What do we want? Quiet, please. When do we want it? Hush..

Idiots.

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Workers are also angry at plans by the city council to close libraries in Thornhill and Millbrook as part of cost-cutting measures.

The walkout is the first of two one-day strikes organised by the union Unison which will continue on Monday.

Who – I mean, WHO – is even going to notice?

AJ

Sympathy for the Devil

The Tellygiraffe seems to have a twisted definition of ‘fun’.

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Jazz workshops? I’d rather stick wasps up my arse.

Stress Angels? Get the fuck away from me.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach? Guantanamo Bay with added pikeys.

This stuff shouldn’t be sneered at.

It should be mandatory for all public sector workers.

AJ

Public sector cuts: A how-to guide.

Playing with the widget in the Financial Times, which invites us to choose where the axe will fall, and reflects the impact that will have.

Here are my choices, unconstrained by ConDem commitments on DFiD and NHS, but with a commitment to faster deficit reduction and abandonment of NI rises. No mention of the option to increase VAT to 20% I note. Anyway, here are my choices, which have yielded a saving of £54.4bn.

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Click image to enlarge

The narrative that this selection generates is one of extensive strikes. Good.

So we provoke the public sector to strike, we sit and wait, watch and laugh, manage just fine without them, and pocket a huge in-year saving from not paying brazier-bound berkinalds. This is an extra saving I don’t think the FT have factored in.

AJ

Transparency: You’re doing it wrong

Your data isn’t safe in the hands of HMRC. Previously, they lost confidential details of 25 million people.

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Around 19,000 individuals were sent other people’s personal information in the post along with their annual award notice.

They each received one page of someone else’s tax credit renewal form which included a variety of different personal details.

These included names, addresses and dates of birth, as well as parts of bank account numbers, salary details and National Insurance numbers.

Another 31,000 people received the correct forms, although they were jumbled up in the mail-out, which started on Saturday.

One woman from Hyde in Greater Manchester said she had received a letter that included her neighbour’s earnings.

Geniuses. They JUST DON’T CARE about the actual and potential damage they do.

AJ

Opt out of the NHS

.. database. I dream of the day we can opt out of the whole disgusting mess, but this is a start. Do it.

For why? Well, see here, here and here. In summary though:

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Non-medical staff? Uh huh.

From the responses received, in certain NHS Trusts access to confidential medical records is provided to hospital porters, IT staff and those working in the finance department.

And if you’re handy with a tinfoil trilby, see here as well.

Opt out here. http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/systemsandservices/scr/documents/optout.pdf

Now.

AJ

Another stroke of the pen, another gross violation of privacy.

There’s been a fair amount of shit emerging from this ‘nothing budget’.

This stinks the most of all:

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Officers will be allowed to intercept any suspicious mail anywhere in the country and open it before it is delivered, under plans being drawn up by the Government to amend the Postal Services Act.

The measure is billed as a bid to crack down on tobacco smuggling. However, a HM Revenue and Customs spokesman said the powers could be applied much more widely.

Gee, ya think?

Civil liberties campaigners were appalled about the increased powers. Alex Deane, a spokesman for Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a dreadful development. The post has always been regarded as near-sacrosanct in law.

“The last time our mail was opened by the authorities without notice, our country was fighting a World War. I hardly think that the situation produced by the government’s tobacco tax compares.

“Once the principle of opening our mail has been accepted, what else will the Government use as an excuse to pry into our post?”

You just know it’ll happen.

AJ

UPDATE: More from the Liberty Central blog here.

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And people wonder why I fucking swear?

UPDATE 2: I commend bloggist Tom Paine’s fine work here.

Good points, fanciful conclusion

Constantly Furious covers the rather irritating matter of our medical records being uploaded into the NHS super-dataloss, without our consent, and in an apparent effort to get it all done before the election*.

Big Brother goes to the Doctors

The Big Brother state marches on, growing in power. Soon every detail of our lives, habits and health will be known to the Government and stored on enormous databasess, accessible by tens of thousands of government-approved agents of the State.

