Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Public Services”

Laboured Opposition or Absent Opposition?

I find the Labour Party’s current stance on what is happening to the country confusing to say the least. They are meant to be holding the government to account but seem too paralysed by fear of UKIP to offer anything except abject abdication. “We will not obstruct the invoking of Article 50”!

They are of course reaping what they have sown. During the Miliband years (remember them?), they failed to tackle Cameron and Osborne as that dreadful duo laid the ground work for the right-wing coup* that is currently happening. The Language Battle was lost. Read more…

Who is Kidding who?

The BBC reports today that Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today (six months on) criticised the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

But how much is the actual business model – of using charities to deliver what would otherwise be government services – examined and criticised? Read more…

Privatising Welfare

Part of the present Government’s philosophy is that Government should be small. If something does not need to be done; it should not be done. If it does need to be done; it does not necessarily need to be done by the Government.

Hence “Big Society” – the idea that volunteers or the voluntary sector can take over from government – particularly in the areas of health care, social care and education.

The problem is – what happens if a voluntary provider of these services fails? Read more…

Conservatives: Strike 1

Newly appointed business secretary Sajid Javid has said there will be “significant changes” to strike laws under the new Conservative government.

A strike affecting essential public services will need the backing of 40% of eligible union members under government plans, he said.
BBC News Website 12 May 2015 : Sajid Javid: Significant changes to strike law

Not unexpected but Read more…

End of Term Report: Conservatives

The Conservatives did not win a majority at the last election. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics.

Read more…

Union Barons and Government by Consent

I have mixed feelings about our “Union Barons”:

The head of the Unite union has said he will not “respect” any law passed by a future Conservative government tightening the rules on strike ballots.
BBC News Website 20 March 2015 : Unite boss McCluskey warns over strike ballot changes

But then I have less mixed feelings about our Prime Minister’s more blatant agenda:

David Cameron has said strikes should not be lawful unless a minimum number of union members vote in a ballot.

Plans for a “turnout threshold” will be in the party’s election manifesto.

But Unite boss Len McCluskey said this would “oppress the people and remove their freedoms”. He added: “Can we respect it? It ain’t going to happen.”
ibid

There is a problem, but I do not agree with the Prime Minister’s prescription. I don’t like McCluskey’s response – but I can’t see an alternative. Read more…

Undercover Boss

Channel 4 has just finished a re-run of the American version of Undercover Boss, the TV programme based on a senior executive donning a disguise and going to work on some pretext in his (or her) own company and getting new insights into the organisation.

The format is a touch artificial but the contrast between the UK version and the American version is worrying. Read more…

Migration and the Greater South East

An infographic about migration into the Greater South East republished on Julian’s Musings Blog claims:

Polls show that on average people think there are far more immigrants than there really are. – 31%

Meaning?
– 31% of people polled thought there were far more immigrants, or
– on average people thought there were 31% more immigrants than there really were?
Presumably the latter, but that probably says something about people’s willingness to assume that someone who speaks with a foreign accent or who is not white is an immigrant.

These sort of facts provoke so many other questions. Read more…

Anachronisms – windmills for political bigots

something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time
Dictionary.com : Anachronism

If you hear a politician saying “it’s anachronism – it should be abolished”, beware the political zealot. Read more…

Royal Mail – death spiral for letters

So we learn that the “Royal” Mail is wanting to bring forward the “last posting time” to early afternoon or even sometime in the morning.

Collection times at almost half the Royal Mail’s collection boxes will be brought forward to between 9am and 3pm.

Between 45,000 and 50,000 of the company’s post boxes will move to the earlier collections.

Royal Mail says there will still be a late posting box within half a mile of areas affected and will add 2,000 post boxes to its 115,000 network.

The earlier collections will be picked up by delivery staff as part of their existing rounds.
BBC News website 8 August 2014 : Royal Mail cuts half its later collection times

Surely they realise that they are sending their letters business into a death spiral?

  • It is ludicrously expensive to send a piece of paper through the mail, so
  • More of us use email, so
  • The postboxes have less mail in them, so
  • The “Royal” Mail argue that it is not worth sending a van round to collect the mail, so
  • We have to go further to post a letter, so …

Read more…

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