy of many more young people getting a university education, thereby restoring the natural, elitist order of things. Keeping the majority of people in their place, whilst ensuring we all know that the poor smelly kids will get extra help from a caring regime.

And that’s a problem isn’t it? It’s patriarchal munificence – like chucking a penny in the beggar’s hat. It might help the odd young person follow their dreams and aspirations, but most of them will be left as they are. The Tories may believe in a meritocracy where the Sir Alan Sugars will rise to the top regardless, able to flourish as individuals in a market economy, but actually aren’t they banking on keeping just enough of the electorate in the style to which they are accustomed and not worrying too much about the rest?

I think the main problem, at the root of many ills, is that education in schools has been designed to meet the needs of the market place. Do we really teach kids what they need to be fully-functioning human beings or are we educating future worker bees, drones if I want to be really negative? So many adults I meet don’t know how to think independently and believe what they read, see or hear whilst absorbing capitalist and government messages by osmosis. If people are not taught as children how to learn and think for themselves, what use is school?

Yet the government are in there like Flint, tinkering around at the edges and cutting budgets, because they know best. Schools are factories, and the product is mainly people who conform without challenging the status quo. How can they not be when they are dealing with the quantity of kids that they do. Of course not all schools are equal, some teachers are gifted and inspire children, but even gifted teachers must surely become bowed under the sheer weight of the unequal task, wrapped as it is in unremitting bureaucracy and in a perjorative political climate.

David Cameron and his crew misunderstand humans because primarily they are marketeers selling a product. Today he is going to tell parents who don’t get on with each other that their children are going to be poor, and probably criminal when they grow up. Don’t worry though, Dave is going to fix your problems with the Family Champion scheme. The help offered is of the Victorian kind, where they keep the power and influence entirely for themselves and the effluent is the oppression of others. Until schools are free to produce adults that know that learning is their lifelong right and that their independent thought is vital to resist the pervasive influence of the market, nothing much will change.

43 students went to hospital yesterday, maybe some of them were what the media will brand troublemakers, but I know in my heart there will be at least one brave and independent thinker amongst them. Hope is not quite dead.

George Loveless, Tolpuddle Martyr

Watch out, watch out – there’s a mugwump about

David Cameron has gone on his hols (the blog wonders if he will be so silly as to be snapped swimming in the crystal sea with his family as was his senior global US partner in the dailies) leaving his Chief Mugwump Nick in charge of the sweet shop.

Cos times is ‘ard guvnor we ain’t got much by way of sweetness in our jars, but I’m ‘oping that Mr Mugwump sees fit as to order an ‘aporth of gobstoppers in time for Knavish Dave’s homecoming.

GPs win the NHS lottery

Under the new government’s crackpot plans GPs tosspots are to be given the money bankers to commission local health services nutters.

I don’t know about you bastards but the thought of my family doctors tossers being asked to join together with other GPs jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none to spend health money on services their patients need losers is highly alarming.

For a start my GP I’ve been holding it in but here it goes WANKER, never listens to a word I say anyway, so how would he know.  Plus another of them never even opens his eyes speccy-four-eyed-git and couldn’t tell a corn from a verruca, or pneumonia from asthma twat.

I just hope your GP dickhead is better than mine.