The latest step toward this Authoritarian’s wet dream is the placing of all our of health care records into an enormous central database, accessible by NHS staff up and down the land. Why? Fuck knows.

He goes on to throw an interesting bit of information into the mix.

Still, there’s a small light at the end of the tunnel.

As of April this year, the Data Protection Act grows much sharper teeth. The fines for losing or misusing data about real people will be dramatically increased. Up to half a million quid per transgression. Tee hee.

Tee hee? I sense schemery.

So, when a junior civil servant inevitably leaves a laptop (the one we bought for him) on the 5:15 train home, with all of our medical records unencrypted on it, imagine the fucking size of the class action we can bring against the NHS and against the Government.

We’ll be rich!

LOL… it’s a plan Rodders.

AJ

* I’m not sure there’s any rush to get it done before the election – it’ll be business as usual under Blue Labour.

Enough is enough. I am forming a think tank.

How hard can it be? Now just need to think of a name.

Sherlock? Nah – been done. Ishityounot? Nah – sounds like a Micronesian beach hut.  I have it – ‘The Wellduh! Foundation’.

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Oh, I think I need to sit down. You mean… the public sector is a hive of cosseted fuckwits, leeches and educationally sub-normal wasters?

This is all too much to take in.

Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain. But there is one place where nothing much changed after May 1979; a lost world where strikes are commonplace and powerful trade unions still rule the roost. It’s a slice of 1970s Britain preserved in aspic, where productivity falls, pay surges and nobody gets the sack. All that’s missing are the Austin Allegros and Donny Osmond.

That place is the public sector. Review the facts: public sector productivity fell almost 4% in the 10 years after 1997, whereas private sector productivity grew 28%. Public sector pay has grown by 15% more than private sector pay. But despite that, people in the public sector aren’t happy: in fact, compared with the private sector, twice as many managers say morale is low in their workplace. Sickness rates are 50% higher and the number of days lost to strikes is 15 times higher.

Strikes? Right – down in the unions like a ton of bricks for a start. And perhaps we should redeploy those 10,000 Tasers Jacqui Bigtits ordered for plod.

There are many reasons why the public sector is underperforming. Four-fifths of public sector workers have their pay set not on the basis of individual performance but by national pay bargaining agreements.

Quite – no incentive to perform better as an induhvidual.

In much of the public sector, promotion is automatic each year and doesn’t reflect effort or ability.

Errr. What? The? Fuck?

Public sector organisations are saddled with top-heavy management and expensive pension schemes.

Yes – a cull is indeed necessary and those pension schemes need to be chucked over the side of a transpacific freight liner, in a sack full of rocks.

Perhaps the most important reason is that it is very difficult to hire or fire anyone. Almost no one is ever sacked for underperforming in the civil service. And whole teams of people who are no longer really needed remain because it is difficult to make people redundant. According to the Cabinet Office: “There were fewer than 100 compulsory redundancies between 2005 and 2008.” That means just 25 people each year out of 525,000 civil servants.

There are 6,000 in my company in the UK and I know 25 personally who were made redundant last year. Boo hoo. So how come?

In 2008 the government and the trade unions agreed a “protocol for handling surplus staff situations” under which the government will almost never force through compulsory redundancies. So people have to be bribed to leave with generous pay-offs. For example, in 2005-8 almost 300 people agreed to take early retirement from the Foreign Office with an average payout of £162,000 — on top of their generous pensions.

Do read on, though it doesn’t get any better.

AJ

Hello John, got a new brazier?

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I have a question.

Last year, epically self-assured and bombastic libertarian blogger John Demetriou stated quite plainly that he is a member of the PCS union and works in the public sector. Indeed, I lightly took him to task in the comments at the time.

Last week, we discovered that:

Up to 270,000 civil servants [PCS members] are to stage a 48-hour strike on 8 and 9 March in a dispute over cuts to public sector redundancy terms.

