I Can’t Quite Work It Out

The people have voted, and it seems like they’ve got Camoron for another full term.

I don’t agree with them, but I can see why the Jocks have voted SNP, at least that makes some kind of sense.

The rest of the UK have voted for some strange things

They have voted for a much reduced Police Service with a much hampered ability to respond to our various problems.

They have voted for a much reduced Armed Forces, they are at their lowest strength for decades and getting smaller.

They have voted for an NHS in danger of being dismantled and privatised.  Starved of funding, forced to fail, cue private companies riding in to pick up the pieces and rescue them.

They have voted for a shackled Justice system.

They have voted for a slimline Coastguard Service.

They have voted for Probation, Education and Prison Services to be neutered or privatised.

What do all of the above have in common?  None of them sell anything.  Traditionally they have all been sectors that soak up money without the ability to make a profit. How could they?  Until very recently consecutive governments have accepted that fact and whilst there have been minor cuts and Efficiency Drives along the way, it was always accepted that they were sectors that had to have money pumped into them to make them work with no option of getting a profit out at the end. It has always been that way, and I don’t see how it could be any different to that.  Oh, hang on,……..Privatisation might help.

They have voted for Bankers Bonuses.

They have voted for Outsourcing

I truly hope that the the great British Public do not find the need for the NHS, do not ever need a Police Officer, I hope their kids are properly educated, I hope they never need a Coastguard etc etc, because the shape of this country has changed irrevocably, and it’s what the country has voted for.

I didn’t, my conscience is clear, but very many did. I have heard it described as selfish voting. Who knows?

I leave you with one last thought, Be very careful what you wish for because you might get it.

Have Your Say, Tell Me What You Think–The Results Are In

A while ago I posed the question – Would you be willing to pay a small amount more each month to help safeguard our Public Services? I posted a short online survey for you to tell me your views, and the results are in.

Shown below are the actual responses received, minus names and email address etc, apart from that untouched.

I’m not certain that the volume of respondents constitutes a statistically significant sample (I’m sure it doesn’t), but most folk who replied would be willing to pay SOMETHING extra on their taxes, NI contributions etc to help keep our Public Services afloat.

Just a shame that the government never thought of asking the question really, they might have got a bigger response.

Would you be willing to pay a small amount more each month to help safeguard our Public Services? Police NHS Armed Forces Education Coastguard What is the Max amount PER MONTH you would be willing to pay on top of your current taxes?
yes yes yes yes yes yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 100
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes No No £1
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes £50
Yes Yes No No Depends which sector No 10
Yes. Already paying extra via CT to POLICE Yes Yes No Yes Yes 10
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 100
yes yes yes yes yes yes 10
No No No No No No 0
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 25
no no no no no no 9
yes yes yes yes yes yes £10
yes yes yes yes yes yes 5
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 50
yes yes yes yes yes yes 6
no yes yes yes no no £40
yes yes yes yes yes yes 20
Yes Yes No Yes No Yes 10
yes yes no yes no yes 2
yes yes YES yes yes yes 2
yes yes yes yes no yes 10
no no no no no no 0
Yes Yes def Yes def Yes defs No Yes £5
Yes Yes No Yes No No 5
no no yes no no no 10

Have Your Say, Tell Me What You Think

Good morning one and all.

I’ve been giving some thought to the awful Draconian cuts that this government has inflicted upon many if not all of our Public Sector Services.

I have written a short, online survey, which should take no longer than 2 minutes to complete.

You can remain anonymous or you can put your name to it, I don’t mind either.

It doesn’t ask your occupation, previous occupation or current employment status and makes no mention of any political parties whatsoever.

Time will tell whether sufficient people respond to make the results meaningful, but if you could spare 2 minutes of your time, at the very least we’ll have some answers to questions that I haven’t actually seen any government ask the population before.

I will leave it open until the day before Election Day and then analyse and publish the results.

Some folk have already taken the survey, some left names, some didn’t. I thank you all.

 It doesn’t matter to me, it’s the answers that count.

You can access the survey HERE

Thank you for your time

Take No Notice It’s Just Me Sounding Off

It’s one of those days today, you know, one of those days when you just want to shout out loud and get ‘stuff’ off your chest. Well today is one of those days, so if you can’t be arsed to stay and read it that’s fine be me, hopefully I’ll see you another day soon.

Today’s issue is nothing new, it’s ‘The Cuts’.  I have written extensively on another site about Government Wastage and tried to put together in one place many of the instances where this government, and the previous one, has wasted BILLIONS of pounds. Enough money has been wasted to bolster many of our Public Services for quite some time.  I won’t waste your time going over them again you can read them elsewhere if you really want to.

