Police & Fire Service Pensions – An Update?

I knicked this off Facebook

It’s as much of an update as I can find at the moment, enjoy

I have contacted my ‘mole’ in the PO’s office and this is the current situation. The PO’s decision is delayed due to a malfunction in the AGFDM) (Automatic Government Flack Dispersal Machine) I understand that a fault with the floating fragensack condenser pin has caused a failure of the Kerfuffler valve to open, thus the machine has defaulted into standby mode. The PO cannot release the decision date until the machine is working as this would be a breach of health & safety law as his staff would be vulnerable to incoming flack! Now the problem is compounded by the fact that the Fragensack pins are manufactured in Greece and the company is on a go slow in protest at the austerity conditions being imposed on the Greeks by the Germans. The Germans wont let them have any more Ouzo money until they put their fiscal house in order and pay up for their last lot of Austugerlich Bier. The only way the Geeks can do that is via an increase in tourism that will generate more foreign income to pay the Germans. This income can only come from a few sources because just about everyone else in europe is skint . The Spanish have squandered all their money to roads to nowhere and airports with no planes and the French are (Well since when have we ever been able to rely on the French?) The Scots and the benefit fraudsters are two groups who have just managed to con another few billion out of the UK budget. Unfortunately, these groups keep getting wasted on the Ryan Air jets and end up getting arrested at the airport. They can’t spend their money because they spend the next 14 days in a Greek pokey before being booted back home on their return flight. This leaves one remaining group who have the potential to access funds and that is the police & fire service pensioners who are due a long awaited refund from being ripped off by the GAD. Unfortunately the good police and fire bobbies are still awaiting a decision by the PO on their claim which takes us back to square one!. So for gods sake does anyone out there have a spare Fragensack condenser pin that they can loan to the PO so that we can get our bloody money??

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

What On Earth Has Happened To Professional Standards?

It’s a question I’ve posed before, but I’ve just read a book, The Crocodile Court, which is basically about a West Midlands Police Sergeant who falls foul of the discipline system and what happens after that.  I’ll not spoil it too much in case you want to read it.

Let’s be honest, Professional Standards, or whatever you want to call them, have never been popular in any of their incarnations, but they are a necessary evil.

My point is this, (and once again my experience is restricted to the Met so if any of you ‘Crunchers’ want to tell me how it is in your Force I’d be pleased to hear it), in the good old days, at least up to the beginning of the 2000s, in my opinion and experience, Professional Standards were at least reasonably fair and I’ve known several Complaints Officers who would look hard for an informal resolution rather than go the whole hog.

In Complaints and Discipline, as in Policing in general, it is important to be able prove or disprove any allegation.  No Man’s Land is a result that doesn’t really satisfy anybody.

There are those out there who won’t like this but it is a fact that spurious and vexatious allegations ARE made for a variety of reasons.

If, for example, an allegation of assault or incivility is made against an officer or group of officers and that/those officer(s) vehemently deny the allegation, it is possible that it’s a false allegation.  If it is possible to prove or demonstrate that the allegation is, or is likely to be, false, then why should we not do it?

In the early 90s I was asked by our Complaints Unit to do a Timeline for an allegation of assault made by a group of people against a DC and a DI.  So I read all of the ‘witness’ statements and produced a Timeline that completely covered a very large table, and when I presented my Timeline to the Complaints Unit they had no alternative but to concede that whether these officers had or hadn’t assaulted anybody, the evidence of the ‘witnesses’ could not be relied upon because they clearly weren’t all where they claimed to be in their statements, and could not possibly have seen what they claimed to have seen.  Result – Complaint Discontinued due to lack of evidence.

Fast Forward to 2015 and what do we have now?

Professional Standards Departments who seem to be hell-bent on prosecuting or disciplining officers at the drop of a hat.  It seems to me (my opinion only) that they’re not too interested in finding any evidence which would assist the accused or undermine their own case, or maybe even, just establishing the TRUTH.

