Thursday, 30 June 2011

Been a bit quiet on the blogging front.  Partly this is because there has been a bit less to blog (is that a verb?  Does it conjugate ? Blogo, blogare: to write nonsense publicly to a very small audience?)  

But mainly it’s been because I’ve been busy at my work. And next week I’ll be busier still when my trainee goes on holiday, ungrateful wretch that she is. Does she not appreciate the career opportunity I have availed her of? Not only is she now expecting to be paid, she is expecting perks as well!

“Who’d be an employer?” as Mr Gradgrind so tellingly observed.

Anyway, enough of this whimsy.

I never did make it to Inverclyde, by way of the new M74 or otherwise, so the big events of the week have completely passed me by. As I write however I believe both are likely to be a success. Turnout is the key.

I’m going to write instead about Labour Hame. Tom Harris issued a mild reproach for my swearing when,  writing on a previous occasion about some of my fellow columnists, I described  them as right wing b............... (I won’t repeat the offence in the hope he’ll publish this.) I did try to persuade him that (the word) was a term of affection but I’m not sure he believed me. The point I was making however was that approaching the same set of circumstances from different political directions we had arrived at the same conclusions.

One of the reasons we lost in May was because we were living in the past.

Since my article for Labour Hame there have been others I would wholeheartedly endorse. Tom writes that if we wish to help those who are looking for a job we need to secure the votes of those who are already in secure employment: I agree. Graeme Downie (who, since I don’t know him, may or may not be right wing b............) says that we need to win over, rather than deride, former (and current) Lib Dems: I agree. But the most perceptive comment comes, almost in passing, from Beth Greene.

most people phone the council and end up speaking to a variety of people without resolution to their problem

Labour has been in power in Scotland for so long that we have become synonomous with Local Government. Many of my Councillor colleagues complain that the ineptitude of the local Council is visited on them even when the Council is actually controlled by the SNP!

The problem is that for most people Local Government is synonomous with inefficiency, bureaucracy and, in consequence, an inability to resolve their problems. As Beth says.

I wrote myself, while defending the Council Tax, that Local Government was not as efficient as Tesco. Even writing on a lefty website, to presumably a lefty audience, no-one demurred. Why however do we take that as a given?

Well partly because we take as gospel that any compulsory redundancy in Local Government, or indeed anywhere in the public sector, has to be beyond the pale. Why?  Surely the people who pay council tax, or any other tax, do so in the expectation of receiving a service in return, not as part of an involuntary contribution to a job creation programme. It may be heretical, although I can’t perceive why, but people who do not actually provide a service to the public are not in fact public servants. 

Progress is progress. We no longer require fettlers, lamplighters, or shorthand typists, essential though these trades once were. As the world moved on, so had to they. Why should we be defending the rights and privileges of layers of time servers in public sector middle management when in the private sector new technology has made these positions, in the proper sense, redundant? And, more so, why do went insist on these rights and privileges when they are invariably  enjoyed at the expense of a new generation anxious to work and to contribute to society but unable to secure any form of employment? And why, by tolerating voluntary but not compulsory redundancy, do we agree to those capable of alternative employment  leaving  (with a wad of our money) while those incapable exercise their right to continue to be employed at our expense?

It’s great no longer having to consider your words with a view to climbing the greasy pole of Labour Party advancement. It frees you to say what you think.

Next I might comment on another hidden heresy: Tom’s willingness to use the phrase “those..............who want to work”.

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