I earned my Spurs in a Police FORCE that did not want for funding.  I have no problem whatsoever with ‘Efficiency Drives’, in current times it is more important than ever to be as ‘efficient’ as we can be. However, the simple formula is this; it costs £xxxxxxxxx per annum to Police London, Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire, DeadBadgerShire etc. that is a fact. If you reduce their funding, in its simplest terms, that means that SOMETHING WONT GET DONE.

I’ll talk about Policing because that’s the world I know, but the comments apply equally to the NHS, Armed Forces, Education etc etc.

Policing is not a retail industry, they don’t sell anything to make money, there are no shares to sell to generate extra income.  It always used to be, before the wonderful days of ‘Devolved Budgeting’, that the Home Office (or Police Authority) allocated an amount of money each year to Police the area. In London, if that pot of money ran out the Commissioner could ask for more from the Home Office (don’t laugh, it’s true).

It Has Never Been A Better Time To Be A Volunteer

It’s Official.

Be a Volunteer.

Loads of opportunities.  Never be Bored and Fed Up again.  Let’s take a look and see some of the opportunities Volunteering has to offer.

Territorial Army – OK I know it’s not Voluntary Work in the accepted sense, but I’m sure you get my drift.  “They have sometimes been dismissed as “weekend warriors” who lack the fitness, discipline and commitment of regular soldiers.

But the Territorial Army (TA) – in the process of being rebranded the Army Reserve – already makes up a sizeable part of the British Army’s manpower and will soon be playing an even greater role.”

Under the government’s Army 2020 review, the size of the regular army is being reduced by a fifth and reservists will have to help meet the shortfall.

The intention of the MOD is that by 2020, the British Army will have 120,000 soldiers, of which 84,000 will be Regulars and 35,000 Reservists (a ratio of 70/30).

I am most definitely knocking the TA, they do a fine job, but what kind of half-arsed mentality would have 30%  of our Army as Reservists?  Or is it just me?  Maybe I’m the half-arsed one and everybody in government and MOD is normal.  And that’s just the Army, not taking into account the fine chaps of the RAF and Navy.

It is intended that by 2020 10% (1,800 personnel) of the RAF will be High Readiness Reserves.

It is intended that by 2020 the trained strength of the Maritime Reserves will be 3,100 sailors and marines

So there you are, plenty of opportunity, go Volunteer.

Policing – Theresa May has got that one sussed;

The number of the voluntary officers would increase more than fourfold – from the current 15,000 to the peak levels of 67,000 last seen more than 50 years ago, said Theresa May, the Home Secretary [in 2010]

She also outlined plans for a volunteer “police reserve force” to bolster the country’s 141,000 (Ha!!!) front-line police officers, whose numbers are said to be under threat because of public sector spending cuts.

Mrs May disclosed the volunteer plans as she outlined a wide range of police reforms, described as the most radical for half a century.

The trouble is that her plan has gone a little wobbly and Specials numbers have actually REDUCED.

There were 17,789 special constables in the 43 police forces on 31 March 2014, a decrease of 1,222 or 6.4 per cent compared with a year earlier  By 30th September 2014 this number had gone down even further to 16,792, or a further 5.6%.

With the College of Policing’s plans for the Special Constabulary it has seldom been a better time to Volunteer.

Especially when you take into account the College of Policing’s marvellous tome, Leadership Review.

You don’t need to read all 37 Pages, the bits that refer to the benefits of Volunteering are here;

5.4.17
“As well as having access to leadership development, police staff and members of the special constabulary should have the opportunity to be considered for police officer positions, via direct entry routes.Developing leadership opportunities for police staff is discussed further in recommendation 7.”

5.6.4
“Specials cannot currently progress beyond constable, and the ranks they have are administrative grades. They should be entitled to seek promotion to different ranks, provided they meet national standards and pass the selection process. If they attain a rank and are deemed proficient they could be considered for direct selection to full-time roles. In doing this, it is important to ensure that the essence of volunteering is retained, and a two-tier culture is not created within the special constabulary.”

Specials do a fine job, of that I have absolutely no doubt, but I do feel that they are being used as a Tactical Option in the war on the Police Service being waged by Imelda and the Milky Bar Kid..

…………….and every other Police Force you can mention

 

milkybar

…………….and every other Police Force you can mention

CHARITY SHOPS – one of the traditional locations for anybody wanting to give up some of their time and help the less fortunate.  Well, actually, don’t bother.  Charity Shops have now become de rigeur for anybody on Job Seekers Allowance, to maintain their benefits they are being sent to work (unpaid I believe) in the nation’s Charity Shops.  Mrs Angry is less than impressed.  Her sanctuary at the local Charity Shop has been invaded by a veritable army of Job Seekers sent their by the Job Centre, who don’t want to be there and just clutter the place being sulky like Kevin the Teenager, and generally spoiling the atmosphere to the extent that quite a few of the Blue Rinse Brigade (duck!!!) have left because they felt so uncomfortable.

