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After 26 March it's June 30... for some

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Paul Mason | 19:41 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The unions have been struggling for weeks to work out what to do following the demo on 26 March. Today's RCN no-confidence vote is one response. I understand an informal alliance of public sector unions is about to go a step further.

The PCS union has voted to ballot its entire membership for strike action - over what it perceives as attacks on pension provision and departmental cuts. Meanwhile the education unions NUT and ATL are also set to ballot, with the lecturers' union UCU already having a mandate for strike action.

I understand there is informal agreement that the strikes will be called on the same day: 30 June.

Should they achieve a yes vote and a full turn out, this could put up to 750,000 people out on strike on a single day, say union leaders.

Signally not taking part are two key, Labour-affiliated public sector unions: Unison and the GMB, whose leaders believe they cannot deliver strike action until October, if at all.


  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting about Unison. No one ever wants to strike, especially with jobs so vulnerable, but as a Unison member I'd say that the mood in my workplace at the minute is that there'd be strong vote in favour of action, whereas with the last couple of strikes (over pay and pensions) we took action very reluctantly based on a narrow majority of a low turn out. There's an assumption that at least a one day strike will happen sooner rather than later. So very interesting to read that the union take a rather different view.

    There's a lot of sadness but also real anger, not least because we feel the true nature of what's happening is hidden by "encouraged" early retirements (so much for working longer, eh!), recruitment freezes, short-term contracts, month to month contract extensions, new rosters, "encouraged" voluntary reduced hours etc. Few of those things show up in today's unemployment figures but have a real impact on the service we can provide and our ability to do our jobs. There's a lot of discussion of cuts and redundancies but not, it seems, too much detailed examination of how these are actually being achieved.

  • Comment number 2.

    The problem is that often the same people who have been responsible for the way things have been run in the past are now responsible for deciding how spending will be reduced. Surely if they've managed producing inefficiency in the past they're part of the problem, no the solution. Salami slicing is a dreadful way to cut expenditure, but in many cases its all senior managers are capable of; rather than looking at process, how to best deliver results and then at what resources are required to do that. Tinkering round the edges and squeezing what's already there, based on outdated structures dating back decades will not produce an efficient focused public sector.

    However, in many ways the lack of public sector industrial disquiet over the past decade or so could be said to be reflective of too soft an approach from government, seeing the solution to every problem as being regulation and throwing money at the issue; giving the public sector unions everything they could want without having to fight for it (and co-incidentally leaving them nicely placed to channel funds back to the Labour party, a form of indirect taxpayer funding of a political party). Usually if both sides negotiate their position strongly, there's a degree of tension, which raises the question, who has been negotiating strongly on behalf of the taxpayer for the past decade?

    Industrial action seems inevitable, but then returning to reality from the fantasy bubble economics of recent years was always going to be a shock to the system. Its interesting to note that strike ballots still don't require a majority of those eligible to vote for strike action, meaning people who in many ways aren't that concerned get dragged along by the more vocal.

  • Comment number 3.

    Strike !

    It's just like the 1970's isn't it. (although I get the feeling it will turn out more like the 1980's)

    I imagine the employers will wait for the ballot and then apply for injunctions based on irregularities, even if the injunctions are not upheld it will throw a spanner in the works with only some of the unions able to act on the day.

    The employers will claim the action is only partially supported and they will save money by not having to pay some peoples wages for the day.

    A better option would be for the unions to encourage those on flexi-time to build up their hours in the preceding month so that they are forced to take the 30th June off with pay.

    I'm not a big fan of all-out strike action, key selected disruptive actions would be better with the unions encouraging members to contribute 1 hours pay into a hardship fund that will pay the wages of the few who take action on behalf of the others.

    #2 Reaper_of_Souls wrote:

    'Its interesting to note that strike ballots still don't require a majority of those eligible to vote for strike action, meaning people who in many ways aren't that concerned get dragged along by the more vocal.'

    I agree, I also find it interesting that General Elections still don't require a majority of those eligible to vote for idealogical action, meaning people who in many ways aren't that concerned get dragged along by the more vocal.

  • Comment number 4.