So, my question is, as you might expect, is John Demetriou coming out on strike?

I asked him in comments on his blog the other day, but he ducked the question.

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I won’t be so bold as to say ‘I think we should be told’, but I’d very much like to know.

AJ

Bonfire of the insanities

Rubs hands together with glee.

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Predictably, they are looking at libraries, nurseries, arts and leisure services, as well as roads, refuse collection and everything else. The question I await the answer to is who is less important than a 5-a-day coordinator or a lesbian albino budgerigar outreach worker?

AJ

Local Government: Pension providers with a sideline in public services

Watching the Daily Politics wallahs talking about the BBC report suggesting forthcoming council cuts.

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In essence, pretty much everything will be cut – jobs, services, roads & other infrastructure. And they can keep cutting everything, except one thing: Pensions obligations.

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The end game for this Reductio ad Coffin Dodgem will be county & local councils levying council tax at current levels, but providing no services whatsoever except paying pensions of retired public sector clungemonkeys.

Have they been buying management consultancy from General Motors?

AJ

And so the bleating begins

I’ve already said my piece about these trivial and distracting cuts the BBC is to make. (The Times leader also has it nailed).

The riders of the gravy-train are non-plussed.

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The BBC’s plans to shut two radio stations and close half its website were in chaos yesterday as musicians vowed to stop the closure of 6 Music and unions threatened to strike over job cuts.

I can sense the righteous likes of Radioshed and Blurb all over this shit.

Appropriately enough, this story is in the Entertainment section of the Times website. LOL.

Broadcasting unions leaked the contents of meetings with senior BBC staff yesterday that confirmed the Times report. They have threatened industrial action over 600 potential job losses.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for 6Music listeners, though, and a valuable indicator of BBC bloat:

There was interest, however, from the BBC’s commercial rivals. Clive Dickens, the head of Absolute Radio, said that the station would bid to buy 6 Music from the BBC. Absolute has double the listeners of 6 Music, but less than half the budget. *

Quite.

Mr Dickens said: “We would buy 6 Music from the BBC, both the brand and the network, and we’d run it more efficiently than they’ve been doing.”

Can you imagine the cosseted BBC numpties’ panic at the idea of having to worry about stuff like budgets, sponsors, competition etc? One can but smirk.

We need to accept that this is precisely what should happen to the entire BBC.

Sadly, though, not all in the future garden is rosy. I’ve listened to Absolute. The sheer volume of government information adverts on there makes it even more of a Labour mouthpiece than even the fucking BBC. And don’t think the Tories wouldn’t use the same methods to ‘nudge’ their target demographics.

The BBC will admit that the average age of its listeners, 35, is valuable to advertisers on commercial stations.

Yeah – 6Music listeners – that’s 700,000 savvy, middle-class pissheads, smokers, drivers of big cars. How could they resist?

AJ

UPDATE:

* I suppose it’s worth making the distinction that 6Music is a digital only station (DAB, Interweb, cable & satellite) whereas you can actually listen to Absolute on, you know, a radio. I reckon if 6 Music got an FM broadcast, the listenership would double or treble, just on in-car listeners.

This is indicative of the total fucking shambles that is DAB radio in the UK, in which the dead hand of the BBC is central. And there are already noises about supplementing (and probably replacing) DAB with DRM. So that’s four DAB equipped devices I have that’ll become deprecated or completely useless soon after 2012. Nice work, fuckers.

UPDATE 2: JuliaM displays her usual aplomb in slicing up the special pleadings for BBC Asian Network that are emerging.

Can Rawnsley’s book possibly damage Brown any more?

Note – I started this post at around 3pm on Sunday, before any of the latest ‘revelations’ became known. I shall update accordingly.

The press today are awash with two British politics stories.

The first is that the Tory lead is down to 6%, which is in part attributed, by the Times at least, to Brown’s truly awful TV appearance last weekend with Piers Morgan. If you haven’t seen it, you cannot possibly know how eat-your-own-face horrifying and cynical it was. As someone tweeted at the time, “Interview conducted by Lord Morgan designate”.

