Friday, 24 September 2010

It's not all bad, it's not all good.

So, the Telegraph has managed to get hold of a leaked document showing how the government intends to lay waste to the quangocracy. Perhaps I'm a little cynical, but I'm guessing this has been leaked with the full knowledge of the top table. It will, I suspect, be welcome news to most people, but still nobody is going to want to be seen to be the person wielding the knife, this is a handy tool to avoid that.

If you look at the list of those who seem to have their fate sealed there's a number of institutions that almost beggar belief:

Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances 

Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection
Eh? It is a government, not an art gallery.

Capacity Builders
Lord alone knows what they do.

Commissioner for the Compact
The Commissioner for what? Is this a board for dwarves, like Pratchett's Campaign for Equal Heights? Or is it to do with Government make-up policy?

Committee on the Safety of Devices
What sort of devices? Electrical? Mechanical? Dramatic?

Government Hospitality Advisory Committee on the Purchase of Wines
Now you're taking the piss.

If you look down the list, you realise just how much stuff is being done in our name which means nothing, accomplishes nothing or deals in the irrelevant.

All of this is being done with your money, whether you want it done or not. All of these bodies will have the staff which carry out the duties of the quango, the staff who make sure all the paper is ordered and put in the printers, the staff who train those staff, the staff who manage those trainers, the staff who make the policy for those managers, the staff who support those policy makers, the list goes on and on and on, in 177+ bodies which are completely unaccountable.

And there's the rub, it isn't the fact that this stuff is being done when it isn't needed, and at great cost, it is the fact that we have virtually no right to know what these quango's are doing, why they are doing it and how they are doing it. Bugger the money, this is no way for public servants to act in what is supposed to be an open democracy.

Ian Parker Joseph is concerned that the work will be done, or is already being done by departments in the machinery of the EU. My feelings about the EU are well documented here, but at least this means we won't be paying for it twice.

It's not all good news though, and there is an aspect which saddens me. I understand what the employees of these quango's must be feeling this morning. Hard as it may be to believe, there will be a good number of people who are about to lose their jobs who do care about the standard of their work, who do care about whichever aspect of life their particular quango oversees, who are effective at their jobs and who do appreciate that every single penny of public money which passes through their department is very precious.

I can do nothing but wish them well, and that their record and attitude means they will be able to find a job with the minimum possible delay. It is a path I may be walking shortly.

Whilst I feel for those people, there are organisations on that list which may as well be called the Dragon and Unicorn Preservation Trust, The Lunar Waterways Board or the Atlantis Redevelopment Council. I will mourn the losses of jobs for those who were worth those jobs, but I will not mourn the loss of the quangos.


Anonymous said...

"I can do nothing but wish them well"

Well... nothing apart from posting a rant about how crap they are without even bothering to google their functions.

Anonymous said...

what a complete load of nonsense.. the blog, not the quangos. At least understand what each organisation does before ridiculing their fate.

Snowolf said...

But that's just the point, isn't it anonymong?

The fact that no-one has an idea about what these bodies do suggests that their purpose is by the by, if people don't know what they do, they won't be missed. If people don't miss them, what were they for in the first place?

We've seen an explosion of shady, unaccountable little departments pissing billions up the wall every year. (Conservative home has a list of the costings. We've survived for thousands of years without a body to advise the government on its art collection, are you really suggesting that this is vital?

Perhaps it hasn't been made clear to you, the State is broke. There is no more money. I really don't know how to put it more simply than that. There is not a pot to piss in.

Perhaps if you'd bothered to read what I've written, both today and in the past, you'll see how much sympathy I have with those who will lose their jobs, I may well join their ranks soon. But that doesn't mean I can justify billions being taken and wasted on organisations which no-one knows about, who have no clear purpose and no clear result. The organisations may not be worth much, but a decent proportion of those who work there are.

It is a tragedy that they will lose their jobs, but that, without wanting to sound glib, is the situation. We cannot continue to spend money like we have, we don't have the money to continue spending like we have. It is not possible.

The Labour government has spent and spent and spent and has passed the country the bill.

What is the PCS line? 'Not a penny cut, not a job cut'? There is simply no alternative, there is no magic money tree. The public teat has run dry.

No doubt there'll be those who advocate the continued level of spending and an increase in taxes taken from a population which is already one of the most taxed populations in the world. Then what? As spending increases as mission creep sets in, then what? Increase taxes again? How long until everyone is taxed 100%? What happens when the bill continues to go up?

If there is a viable, realistic alternative, I'd love to hear it, but I don't see one.

Mike Cunningham said...

I have posted on these abortions before, but have also posted very recently on the sheer lunacies written and published by the clowns who have sucked so long at the public teat that they have forgotten who pays the bloody bill!