    The trouble with Unions like Unison (I am an active member) and NUT et al is that the members are a bit soft in the head. This explains why teachers and other LG workers are put upon and the employers get away with so much. There is not even now the general will for effective strike action. The teachers could disrupt the whole country if they closed schools for a few days and why oh why do they tolerate Ofsted' s Spanish inquisition - no other profession would.

    However there is scope for action short of striking like for example working to rule (H&SaW) not covering absent colleagues, responding to the public with letters not phone calls, using flexitime collectively, refusing to volunteer for managements little obsessions, working strictly to hours (many work much unpaid overtime), only supporting committees during working hours, subsidising key worker strikes like IT, building security. None of this would require a general strike but would create much disruption to public services over a lengthy period of time.

  • Comment number 5.

    The 26th of March showed that there's a lot of people who can be mobilised.

    The next job is to get as many people on strike on the 30th June.

    A general strike is a real possibility now.

  • Comment number 6.

    general strike? Yup...bring it on....the only thing the bosses understand....1926 and all that

  • Comment number 7.

    This is so unfair that unions have been placed in this position.
    The deficit is not theirs; the debt is not theirs.
    These are just hard-working people trying to survive.
    On 30 June, we should all remember who put the economy in this condition - the American, unregulated banking industry with its nefarious and (perhaps) illegal financial instruments that literally took several EU economies to their knees.
    The remedy I honestly believe is
    1. spit retail and investment banks and
    2. apply a financial activities tax to all investment banks. These huge investment banks too big to fail have proven they need to watched, audited, and otherwise tightly controlled.
    The FAT will assist with social programs and reduction of debt.
    Ask The Coalition Government why it is so leery to do what should be done for the sake of the common taxpayer.

  • Comment number 8.

    'The unions have been struggling for weeks to work out what to do'

    Not convinced they have exactly worked it out yet.

    Guessing Jane and Mary will be on the show soon then... as 'angry nurses'?

  • Comment number 9.

    Portugal is going to have one so why can't we?

    I work in the private sector. If I go on strike I just lose my income and the current contract.

    A friend had a bunch of council workers walk into his shop, drunk, yesterday. They, all in their early 50s, had been out celebrating - Principal Officers whatever that is.

    I am told they were openly boasting about their redundancy payments and their pensions being paid up.

    I feel so much better I know that I am paying for it.

    Let's hope they carry on living the lifestyle, and spend their redundancy, before they realise just how dire the job market is out there. Then again, with their pensions paid up, why should they worry about working between now and pension day?

  • Comment number 10.

    Lending to the Greeks just reached 13%. I wonder if the Nationwide will lend me 70 billion at 9%?

    I am not greedy - a 1% mark-up would be enough for me.

  • Comment number 11.


    I sort of sympathise. I am in the public sector (education) and I have seen the worst kind of stupidity-actually blatant corruption-prevail over the years, with transparent cronyism, non-jobbery secondments, consultation fees paid for who knows what, e.g. to the wife of a well placed official, and gross abuse by particular individuals who have grown 'through the system'. I can't even say it has much to do with the managerialism of Nulabour, as exploitation of position and privilege clearly pre-dated that happy event-although it is certainly arguable that it took a lurch for the worse then.

    Over the years it has caused me to seriously re-think my attitude to public service- which had a traditional sense of 'lowish pay but reasonable conditions' and some sense of being engaged with improvement of human experience and human affairs, rather than the inglorious and unscrupulous profit taking and dodgy dealing of the private sector. A naive attitude, no doubt, in our post modern world but that is what I grew up with, and still cleave to, if now somewhat despairingly.

    What we are seeing is more universal than just a division of public and private. All 'activity' is being shrunk, and it might be worth finding common cause rather than sinking into a despairing grump.

    I sense that you may be overstating the joy of the people you describe. My take on the current situation is that the authorities are trying very hard to squeeze people out on the minimum they can get away with. It is actually really quite brutal. This is not to say there are no people who may think they are getting a sweet deal but I doubt if it is the norm. And I am wondering what they will do if they are say 50-ish and face 15 years of inactivity and declining wealth as the 'non-existent' inflation nibbles away unseen and relentlessly at fixed incomes, and skills are eroded by inactivity.

    My feeling is that most people are quite alarmed by the prospects for the future.

  • Comment number 12.