The second is the story of the ‘revelations’ in Andrew Rawnsley’s new book, The End of the Party. Specifically:

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If you’ve read any accounts of Brown, be they by Tom Bower, Rawnsley or Alastair Campbell, nothing in the article is a revelation at all – it’s precisely what we’d expect from Brown. Indeed, much of the account is pretty much standard fare to corporate life.  Indeed, some on Twitter pointed out that this management style seems to work perfectly well for the comically deified Steve Jobs of Apple. It’s not made Alan Sugar poor either. For example:

In 2007, after Mr Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference, it was reported that large sections of the speech had been copied from speeches given by US politicians.

Mr Brown is reported to have blamed Bob Shrum, his US consultant and speech writer, over the report.

He is quoted as screaming at the American: “How could you do this to me, Bob? How could you —-ing do this to me?"

In the circumstances it seems like a perfectly proper question. Or this:

In another incident, Mr Brown is said to have angrily rounded on Stewart Wood, an Oxford don and political adviser, moments before a meeting with European ambassadors in Downing Street.

“Why have I got to meet these —-ing people?" he is said to have yelled at Mr Wood, shoving him in the arm. “Why are you making me meet these —ing people?”

Again, in the position of prime minister I’d ask exactly the same question.

Of course there are the traditional hints at paranoia:

In the autumn of 2007, Gavin Kelly, the deputy chief of staff at No 10, told Mr Brown that HM Revenue and Customs had lost computer discs holding the personal data of more than 20 million people.

The scandal was a major embarrassment to the Government, and the book records that Mr Brown responded by grabbing Mr Kelly by the lapels and shouting: “They’re out to get me!”

Errr okay. My point though is that none of this is new stuff.

UPDATE1: The head of an anti-bullying charity confirms claims that several calls were made to her charity’s helpline by Brown’s staff. As pointed out by Old Holborn:

PREVENTING and tackling bullying remains a priority for this government. We have committed around £3.7 million this year to anti-bullying programmes.- Gordon Brown 13th December 2009. Source

LOL then.. but it always made me laugh to hear Eddie Balls rattling on about the evils of bullying, too.

Meanwhile The Telegraph gives us a timeline so far, and Jonathan Freedland in the Graun concurs with my assessment:

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As the markets would put it, Brown’s ­temperament is already "in the price", and can therefore be discounted.

All in all, Brown may be an ogre, but, for fucks sake, grown adults working at the centre of government calling an anti-bullying helpline? Get a spine or fuck off.

I suppose that’s Labour’s fault for their ambitious and uniquely successful programme of the pussification of the British public.

Expect to see stories coming out of the woodwork senior Tories (possibly including Thatch & Tebbit) ‘bullying’ staff. I’m willing to bet the Labour attack monkeys are looking for just that ammunition right now.

AJ

UPDATE2: Ben Goldacre ‘cries massive bullshit’ on the ‘National Bullying Helpline’.

UPDATE3: A (presumably old guard) Tory MP agrees with me.

Whingeing “bullied” staff should shut up and put up, says Tory

Just ran into a Tory MP who believes that bullying prime ministers aren’t such a big deal.

“Eden was a terrible bully, I’m sure that Churchill was as well…and as for Gladstone, well, he had furious rages,” he ponders. “If you want to work in 10 Downing Street you should be able to withstand a bit of tough treatment now and again.”

Not sure this attitude is shared by CCHQ of course. And no, I won’t name the MP.

UPDATE4: From Paul Waugh

It’s not quite Piers/Gordon, but in some way’s tonight’s SkyNews Jeff Randall interview with David Cameron is more surprising

Randall, one of the most respected biz journos* around, famously disliked a young D Cameron when he was at Carlton TV back in the 1990s.

Here’s just a wee recap of Randall’s assessment back in 2005:

"I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter’s pocket money.

"In my experience, he never gave a straight answer when dissemblance was a plausible alternative.

