Monday, 5 December 2011

The End Of Government As We Know It

Well, I told you so. Today a brief item slipped into the news mentioned that there is to be a hurried recruitment of 24,000 people to beef up security for the Olympics. Quite who they will be is not clear but added costs of £271 million are flagged.

Also, not clear is how they are to be organised, trained and deployed. This is not looking good. The costs admitted are probably only the calculation of what will be paid out. What will not be admitted is all the other hidden costs. Think half a billion or so and you may get close.

Was it on Tuesday 12 May 2009 when I posted a longish think piece on Olympics Security, never mind other later items referring to this? How come the vast number of civil servants, consultants and those in all the agencies and organisations who were charged with running the show did not realise what would be needed?

It is just another gross example of the gathering collapse of government and administration in the UK. “The Mail” today had an item in its money section that has been picked up on the web. Within the HMRC tax authority there is now a group of whistle blowers called “Dissent” campaigning against what they call the endemic corruption, ineptitude and mismanagement in that department.

So we have a financial crisis in which fiscal policy is a critical area and where the government needs to raise its revenue effectively and fairly. Yet the HMRC staff is up in arms against the failures of their bosses to run the revenue collection either fairly or properly.

Add to this some of the other blunders and barmier passages of events in the last few months, there is a long list of them and it raises the question of can this lot do anything right or trusted with any of our money?

Last night, Robert Peston in the first part of a two part series “The Party’s Over, How The West Went Bust” attempted an explanation of the present troubles. At least he was not being optimistic. One striking aspect of this was when he was talking to people in China about their urge to save.

The message was simply that they needed to have money in hand in the event of illness, to pay their way without credits and for their old age. China may be communist but there is a singular lack of social security or cheap health facilities.

The inference, which was not picked up, was that we can no longer continue to have open access and provision on demand for either social security, pensions or health. In short the implication is that we cannot afford to have a National Health Service of the kind we have had in the past.

So what kind of mess will our government make of the transition from a society which has come to expect so much to one that is going to get so little?

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