    Max Keiser reportedly to appear on the "10 O'Clock Live" show tonight:

    Could be intriguing. Max is quite a few steps ahead of most people in this country, so we'll see how his message goes down.

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 DeepGreenPuddock

    I sense your despair.
    My perspective is from an SME just about holding its own, but fortunately no unsustainable debt.
    I have followed Martin Wolf in the FT as well as Paul on here.
    The mind boggling global imbalances are still hanging over the West let alone sub-trend growth and the unwinding of government, bank and private indebtedness.
    Sadly this will be a thirty year trans-generational playout that nobody is addressing in a leadership position. Somebody has got to start telling the truth and lead us forward. Look at Lansley, Cameron's trusted lieutenant a "safe" pair of hands, yet like a rabbit in the headlights and we haven't even started cutting yet. This is beyond ideological - to take the tough decisions will require government of the right size (not small, or large but decisive) to crunch through the difficult decisions. The current civil service is not fit for this purpose - borderline war footing is what may be required.
    No accident that resources are the growing bubble.
    If you're young and can, I'd head for Aus.

  • Comment number 14.

    The (decadent) lifestyles of the majority of the developed world is slowing being eroded, as the juggernaught of Capitalism seeks its last desperate attempt to eek out efficiency savings. Not through advancement of resource and energy extraction efficiency (as this is topping out) but by lowering labour overhead costs. As labour overhead cost is directly proportional to living standards (a.k.a. energy & resource consumption to support a consumerist lifestyle), this is the only route for further efficiency gains.

  • Comment number 15.

    The only way to make (produce) more, for less input is to reign in unnecessary (i.e. unproductive) overhead cost; translation excessive Western consumption patterns.

    In a world of constrained resources this is the only rational and "economic" solution.

    Globalisation is delivering on factor price equalisation, just bringing our standards down to those of the developing world.

    A privileged (and shrewd) few understand this, and so are using this to construct their financial lifeboats. Their logic being that the more of us that sink, the better their chances of staying afloat are.

  • Comment number 16.

    #11 @deepgreenpuddock

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    I was talking, only yesterday, with a senior public sector person who had been made redundant before Christmas.

    Her role was one of a 'motivator' who would go into other public sector bodies and give motivational talks on, from what I could make out, how to be motivated in the work-place. I could not help but think of the David Brent motivational episode from 'The Office'.

    This lady was very senior, incredibly well paid and was of the opinion that she would find another role easily.

    It is now April. No job.

    She told me that she has become very despondent and is shocked to discover that often she receives no reply from the organisations she applies to for advertised jobs.

    If she able to track someone down about her applications she has been told, on numerous occasions, that she is just one of several hundred who have applied.

    So yesterday she was asking me about how to market herself - I ended up giving a motivational talk to a 'motivator' about websites, blogs, twitter and social media.

    In the US she probably would make a fortune doing this kind of thing self-employed. In a future UK boom she probably would make a fortune also.

    But her mindset is not there to be self-employed - not yet anyhow.

    I expect she is just one of many.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Hawkeye

    Having watched the Vincent Browne program I have to say that Vincent must be the 'best worst' host I have ever seen or heard in thirty five years. Not since the glory days of Grampian TV and their on air collapsing cardboard studio sets have I seen such a ludicrous performance. He can barely actually speak, let alone coherently (he seems to have a heavy smoking habit, causing him problems of how to coordinate his breathing and speaking), snorts involuntarily through his nose and had not the remotest clue about how to chair a meeting, let alone having read up on the subject matter, interrupting his guests crudely, and frequently,who were mostly OK and had something to say, so that at times you could not hear what was being said by them. Can television really be that bad? Does this clown actually get air time? Is there a producer who, lets this pass? There is hope for us all (of a media career). but if this is the quality of 'journalism' in Ireland than little wonder about where they are at the moment.

  • Comment number 18.

    Forgot to add, I had a contract through from a Welsh public sector employer yesterday re some work I am pursuing with them.

    The contract states that contractors will be paid 24p per mile mileage allowance - non-negotiable.

    I know that the public sector employees in that organisation receive more than that - some of the senior employees get more than double that sum.

    That is not right is it? So much for us all in this together. It smacks of a sense of entitlement, of them and us. Of Animal Farm.