"Whether he flat-out lied I won’t say, but he went a long way to leave me with the impression that the story was wrong. He put up so much verbal tracker you started to lose your own guidance system."

Since then, Cameron has dumped Labour’s spending pledges and Jeff has been sufficiently impressed to give his backing. It’s a good job he switched tack before tonight….

*FOOTNOTE: Randall’s withering assessment was apparently backed up by City journalist Ian King, who called him "a poisonous, slippery individual".

"He was a smarmy bully who regularly threatened journalists. He loved humiliating people, including a colleague at ITV he would abuse publicly as ‘Bunter’, just because the poor bloke was a few pounds overweight.

"He was a mouthpiece for that company’s charmless chairman, Michael Green, who operated him the way Keith Harris works Orville."

Then again, even some of the Tory leader’s friends now concede that he is a changed man since his days at Carlton. Family life smoothed out his rougher edges, they say. The recession, by contrast, seems to have hardened up his line on the economy…

Bad news buried under Blair’s bollocks

Via ConHome.

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Iain Dale has spotted an attempt to bury bad news on the day that the media is focusing on Tony Blair’s evidence session at the Chilcot Inquiry.

The Government has this morning quietly released the latest NHS waiting time statistics for England which read as follows:

The number of inpatients, for whom English commissioners are responsible, waiting over 13 weeks at the end of December 2009 was 57,600, an increase of 12,300 (27.3%) from November 2009, and a rise of 18,000 (45.3%) from December 2008.
The number of outpatients, for whom English commissioners are responsible, waiting over 8 weeks at the end of December 2009 was 74,100, an increase of 11,700 (18.8%) from November 2009, but a rise of 26,900 (57.0%) from December 2008.

The wheels continue to fall off the Labour wagon…

And jolly amusing that is too – except for the fact our country’s fate is bound to the fuckers.

AJ

I LOLLed

Well, what else is there to do?

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Magistrates have been left ‘terrified’ after their personal details were accidentally sent to a prison workshop.

Her Majesty’s Courts Service revealed today the year book, featuring names and phone numbers, was delivered by mistake to a print workshop at HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

It contained details of members across Norfolk – but not their addresses.

The area director has written to all the magistrates apologising for the error.

One Norfolk magistrate said: ‘It doesn’t particularly concern me as anyone can look in the phone book and find my name, but some magistrates could be really worried.

‘There will be those who will be terrified.’

Well well…. bitten by the hand that feeds, eh?

Shame.

THE STATE CAN’T PROTECT YOUR DATA – DON’T GIVE IT TO THEM

AJ

H/T Ambush Predator

Motherfucker

A commenter on my previous post about the Meth Orifice pointed me towards this cuntitude:

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According to a copy of the organisation’s latest annual report and accounts, John Hirst, the organisation’s chief executive, received between £195,000 and £200,000 in pay and bonuses in 2008/9.

The figure is a 25 per cent increase on the £155,000 to £160,000 "pay equivalent" for Mr Hirst in 2007/8. Mr Hirst had joined midway through the previous financial year in September 2007.

This guy. He’s the one I wanna beat with a scissor jack. And as we have never tired of pointing out:

This followed its much lambasted forecast of a “barbecue summer” last year which drew strong criticism after heavy rainfall saw the wettest July for almost 100 years.

The organisation’s prediction of a mild winter in 2008-09 was also criticised after heavy snow fell last February and parts of southern England had their coldest night for 20 years in January.

You greedy troughing cunt.

We can’t even vote this motherfucker out.

AJ

40cm of snow forecast by Met Office – but not until 10cm of it has already fucking fallen

It’s not going to be long before I punch some cunt from the met office right in the chops.

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orly? perhaps if your predictions were a little more reliable (not to fucking say timely), people would have an opportunity to make plans and preparations, instead of having to wait for it to snow, then dash to the shop and buy fucking everything.

Useless public sector global-warming-dick-sucking fuck monkeys. Die.

AJ