But if you still feel lie a bit of Voluntary Work, fret not, Sir Dave has come to the rescue with his Election Pledge

15 million workers to get three days’ paid volunteering leave each year

Every public sector worker and anyone working in a company with at least 250 employees – more than 15 million people in total – would be entitled to the volunteering leave.

Who is going to pay for this three days extra leave?  The Employer? – That will just be added on to the end cost and prices and inflation will ultimately rise accordingly, it will not come out of profits you can rest assured on that.  The Government?  Well if they can afford to fund that, they’ve got more money in the kitty than they’re letting on and they should put into one of the struggling Public Services instead.

Finally I thought that the whole concept of Volunteering was based on the principle of giving up some of your own time for the benefit of others.

What could possibly go wrong?

PENETRATION – Fact, Fiction or Theory.

Now that I’ve got your attention I have to confess that word should have been INFILTRATION.

I’m not very experienced at a Fiction writing, hardly any at all compared to some others in much higher office and their Expenses Claims.  The utter drivel I am about to reveal to the world might be fact, it might be fiction or maybe just a plausible theory. I’ll leave you, my reader, to decide which it is.

I retired from the Met in 2002 so, quite rightly, I’m completely out of touch with the current goings-on and shenanigans, but before I left there was at least one successful infiltration (I say successful because it was more than a mere attempt) by a criminal enterprise. A member of said enterprise, who had no convictions, had applied, been accepted, undergone training, and been posted to a Police Station in uniform.  That person was nothing less than a ‘Sleeper’ waiting to be activated and presumably pass on information to his/her associates outside of the Force.

That is shocking.

Fortunately, it was rumbled before any damage was done but I HOPE that it served as a Wake-Up call to the organisation and alerted them to what is possible.

Then a chance Tweet got me thinking.

My old mate Obbsie may have been joking when he tweeted but what if he is right?   What if…… What if our government has been infiltrated?  Depletion of our Armed Forces, that’s certainly happening.  Would it benefit a foreign power?  Putin and ISIS are the two that come easiest to mind, but yes it would/could.

Depletion of the Police Service – that’s most definitely happening.  Would that benefit a malevolent foreign power?  In certain aspects yes. Our ability to contain Civil Disorder is almost certainly already impaired.  If Police numbers are reduced too far it cannot help but impact upon the Police’s Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism responsibilities.

The Fire and Rescue Service has been watered down by this coalition? Is this a benefit to a foreign power? In the modern era I’m not actually certain, but their attendance at a major Terrorist Incident would most certainly impact upon others elsewhere with appliances and crews being out of place with less cover available.

The National Health Service has suffered really badly at the hands of this government, even though the Tories lie through their teeth and try to deny it.  Would this be a benefit to a foreign power? Quite possibly in at least two ways.  Firstly our response capabilities (Ambulance, Paramedics, A&E Doctors & Nurses) have been diluted so we would possibly deal less well with the results of a major Terrorist Incident, their would also be knock-on consequences further down the chain.  Secondly the ever-present spectre of Privatisation would be an attractive proposition to a foreign government to pick up contracts in the UK Health sector.

Other Public Sector areas have also been affected; Courts, Probation, Education, Coastguards etc etc.  to be perfectly honest I have no idea if or how these would be of benefit to a foreign government, but the Public Sector as a whole has been CONSIDERABLY weakened by this coalition.

It may well be considered ludicrous to suggest that there could be infiltration at the very top of government but the incontrovertible fact is that our nations enemies, be they ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Argentina or Putin (maybe even the SNP???) , will have viewed the havoc wreaked upon our police, fire and ambulance services, the NHS and indeed our armed forces with a mixture of incredulity and delight.

I implore you, do not be complacent.  Unlikely and fanciful as you might find it, Infiltration can happen, it has happened and COULD happen again, either in Government, Police or the Civil Service.  Will it happen again?  I have absolutely no idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out.  If I was a foreign power I would certainly have considered it years ago.  Look at some of the recent defectors to Syria; Humanitarian or Infiltrator/Sympathiser?  Again, I have no idea, but we should be open to all possibilities.

Infiltration – Fact, Fiction or (Conspiracy) Theory?  All I will say is that I truly hope it is not Fact.

I’ll let Chris have the last word

The State Of The Nation

The American President gets to give a State of the Nation speech so, in an Election Year, I thought I’d give it a go.

Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking here are the Highlights

Police – Threat levels rising, the threat from International Terrorism is at unprecedented levels and what are we doing about it? At the last count we’ve got rid of nearly 17,000 fully trained and experienced Police Officers and we’re promising to shed more over the next 5 years. An unconfirmed rumour circulating is that Camoron and co want to cull the total down to about 80,000. Can you imagine that? 135,000 a few years ago, down to 80,000, cracking idea.