    I was also told a story of a Council in Wales yesterday that is spending £20,000 to put an externally sited hand-rail in for disabled access to a local school.

    It is allegedly costing £20,000 because it is going to be a heated and lit hand-rail.

    As the average wage in this part of Wales is about 21K a year the cost of that heated handrail could have been the job of one person.

    The mentality has not changed. Will not change.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks for the responses (various) on the last post wrt house prices..sorry I was a little side tracked today, my day role as a debt slave intervened to keep food on the table/ a roof over my head /the bank executives in Beluga caviar etc off the fruits of my labour.

    What those potential 750,000 lack is a narrative other than pensions and being against job cuts.

    The protest is kind of headless until those 750,000 understand the bigger picture. Its like they know they are being cheated but they dont know how they are being cheated or the correct line of attack to redress that sense of being cheated, so they default to the outdated narrative of taking action against cuts and pensions.

    I suspect in the back of their minds they know that their pensions demands are unrealistic, the numbers dont stack up. They are probably also aware on some level that government simply can not be as big as it is (in the non job aspects anyway).

    The protests are 1/2 hearted, in search of a narrative which Labour can no longer provide, a narrative which is supressed, alive on here but just not 'out there' yet.

    Hawkeye touched on this yesterday with his reference to NEF as well and just to keep promoting the logical unleveraged position unless it gets some traction.

    Back to house prices, if exposing the duplicity of Gov policy v bank policy towards first time buyers may help with that .

    If there is one thing that people do understand in this country and get passionate about it is their house value and their mortgage.

    Pointing out the logic that banks are offering mortgages on the basis of aheavy price fall while gov is trying to get people into the market may help to get some traction.

    Their own government is settting them up for financial disaster..

  • Comment number 20.

    The narrative is the big picture (global) push on transnational investor access to governments' public procurement spending, whether its public service sell-offs (as in water, energy, rail) or private contracting in public services that remain tax-payer funded and for big-scale provision (as in NHS contracts).

    This is the main action going on, being falsely tied to a 'cuts' agenda - a decoy that keeps people worried, occupied - including on blogs, arguing who best deserves not to be cut, and out on big marches that are wrongly focussed by a TUC that, first and last, toadies to the Labour Party.

    If we really need to save money nationally, then stop the big company tax fiddling, cut the PFI programs that are going to cost such a heap stretching into the future, nationalise savings banks so people's money is there for public use, stop allowing big companies to bring in cheap labour, displacing earning/spending/taxpaying workers here, with tax exempt, NI exempt cheap termporary migrant labour.

    These things are not being done because 'cuts' is just a way of bringing people and especially workers to their knees, disempowering them, while the real agenda, of transnational investment firms taking control of all, goes ahead.

    There - there's the narrative. Now we need some savvy and bold media person to pick it up and run with it.

    Over 2 u Mason.

  • Comment number 21.

    #19 Jericoa

    'If there is one thing that people do understand in this country and get passionate about it is their house value and their mortgage.'

    Probably explains why the BBC News bulletins spin any negative news on house prices in the UK, the plunging amount of mortgage lending, etc, with a big spoon of sugar and positive spin.

    It is odd how the BBC News nearly always wheels out an estate agent to comment on the housing market news. They may as well get a banker in to comment on banking bonuses. Doh!

    If you perchance to be at home during the day and switch on BBCs 1 or 2 between 9AM and 4PM it is truly shocking just how much property porn is on there - it is almost like some hypnotic programming. Buy houses, buy houses, buy houses.

    I would love it if the BBC actually went back and made a property programme about all the people who have appeared on such programmes in the past few years - and whether they now cherish or regret their purchases?

    Labour can't provide the narrative, Labour is part of the problem. It is no longer a problem of which political party but a problem of a political class.

    I despair when I hear the likes of Vince Cable and other ministers talk about how we can't stop foreign imports coming into this country or how we can't stop immigration, etc.

    They are the flipping Government - they can do pretty much what they want.

    I can only assume they either lack the imagination or are simply not up to the job in hand. Some might even argue that they do not wish to do stop such things because of vested interests.

    If this bunch of politician were around in 1939 they would be saying that nothing can be done to stop Mr. Hitler.

  • Comment number 22.