When it comes to Crime (and allegations of assault etc against Police Officers are exactly that) the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 tells us exactly what our roles and responsibilities re Disclosure are,

The Code of Practice requires the police to record and retain material obtained in a criminal investigation which may be relevant to the investigation. In particular:

all police officers have a responsibility to record and retain relevant material obtained or generated by them during the course of the investigation. Material may be photographed, video-recorded, captured digitally or otherwise retained in the form of a copy rather than the original, if the original is perishable, or the retention of a copy rather than the original is reasonable in all the circumstances

  • the officer in charge of the investigation has special responsibility to ensure that the duties under the Code of Practice are carried out by all those involved in the investigation, and for ensuring that all reasonable lines of enquiry are pursued, irrespective of whether the resultant evidence is more likely to assist the prosecution or the accused
  • the Code of Practice creates the roles of disclosure officer and deputy disclosure officer, with specific responsibilities for examining material, revealing it to the prosecutor, disclosing it to the accused where appropriate, and certifying to the prosecutor that action has been taken in accordance with the Code of Practice.
  • the disclosure officer is required to create schedules of relevant unused material retained during an investigation and submit them to the prosecutor together with certain categories of material
  • non-sensitive material should be described on form MG6C and sensitive material should be described on form MG6D.

Most of the ‘Time Bombs’ sit within the Unused Material, i.e. material that the Police possess that they do not seek to use during their proceedings.  The most obvious, and recent example might be tha case of the TSG 6 where hours of CCTV were not disclosed to the Defence, CCTV evidence which ultimately helped clear those officers of any wrongdoing.

Their Judgeships feel so strongly about it they have issued a Judicial protocol explicitly for Unused Material.

“Disclosure remains one of the most important – as well as one of the most misunderstood and abused – of the procedures relating to criminal trials. Lord Justice Gross’ review has re-emphasised the need for all those involved to understand the statutory requirements and to undertake their roles with rigour, in a timely manner.”

Even the Attorney General’s Guidelines bangs on about it “The amendments in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 abolished the concept of “primary” and “secondary” disclosure, and introduced an amalgamated test for disclosure of material that “might reasonably be considered capable of undermining the prosecution case or assisting the case for accused“.”.

You can’t just ignore evidence you don’t like.

So what the hell is going on?  I have heard way too many instances in the past year or so where Professional Standards Officers stand accused of playing fast and loose with the requirements of Disclosure and Unused Material.  Why?

I have, occasionally, been described as an Organisational Terrorist (thank you for that SIB), god knows why, maybe it’s to do with the number of times I challenge the establishment and try to tease the truth out.  Now, I’m more in danger of being described as a Conspiracy Theorist.

It can be no coincidence surely that in the last decade or so, the number of occasions where we have heard about alleged abuse of process by Professional Standards offices has increased alarmingly?

Is this mass incompetence?

Is this a positive act to try and reduce the number of serving police officers cheaply?

Is this a vendetta against certain officers.

Is it lack of appropriate training (although I’d be horrified if it was)?

Have ACPO (or whatever they’re called today) had a National Meeting and decided upon a protocol to keep the plebs in their place?

Whatever the answer is, I find it absolutely frightening that this is not just one Force doing things somewhat differently to the others.  This is a Method.

I’m not going to rake them all up again, but in the last year or so we have heard several instances whereby Professional Standards appear to be operating to a different set of rules to everybody else, and if you read The Crocodile Court you’ll be familiar with one more, and the terrible consequences of incompetence.

I’m absolutely certain that if asked we could all name one, if not two or more, cases of DPS/PSD abusing the system and bullying the officer into submission, whatever the reason for that behaviour might be.

So what exactly HAS happened to Professional Standards?

Why has it happened?

Is it just in London or does it happen elsewhere (I know the answer to that one).

Any examples gratefully received.

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

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

I Hear The Sound Of Distant Shredders

With apologies to the song of a similar name.

There can’t be a single person in the land that has not heard the monumental news that the Met will be investigated over (I think) 14 allegations relating to the alleged covering up of Child Abuse enquiries in the 70s. In particular, much has been made of allegations relating to Cyril Smith.

As an officer in London in the 70s I welcome such an investigation, but I’m far from confident about what the outcome will be.

On a personal level my conscience is clear.  I don’t remember having any involvement with any Child Abuse allegations whatsoever, not even as the initial Reporting Officer. My corporate conscience is far less clear though.

Am I aware of any such enquiries being binned?  Most definitely NO.

Could such enquiries get binned?

Almost certainly.

I have read allegations that officers were threatened with the Official Secrets Act and at least one allegation that an Investigating Officer was threatened by a Special Branch officer with a firearm.  Allegations like those fill me with dread and shame.  I have never heard the like of that before, but as for the general principle of binning certain enquiries, that DID happen.

It didn’t take very long before the edict was watered down but the end result was the same. Instead of being told to desist and stop all operations and enquiries the instruction quickly morphed into “if you want to conduct an operation against ‘cottagers’ etc you must display notices at the venues and inform the local press”. Guess what happened? Nobody was caught and other areas experienced an increase in complaints from the public as the problem was merely displaced.  I am in no doubt whatsoever as to the reason for this ban – solely to do with WHO WE MIGHT CATCH, nothing else at all.