How many Police Stations or Front Counters have closed across the country? Too many.

The Armed Forces, they’re very important right now. In my humble opinion they deserve the best kit, and basically the best of everything because I’ve always been immensely proud of our fighting heroes, they’re well-trained, do a fantastic job, often in the worst conditions, and are regularly shat upon by successive governments. Having already been decimated to nothing much more than a decent-sized Defence Force rumours abound that they too are to be cut further, to as little as 60,000. Under the Government’s current Army reforms, the number of regular soldiers is already being cut from 102,000 to 82,000, and the number of Territorials is meant to increase to help take up the slack, only it isn’t, they’re actually getting smaller too, not by a huge amount but over 10,000 short of the government’s target of 30,000.  At the end of 2014 our Army consisted of 14,080 Officers and 80,101 Other Ranks. Current plans appear to call for an Army of 112,000 by 2020. This would result in a Regular Army strength of 82,000 and a Reserve strength of 30,000. Figures include 2,790 Gurkhas and 1,240 Full Time Reserves. (FTRS).

The National Health Service – despite Camoron’s constant reassurances that the NHS is safe in Tory hands, there appears to be a shortage of approx 20,000+ Doctors and Nurses, whilst the pay of NHS Chief Executives is climbing so much that one of them now earns more than the Prime Minister (allegedly).

Social Care cuts for Local Authorities have resulted in NHS Bed Blocking as Councils no longer have the funding and resources necessary to care for many patients on their discharge from hospital. This results in the patients failing to be discharged even though though there is no medical reason for them to remain and blocking a bed needed by somebody else.  Government blames Local Authorities, but in reality it is Government Cuts that have brought this about.

The Fire and Rescue Service. I don’t know what the figures are nationally, but almost every region has seen Fire Stations closed, Fire Engines sold off or scrapped. Jobs lost or at risk this is another example of an area we can’t take risks with.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service (or Marine & Coastguard Agency). There’s another Emergency Service that’s been decimated Camoron and Co. I’ve blogged about them numerous times before and I make no apology for including them here. We don’t think about them enough. The one thing I will repeat is this, if you swim in the sea, scuba dive, surf, let your kids on the water on inflatables, take a ferry to France, Ireland or anywhere else for your holidays then you absolutely NEED the Coastguards when this go wrong. According to Ordnance Survey the UK coastline is a smidgen over 11,000 miles long. Other agencies, however, have the coastline as anywhere up to 24,000 miles http://coastguardsos.com/how-long-is-a-piece-of-string/ After Camoron and co have had their way there will be just NINE Coastguard Stations left open.

The new National Maritime Operations Centre plus

Stornoway
Shetland
Aberdeen
Belfast
Humber
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Dover
Plus a 1 man station in London Port Authority (which so far failed to be manned at least once)

Do you REALLY, HONESTLY think that’s enough? Human lives are at stake daily. How many major incidents at sea have we heard about just since Christmas?

The last one I shall mention today is the Border Force and the monumental cock-up by the Home Office there (remind me someone, who’s in charge of the Home Office? Anyone we know?)

The Home Office has managed to come up with its own version of an IT catastrophe. Having hired Raytheon, a US company, to put in place “e-borders”, a computer system to log every person who crosses the UK border, it now turns out that Britain will not only be without the e-borders system, we will also have to pay more than £220 million for not having it. That’s in addition to the hundreds of millions of pounds that have already been spent on a system that does not work as intended. Thousands of people are slipping into Britain illegally and in-noticed. How many of them are returning Jihadists?

So there we are. The State of the Nation? Comprehensively ‘Cattled’ would be my assessment. In addition to posts lost, both the Police and the Armed Forces are ‘losing’ experienced personnel and replacing them with cheaper, untrained personnel. The loss of experience to this country is staggering, and cannot be replaced or reversed quickly.

Camoron and Co think that it’s all about saving money, well it isn’t. We can’t go on haemorrhaging skills and experience yet still expect our response to assorted threats to remain the same. That doesn’t work. Those that are left behind are disenchanted, having seen their pensions and terms of employment turned on their heads. Work Longer, Pay More, Less Pension seems to be the Mantra these days, unless you’re an MP That is. They claim that the Law does not allow them to decline their over-generous pay and pensions package. Well I’ve got a suggestion for you there Dave; change the bloody law like you did for hundreds of thousands of decent, hard working folk in order to make your unlawful pension reforms lawful. There’s a challenge for you.

I no longer care which party or parties form a government in May, but I do care about TWO things. They should have the good of the country in their hearts and all of their policies should be for the benefit of the country, not themselves or their fat cat business associates.

The State of the Nation is perilously poised.