    The 30th June is not, & should not be, just for the public sector.
    It should be for all workers.
    An opportunity to show our strength.
    To scare the bosses.
    To fight back.
    And people are ready to fight back.
    They see the injustice as they struggle to keep the roof over their head.
    Get together with your workmates & organise.

  • Comment number 23.


    The revolution you seek is so much harder now, take my situation.

    I dont have workmates - I am self employed, the only boss I can scare is myself and I am crapping myself most of the time anyway because of.....

    Trying to keep a roof over my head /family fed - not because I will starve to death or sleep on the streets but because I dont want to fall into the icy life support embrace of being on state support.

    When considering the possibility of the change needed occuring I often think of the quote.

    ''if you are not making progress in achieving your aims you are either not suffering enough or you are not driven enough, there are no other alternatives''

    The state ensures (thus far) that people do not suffer enough to demand 'progress'. The suffering is not starvation or death from exposure it is general angst and worry about paying bills mostly and having enough to retire on.

    Hardly the suffering required for revolution which requires you to be in a position where you feel you have nothing or very little to lose such that taking to the streets is no more risky than staying at home.

    They have the other half of the equation covered too I am afraid, we are not (collectively) driven enough to make progress because we are drip fed on a diet of gadgets, celebrity shows, video gaming and high fat high sugar foods which blunts motivation.

    The sad conclusion I always come to (but rage against) is that nothing meaningful will change despite the knowledge of what is required for positive change for all being out there until, that is, the whole system comes crashing down and we really are 'suffering' enough to make progress.

    I rage against it because that would be a disaster for millions, yet everytime I run it through my head I always get the same answer and nothing that is currently emerging in our increasingly volatile world leads me away from that conclusion or gives me any hope that I may be wrong.

    I so wish it could be the way you say but something magical needs to happen for that to be the case and nobody believes in magic anymore.

  • Comment number 24.

    #23 supplemental

    In conclusion we either drunkenly stagger down the street towards a 'Big Brother' or 'Brave New World'' (or something in-between) or we go through some kind of disaster which could (hopefully) lead to something better emerging following an intense period of great upheaval and suffering.

    Neither of the above options inspires me when I tuck my kids into their beds at night being in the knowledge that both of those diabolical directions can, theoretically, be avoided, but only if we choose to believe in magic again.

  • Comment number 25.

    #11 DeepGreenPuddock

    Interesting post. I worry very much about the people who've gone on early retirement from here. I know of one who's glad to go; the others seem have understood that falling on their swords was probably what was required of them. If they hung around any longer they'd just end up in another restructure but with compulsory redundancies next time.

    As for jollity down the pub, there have been so many leaving dos we've stopped having them and the shrapnel in the collections is scarcely enough for a card, let alone a present. Most people leaving go with nothing because they're women in their 20s & 30s who've worked from one temporary contract to another and now those contracts have run out. If they've eked it out long enough they get however many futile weeks it is on the redeployment register. Joy, all right.

    It might surprise some people, but a lot of local authority work is project-based and not easily susceptible to the kind of work to rule watriler (#4) mentions. Mine certainly isn't. My team provide a specialist service to another organization which has contracted the work out *to* the local authority (& actually a group of local authorities working together, in true Pickles-approved mode), so my job and the jobs of my team aren't wholly dependent on local government funding. But the back up ("back office"?) services we rely on are, which makes it hard for us to do our jobs with the kind of efficiency Reaper_of_Souls (#2) rightly expects, though doubts we can provide. (Obviously I disagree...)

    This where the "salami slicing" comes in. On the whole (falling straight into #20 stayingcool's trap of arguing about who "deserves" to be cut least), I prefer it to arbitrary decisions about stripping out services altogether. But it makes life pretty difficult. For instance, if you early retire half the van drivers and then don't have enough drivers to courier materials from one site to another, well, that's not very efficient, is it?

    Oh and by the way, stayingcool (#20), a lot of us union members might agree with much of what you're saying and want the things you appear to want. But we also have bills to pay and jobs to fight for and services we passionately believe benefit the public to carry on providing. The unions, however rubbish they may be, perhaps understand this rather better than you.

  • Comment number 26.