If any of you are members of a certain group on Facebook you can see examples of this happening all over the Met, and for basically the same reasons.

I have already seen one well-established tweeter comment this morning that if he were told to halt an enquiry he most definitely would not follow that instruction.  I can’t argue with that because it’s absolutely the right approach, but London in the 70s was a much different place. The Police Force of the 70s was vastly different to the Police Service of 2015.  As a Constable with maybe 5 years service, to be told by a faceless boss from Scotland Yard to discontinue an operation, that’s exactly what happened. None of us liked it, it’s just how it was, and I suppose you never really understand unless you lived through it. Much like the corruption of the 60s, I’ve only ever heard the anecdotes of that, and they make me shiver.

So, for all those reasons I welcome this investigation, but I fear, like many others, it is destined never to achieve its full potential.  Many times the officers on the Front Line never knew the names of those at NSY issuing their edicts, just informed by local management that Scotland Yard has blocked it.

40 something years later I doubt there’s any paper records left. If they didn’t disappear without trace in the 70s, they may well have been disposed of by now under the Met’s own Retention Policy.  Back-Record Conversion onto computer would be highly unlikely.

If there is anything left, I suspect that grinding sort of noise that I can hear may well be the hopper-fed cross-cut shredders being fired up, and ready for action.

Cynical? Me? Surely Not?

I must apologise for the language but I really have just about enough of this Government’s Total Bollocks. It’s Bullshit in my humble opinion designed to cover up the most monumental incompetence within government departments and make us, the public, suffer.  Austerity? Begone!! I should think Gideon and Call Me Dave fell about pissing themselves when the bankers gifted them that one. Manna from Heaven, just the vehicle they needed, a right Win Double, Dave gets to push through his hatred, sorry, Reform, of the Police, and others, and Gideon gets to soften the blows of some of the more monumental up-cocks of any government in modern history.

A while ago I wrote a series of posts for another blog on the subject of Government Wastage. What I found out staggered me.

I’ll try and bring you the highlights, you do the maths!!

I started off with

NHS Connecting For Health

An initiative by the Department of Health in England to move the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards a single, centrally-mandated electronic care record.  Eventually things came to a head in 2011.The project to “modernise” the NHS computer systems, replacing them all with a single system that would enable any doctor to access any patient’s records stalled.  After a decade, and nearly £12 billion spent, the project was abandoned.  £12 billion would pay the salaries of 60,000 nurses (that’s SIXTY THOUSAND, not a typo) for 10 YEARS.

Then I progressed onto

A Little Bit More Government Wastage, No-One Will Notice

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

These may not float your boat, but they’re a pet hate of mine.  Not Aircraft Carriers per se, we need those, it’s what the government has done with them that winds me up.  Once again I don’t blame any particular colour of political party, once again they all seem to be tarred with the same brush, but I do think Dave had a hand in it.

Government routinely makes an appalling mess of things. Some years ago a single edition of The Daily Telegraph reported that a nuclear submarine suffered £5 million of damage after crashing into rocks because trainee commanders covered vital charts with tracing paper; that a government efficiency drive in the Department for Transport to save £112 million was likely to cost £120 million while sending messages to employees in German and denying them annual leave to which they were entitled; that hundreds of thousands of immigrants were excluded from official statistics by a counting system which was so unreliable that it was not possible to know the true population of Britain; and that more than 8,000 patients had died in dirty hospitals after contracting superbugs. And that was just one day’s headlines.

Defence, whose dreadful procurement record – including boots that melt in hot weather, helicopters that won’t fly in the rain, radios that don’t fit into battle tanks, naval frigates with no weapons, aircraft carriers with no fighter jets, and military transport aircraft that can’t fly into war zones – amply justifies Ernest Fitzgerald’s maxim that “there are only two phases of a weapons programme: ‘Too early to tell’ and ‘too late to stop’

It couldn’t get any worse, could it?

Well it could actually.

£500m jump jets may melt the decks of aircraft carriers: Latest MoD plan shambles

NEW Harrier-style jump jets set to fly from Navy aircraft carriers could melt their decks, US trials show.

I will let the then Shadow Defence minister Kevan Jones have the last word

“Only this Government could melt aircraft carriers.”

Just A Quickie Then She Said

This addressed the issue of Chinook Helicopters.

In 1995 it was decided that the country needed to buy 8 Chinook Mk3s in 1995 for £259million but they have been kept in storage since they were delivered in 2001.

