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.

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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.

Buffoonery Without Equal

According to MI5’s website the Threat Level for International Terrorism today is SEVERE, which is only one less than the maximum of CRITICAL.

Since March 2010 this unelected coalition, led by a man intent on become the least popular Prime Minister ever, has reduced the strength of the Police Forces of England and Wales by almost 17,000 officers, not counting PCSOs and Specials, whose numbers are also being slashed.  The government was hoping to make up the slack by recruiting more Specials, but the evidence doesn’t seem to support that happening.

The Armed Forces fare no better;

If I may quote from the September 2014 UK Armed Forces Monthly Personnel Report

The full time trained strength of the UK Armed Forces was 147,660 at 1 September 2014, down from 148,160 at 1 August 2014 and down from 150,890 at 1 April 2014. This trend is likely to continue due to the SDSR’s decision to reduce the size of the Regular Armed Forces by around 17,000 posts (around 5,000 each from the RN/RM and RAF and approximately 7,000 from the Army). A further reduction of 12,000 to the Army was subsequently announced as a result of the 3ME, bringing the total reduction of 19,000 to the Army.

The requirement for full time trained UK Armed Forces was 154,890 at 1 September 2014, down from 155,460 at 1 August 2014 and down from 159,640 at 1 April 2014. This is likely to continue to decrease as the Services move towards the targets identified in the SDSR and 3ME exercises (RN/RM 29,000 Army, 82,000 and RAF, 31,500) in 2020.

The deficit for the UK Armed Forces trained strength was 7,230 (4.7 per cent of the requirement) at 1 September 2014, compared to a deficit of 8,750 (5.5 per cent of the requirement for trained UK Armed Forces) at 1 April 2014 and a deficit of 2,230 (1.4 per cent of the requirement for trained UK Armed Forces) at 1 April 2013.

At 1 September 2014, all three services the RN/RM, Army and RAF were in deficit (50, 5120 and
2,070 respectively).”
Closer scrutiny of that document shows that the strength of the UK Armed Forces has been below the Required Level since at least 2008.
So the Threat Level is increasing.  We have allegedly 100s of disaffected Jihadis making their way to Syria and elsewhere to fight for a cause.
An unprecedented number of arrests are being made for Terrorism-related offences, Border Controls are virtually non-existent.  It is absolutely impossible for the Police and Security Services to maintain surveillance on even the most serious of suspects for any length of time, resource-sapping activity that one.
So what are our illustrious government doing about it?
I’m not quite sure is the answer.  I’m reasonably confident that SB, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will be doing absolutely everything within their remits and abilities to keep us safe, but I’m left seriously questioning the sanity of a Prime Minister, Defence Secretary and Home Secretary that can sanction wholesale slaughter of our trained Defenders in such times.  Maybe they’re hoping to just ‘wing it’ till after next May and that any disasters will be on someone else’s watch?
I do hope Alexander the Meercat is standing for election next year, he must be able to do a better job than this crowd.

 

Call Me Dave’s Five Best Promises

Can we get by with only 5? was my biggest concern.

  • In 2011, in a speech to NHS staff in London, the Prime Minister admitted there were areas of the reforms that needed to change.

He said: “Hospital doctors and nurses – not just GPs – would now be involved in commissioning, clinical senates would bring together healthcare professionals to oversee the integration of care over wide areas and the health regulator Monitor would have a duty to promote integration.”

Acknowledging widespread concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill, Mr Cameron promised there would be no “selling off” of the NHS, that waiting times would be kept under control and that competition would only be used as a means to improving services.  My favourite bit was  “I know other governments would announce reforms, and just plough on regardless of the concerns people had for fear of appearing indecisive or worrying about admitting something could be improved…..But this is too important to get wrong”

And at the 2012 Conservative Party Conference we got “Some people said the NHS wasn’t safe in our hands. Well – we knew otherwise. “

Speechless, and that’s only #1.

  • In 2012 Mr Camoron again made us a promise, that Coastguard Stations would remain open until the new structure came into operation in 2015.

In reality Coastguard Station closures commenced later in 2012

This letter would appear to prove that he cannot keep his promises;

camoron

  • In 2010, the Ministry of Defence was ordered to cut £4.7billion – or 8 per cent – from its budget.

But speaking at the time, Mr Cameron promised ‘year on year real-terms growth in the defence budget in the years beyond 2015’. In 2013 Downing Street was forced to admit spending will not rise until after 2016.  Defence Secretary Philip Hammond insisted the promise was only that equipment spending would rise by one per cent a year, but other areas would be cut.  This comes on the back of his 2007 promise:- In the wake of Labour defence cuts, a promise to increase the size of the army.  The reality of that promise is that no battalions were restored to the Army. In fact, military commanders estimate that up to eight of the existing 36 battalions could be lost as the Army shrinks to 84,000 by 2020 – its smallest size since Victorian times – relying on an enlarged reserve force.

So that’s another broken promise then.

  • In  2010  a coalition agreement promised to: “Bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.”

This proposal was subsequently watered down by Camoron last year, apparently to avoid “vexatious” attempts to remove sitting MPs.   It has now emerged that the legislation has been dropped altogether and will not appear in this year’s Queen’s speech, the last opportunity for it to do so this parliament.  Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who has long championed the proposals, said that voters would feel deceived by the government.

And finally;

  • In 2010 (before the General Election surprisingly) Camoron said “Any Cabinet minister, if we win the election, who comes to me and says ‘here are my plans and they involve front line reductions’ will be sent back to their department to go away and think again.”  Theresa May was insisting that “lower budgets do not mean lower numbers of police officers”.