    #23 Jericoa

    Yes, revolution may seem impossible or a distant prospect.
    But the world looks very different since Egypt.
    People all other the world could see it on their screens.
    Contray to Gill Scott Heron's song the revolution was televised.

    Although the Egyptians have a long way to go & the army has effectively put the brakes on it, what you could see was people organising themselves, getting together & discussing how society should be run.
    The people were trying to trump the rate of profit controlling their lives.

    Such spontaneous insurection can happen just about anywhere in the world today.

    The 26th of March showed that there was a lot of people ready to take to the streets - at least half a million, perhaps three-quarters of a million.

    The 30th of June could see a million out on strike.

    Those who are unemployed are welcome to join the picket lines.

    We need to keep pushing & fighting for the ordinary people because the attack on living standards will continue.
    Remember capitalism only produces for profit not to meet people's needs.
    That's why when the rate of profit falls output falls although people's needs have remained the same.

    Humanity must free itself from the rate of profit or descend ever further into barbarism.

  • Comment number 27.


    "This lady was very senior, incredibly well paid and was of the opinion that she would find another role easily.

    It is now April. No job."

    Hilarious. Hopefully she will soon be moving into a house more suitable for someone of her "ability". How many idiots like this are sitting pretty after years of keeping out of trouble and brown-nosing their way into length-of-service based promotion in the public sector?

    What is not motivational is paying nearly half of my earnings into a system that is wasting a significant percentage of it on fools like her. I have the chance to take a new job with a raise soon, but what is the point when half of it goes out the door in tax to people who are a waste of space? And I have to save for my own pension rather than joining the government ponzi scheme one!

    Still, at least I'm not ashamed of my job, which I would be if I were a council motivational speaker. At least she got the boot.

  • Comment number 28.


    You may not have heard about this, because the UK media was too busy rambling on about Colin Firth and the Kings Speech, but this documentary film won an Oscar back in February:

    "Ferguson has described the film as being about "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption." In five parts the film explores how changes in the policy environment and banking practices helped create the 2008 financial crisis. Inside Job was well received by film critics who praised its pacing, research and explanation of complex material."

    It should be out on DVD in June:

    Take a look at the comments too

  • Comment number 29.

    27. At 09:37am 15th Apr 2011, Ben wrote:
    And I have to save for my own pension rather than joining the government ponzi scheme one!

    I was under the impression that most personal pensions were also far too close to Ponzi methodology. Are you going to self manage?

  • Comment number 30.

    Kit - you know what - you probably are not wrong there. Difference is I'm paying more into that ponzi scheme than people on defined benefit.

    Hawkeye - as usual I'm not polemical on this. Banks deserve a good kicking. Put a load of them in jail. Also, sack loads of people in the government doing non-jobs on a fortune whilst we don't have enough money for soldiers, nurses and teachers.

    We all know someone pushing paper for the government who has an easy gig. If you don't, it's you.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think its pie in the sky to think we're anywhere near a general strike (at the moment). If you work for a good private sector employer and are relatively happy with your pay and conditions, why would you? Certainly at my work place there isn't the slightest whiff of this kind of militancy.

    So, while I agree with some of the radical proposal suggested I don't see general strike as a way of achieving this. Surely in the modern social media world if enough people subscribe to these viewpoints an organisation or dare I say even a political party should be formed to reach the masses and change the political class.

    What's the point of protesting when no one is offering an alternative? Ed Milliband and his party are little more than a joke. What's their message lets protest for 2% less cuts................

  • Comment number 32.

    Lots of inflation stories on the BBC today. 5% is a big problem in China with 10% growth but it's not so bad when growth is near zero like in the UK! I love my auntie - she's like a big brother to me.

  • Comment number 33.


    '' Ed Milliband and his party are little more than a joke. What's their message lets protest for 2% less cuts ''

    A very good way of putting it.

    The trouble with relying on the established political process is that it is way too slow. New political parties find it very hard to get any media traction, and even if they did it would take minimum 4 years for that to be translated into an election win and another 4 before wholesale policy change came about.

    We dont have that long, by the time that option comes around the damage will have been done, if we got on a 'war footing' now to completely overhaul the economic system and move to a throughput economic model we may have achance. But nobody is even talking about it, they are running around like headless chickens trying to 'restore growth'.


    more non jobs?