They were ordered as dedicated special forces helicopters

It has always said the helicopters have not been able to be passed as fit for use because officials negotiating the deal to buy them did not ask for the access code for the software used to fly them and Boeing refused to hand the code over once the mistake was noticed.

But the Times reports the MoD never asked for the code because, under pressure from the Treasury, it told Boeing it planned to install its own software, thinking it could do so more cheaply.”

Now that does sound like the sort of thing a cheapskate arrogant government might say don’t you think?  Another example of The Treasury interfering in front-line issues. Sadly though the software didn’t work (quelle surprise) and the 8 Chinooks are no longer hi-tech fighting machines, but are now good old transport aircraft.

A village somewhere must be missing an idiot.  Didn’t ask for the software access codes?  Can anyone really be that daft?

It’s an old story and that’s why I’ve kept it brief, but it’s another £300-500 million pounds worth of government wastage to add on.

Then;

Reform and Wastage, Together, And It’s Happening NOW

Universal Credit.

Emperor Dave told us that he was reforming the benefits system.  He was going to save the country a small fortune.  His grand ideas included linking benefits to wages instead of inflation, a cap on Housing Benefit, adjusting regional benefits to the cost of living and apparently no-one under the age of 25 needs Housing Benefit anyway.  All in all he’s looking to save £10 Billion from the Welfare Budget.

It has become apparent that this innovative, flagship project has been hit by an IT glitch, somewhat reminiscent of the NHS farce.

The Independent reports that the scheme has been placed on a Treasury list of projects in crisis.  That sounds quite bad to me.

Universal credit has a development budget of £2 Billion. It is supposed to be a paperless on-line IT system for claimants that would bridge the DWP’s data with the Treasury.  However, the project is already suffering a £100 Million overrun. There are also concerns that a further £300 Million is being hidden by rising costs reallocated to child support payments.

A reorganisation of the complex IT system, following the departure this month of key senior civil servants in charge of universal credit, could mean an overrun of £500 Million by next spring.

There you are, we’ve just saved the Met’s Budget again.

Then I moved on to

Not Very (HMS) Astute – Just a little bit more Government Wastage

A confidential Ministry of Defence memo says that corrosion on the UK’s new fleet of hunter-killer submarines was caused by cost-cutting and warns that quality controls have been ignored, the Guardian can reveal.

Written by a senior analyst at the MoD, the memo says the corrosion is a “cause for major concern”, and that the first three Astute class boats are likely to experience “severe problems” in the future.

The £9.75bn fleet was commissioned 15 years ago to become a cornerstone of the UK’s naval attack capability, but a range of design and construction flaws have emerged.

The boat has yet to start formal service, Astute – four years overdue and £2bn over budget – has been surrounded by controversy since it was first commissioned 15 years ago.  Is this really acceptable?  Do we have to live with such apparent incompetence?  What would be the outcome if we behaved as incompetently as that?

Submarines that leak, whatever next?

We Told You About This Months Ago – More Govt Wastage, £74 Million

A government U-turn over fighter jets for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers cost taxpayers £74m, says the National Audit Office. The decision to scrap an order for jump jets, which was later reversed, had been based on “immature data and flawed assumptions”, it says in a report. Labour says the report “lays bare this government’s incompetence”. But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says the U-turn will save money in the long run and is backed by the NAO. “Not only did it save £1.2bn; it also means that by 2018, we will have fifth-generation stealth jets flying off the new Queen Elizabeth Class carrier,” says Mr Hammond.

My last was this one

Government Wastage Revisited

Firstly our old friend Iain Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions.  It seems that they are quite likely to have to scrap their entire IT system for Universal Credit and start again from scratch.

£300 Million wasted. #Austerity? Not in Whitehall apparently.

A review by Universal Credit director general Howard Shiplee will apparently recommend two options for the future of the IT developed so far, which go even further than previous reports have suggested.

Option one would mean scrapping all the work done so far, thereby admitting it is not fit for purpose, and bringing most of the development of new IT systems in-house under the control of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Option two would involve continuing to use some of the existing IT to support the current Pathfinder pilot projects, but developing new systems for the full roll-out – effectively delaying any decision to throw away all the work completed so far.

Option 1? Option 2?  Both of them seem to involve scrapping everything at some point, whatever.  The Cabinet Office, which controls GDS, is understood to favour the first option, while the DWP prefers to continue with the current IT for as long as possible. Two branches of the same government with opposing views, where have I heard that before?