    How about..

    Every house must by law have a minimum turnaround of buying and throwing out 30 gadgets per year in order to maintain growth? Every house must by law buy green beans flown in from kenya twice a week (and throw 1/2 of them away) so that a kenyan farmer can have a subsitence living.

    That is the basis of the current GLOBAL ...GLOBAL economic model !!!!

    The incumbents are all completely insane!!!! Nutters to a man, idiots, fools.

    The only way they get away with it is because they are rarely, if ever, confronted with the super nova like truth, they just argue amongst themselves about 'how to restore growth'.

    It never ceases to amaze me how stupid the accepted state of affairs is, my brain ceases up in trying to contemplate it, the measure of our stupidity its like trying to visualise infinity.

    When will someone nail these idiots down and make them realise.

    WAKE UP you fools !!!! Wake up..

    Drives me nuts.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ben #27

    I think your schadenfreude does you no favours.
    The unfortunate woman is a human being, trying to cope with real problems. You are gloating over what you think is someone who has wittingly defrauded the taxpayer with some variety of worthless activity, but that is both debateable, and also not recognising that the person clearly went to her work in the full, if in your opinion mistaken, belief that what she did was valuable in supporting the work of her colleagues or organisation.

    'Motivational' or 'leadership' development is something that was undoubtedly taken on board the public services from the private sector, who were long ago buying in, usually at huge cost, the services of various people thought to be 'hot thinkers' or able to access energies and abilities, otherwise left dormant.

    The post-facto absurdity of this proposition is guided by hindsight and is a variation the 'emperor's new clothes' , but if you had been sitting in a staff motivational meeting 10 years ago , would you have had the prescience and bravery to stand up and openly criticise the management for their ill-judged use of company/tax payer resources, or even walk out early revealing your scepticism of the proposition?

    I actually know a person who was very talented and able (in a school) who more or less did that. In fact, he had researched deeply into the policy matters, had figures at his fingertips, knew more about the methods and attitudes that were being proposed than the management did themselves, stood up and effectively took apart the management's stance with uncomfortable dollops of reason and evidence.

    There was widespread approval among the 60 or so people in the audience. He had been acting as an Assistant Head. Within a month he was back to his erstwhile role at the chalkface and he retired a few years ago having never again been considered for any kind of management role.
    Of course who is to say there is a causal connection and he himself was phlegmatic about his career- he had sought other satisfactions- but that is the unfortunate reality of human activity.

    The person's talent did not extend as far as taking account of the organisational and social niceties( constraints) of the system he was operating in.

    I think you are probably just indulging in the current orthodoxy -that of frenzied scapegoating to vent anger and frustration. That is a dangerous thing to do. We should think a bit more deeply.

  • Comment number 35.

    @deepgreenpuddock, I salute you.

  • Comment number 36.

    deepgreen - they are wasting our money on tripe

    "if you had been sitting in a staff motivational meeting 10 years ago , would you have had the prescience and bravery to stand up and openly criticise the management for their ill-judged use of company/tax payer resources"

    The person I'm laughing at is not a worker bee, subject to the system. These guys are the management and there are loads of them. One less is either less tax to pay or more nurses to hire.

    Your reply doesn't contradict my post.

    Bottom half of it: Sad story about your friend being demoted but that supports my assertion that years of brown-nosing gets you on in the civil service.

    Top half: On the private sector getting motivational speakers - that is their money to waste that comes out of their bottom line. Let them spend on speakers until they go bust, with the last speaker being carried out on his platform by bailiffs. I won't be paying for it.

    "The post-facto absurdity of this proposition is guided by hindsight" (!)

    It's not hindsight. You'd have to be blind to think the civil service is not full of waste since Nu Labour spent like the world was going to end, buying votes through benefits and non-jobs.

    Try thinking a bit more deeply about whether we can run a country sustainably whilst employing loads of talentless paper-pushers, all monitoring each other on spreadsheets. None of whom are apparently monitoring whether we can lend hundreds of thousands of pounds to nearly everyone in the country and not have consequences.

    Or should we not sack them because "they are human beings" and defer tough choices until we get into a real mess, then start laying off emergency services, closing schools and libraries once our limp liberal hand is forced? Ah - we are already there!


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