The final decision will probably be made later this month by the Ministerial Oversight Group for the troubled welfare reform programme, led by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,  Iain Duncan Smith.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a highly critical report on Universal Credit in September that £303m had been spent so far on IT. Of that amount, the DWP has already admitted to writing off £34m of IT work, although that figure is likely to end up even higher whatever happens.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Rachel Reeves wrote to the Prime Minister last week, urging him to “start taking responsibility for this fiasco”. She added: “David Cameron has serious questions to answer about how he has allowed things to get to this stage and how his complacent, incompetent and out-of-touch government has wasted scandalous amounts of money on a half-baked plan IT now can’t deliver.”

Don’t sit on the fence Rachel, what do you really mean?

But if all of the IT were to be scrapped, the NAO report suggests that the final figure for the write-off would be in excess of £300m.

Most of that money has been spent with the four key IT suppliers for the project – HP, IBM, Accenture and BT.

The other piece of disastrous news that caught my eye this week was in relation to my old favourite – Aircraft Carriers.

The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.

In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.

£6.2 BILLION. What on earth are they doing? How many hospitals, schools, police officers etc etc could be funded by just the difference in cost between that and the original. Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn

The shadow defence secretary, Labour’s Vernon Coaker, said: “This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron.  It’s that word fiasco again (see above).

This government seem to be very good at cut cut cut in just about every public sector. We must all pull together, this is a national crisis, a time of severe austerity, and all of these cuts have to be in place before 2015 because we know we don’t stand a snowball’s chance of being re-elected.

Whilst, at the the very same time, they are increasing their salaries, increasing their pensions, and their expenses have almost returned to the excesses of the bad old days.  Only a few days ago was there news about how they were claiming for gas and electricity in their second homes, and as one of my Twitter colleagues put it “Why do they need to do that, because if they’re heating their second home they’re not heating their main home, or cooking etc?”

So nothing has really changed since we spoke last. We are most definitely NOT All In It Together and the ConDem government that NOBODY voted for has shown just how arrogant and uncaring they can be.

Trouble is, it’s left me the dilemma, Who the hell do I vote for in 2015?

Answers on a Postcard please, assuming that Royal Mail still exists when you read this.

Since my last, our friends in the media have come to our aid and published this

Hideous £5bn government waste: including £6m on useless earplugs

Government departments have apparently poured £5.1 billion down the drain as the result of mistakes, write-offs and compensation.

The Department of Health, for example, was said to have wasted £761 million – including £49 million to exchange Tamiflu vaccines which were ordered just in case there was an avian flu epidemic, and went out of date

That was just part of the £255 million worth of vaccines that went out of date and had to be thrown away.

Likewise the Department of Health spent £28.5 million to make staff redundant during the reorganisation of the NHS.  Yes they have to pay redundancy, and they are spending money to save money, but £28.5 million? Really?

Other payments are hard to put down to anything other than incompetence – including £1.2 million lost to the Department for Education because a school made a payment to the wrong account.  WTF??

£11 million lost by the Department for Work and Pension because it overpaid work programme providers.

£1.74 million spent by the Home Office on scheduled flights that it later cancelled.  This is not the biggest up-cock but it’s up there amongst my favourites as it involves our dear and sanctimonious friend Cruella and her Department.  Pots and Kettles dear.

The Ministry of Defence wasted  £4 million on the early withdrawal of the Sea King helicopters, and £7.2 million on a mobile mine detection system that didn’t work.

Boots and Aircraft Carriers that can melt, submarines that leak, Flights never taken or cancelled, Mine Hunting System that plain doesn’t work, Withdrawal of the Sea Kings too soon, Shall We, Shan’t We? Fighter Planes, Let’s just pay this money into the wrong account, the list goes on.  If you were a Finance Manager and this on your CV what would the likely outcome be?

So yes, I am cynical, whilst I do believe #Austerity exists, I also believe that it’s a highly convenient hook for this government to hang its hat on and slaughter all those public services in its sights, and we, the Public, don’t know any better, kept in the dark and fed Bullshit – The Mushroom Syndrome.

#CutsHaveConsequences, but not, it seems, for the criminally incompetent Bar Stewards that re wasting BILLIONS of our Taxpayer pounds, spending it like it’s their own, but it’s not, it’s ours.

Tot up the figures above (loosely OK) and tell me how many Cops, Servicemen, Nurses, Doctors etc etc could be retained even if only for a few years more.

Then Call Me Dave and his cohorts can try and convince me where I’ve gone wrong and that it truly is necessary and NOT a Vendetta.