The breathtaking disingenuousness of these soundbites was exposed when Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary published the first authorised estimate of how the government’s 20% cut in police funding, announced in October’s spending review, would affect police numbers – and in particular how it would affect the front line.

The 16,200 police officers that will be cut between 2010 and 2015 entirely undoes Labour’s investment between 2000 and 2010, taking police numbers back to 1997 levels.

These figures do not take into account my blog in January this year where I revealed that 42%  of the 43 Forces in England and Wales are already reporting that their establishment is currently LOWER than their planned March 2015 Target.

So there you have it, 5 pretty major broken promises in my humble opinion.  The tragedy of it all is that I could have kept going beyond 5.

Will I be voting Tory in 2015? Have a guess.

MPs raise fears over cuts to Army

No Shit Sherlock.

Who do they think we are?  Do they think we’re really stupid? Don’t answer that, of course they do.

Plans to cut soldiers could leave the Army “short of personnel” and unable to meet future national security needs, a report by MPs has warned.

The Commons Defence Select Committee has also expressed its concern over the “the lack of consultation over the Army 2020 plan.”   That’s not an unfamiliar story either.

Under the Future Army 202 plan personnel numbers will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2018, with a doubling of reservist numbers. (Still sounding familiar).  The number of part-time soldiers, or reservists, is to be doubled from 15,000 to 30,000, but the Army is still a long way off from meeting its targets and the MPs’ report says there is scepticism that it will be able to recruit the numbers it needs.

Overall, the report echoes a familiar theme: the cuts to the armed forces have been driven by the need to save money, rather than any strategic vision of Britain’s place in the world.

So here we have it, a government hell-bent on doing whatever they think fit just to try and balance the books and make themselves look good, scoring a few points off the Opposition as they go.

Is that what we, the taxpayer, the voters, really want?

I, for one, want an Army (Navy/Air Force) that is fit for purpose.  I don’t want an Army that’s Second-Rate, poor relation to the rest of the world.

But it isn’t just the Armed Forces is it?  Police numbers cut by 16,000 so far, with more to come.  Coastguard Stations closing all around our coast. If you think you don’t need them then I assume you never go swimming in the sea on holiday, never go surfing, never take a Cross Channel Ferry. Why else would you not need them?

The NHS is in crisis with 145 Hospital Trusts forecasting that they will end the year in the red.

Some of the worst are;

Barts Health trust £50m

University Hospitals of Leicester trust £40m

University Hospital of North Staffordshire trust £28m

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals trust £24m

Mid Essex Hospital Services trust £20m

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals trust £20m

North West London Hospitals trust £20m

South London Healthcare trust (dissolved) £20m

East Sussex Healthcare trust £19m

Croydon Health Services trust £18m

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust £17m

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust (West Midlands) £17m

United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust £17m

Plymouth Hospitals trust £13m

North Cumbria University Hospitals trust £12m

Wye Valley trust £11m

Is yours there?

And then we have the banks.

RBS have recently announced losses of £8.2 Billion this financial year, with a staggering total of £46 BILLION lost over the last 6 years.  Are the bosses in prison, on bail awaiting trial, queuing up at the dole office, P40 in hand? NO they are not.  Instead they are paying themselves slightly smaller bonuses.

RBS set aside £576m for staff bonuses in 2013, of which £237m went to investment bankers; the bonus pot is down 15% on the previous year.

The bonuses for RBS alone would completely wipe out the £500 million savings that the Met (the largest Force in England & Wales) are having to make.  Pick on a few more banks, confiscate their bonuses (unless they actually deserve them of course) and UK Policing would start to look a bit more viable again.

I don’t have a degree in Advanced International Economics, but Vince Cable said

“But British taxpayers are still paying for the terrible mistakes of the past and I see no sign yet of a turnaround in the continuing decline of net lending to small business.

The public will simply not understand why big bonuses and large salaries continue to be paid out by a loss-making public enterprise, still underperforming in many areas.” and he’s quite right, I don’t bloody understand it.

If savings really have to be made then they have to be made, but I have seen some really reckless, foolhardy decisions over the last year or so, and it really winds me up to see the bankers seemingly immune to it all when it was them, globally, wot started this whole mess.

May I refer you back to one of my blogs from January?

Policing In Austerity Two And A Half Years On

42% (YES nearly HALF, not a trypo) of the 43 Forces in England and Wales are already reporting that their establishment is currently LOWER than their planned March 2015 Target.  That’s not about Austerity, it’s gone beyond that. What are ACPO doing about that statistic?  Are ACPO driving that statistic? Or is it Cruella, the driving force.

One thing is for certain, it’s not over yet. We have yet to see the end game. What will UK Policing look like in 2015? No dogs, no horses, a few water cannons to make up for pitifully low manpower levels?.  Who knows, but I truly fear that it will get worse before it gets better.

ConDem – The Government That Just Keeps Giving (And Taking)

In the week when MPs get an 11% pay rise and a brand spanking new pension scheme, (have I mentioned those before?) just so long as they stop claiming for tea and biscuits for the office, we get the disastrous (some may say criminally so) waste of millions/billions of pounds by Government.

I’ve mentioned before the odious Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions and their ridiculous Universal Credit Scheme.  By anybody’s best estimate it is due to WASTE at least £34,000,000 and possibly anything up to £130,000,000 because the IT system won’t work. Back to the Drawing Board there then.

Phillip Hammond’s Ministry of Defence is set to waste £7.4 million because he tried to privatise (that P word again) their procurement system and all but one of the bidders withdrew. I wonder why that could be? Maybe there’s not so much profit in procurement as the private side thought.

This is on top of my old friend “Aircraft Carriers” that I’ve ranted about before.

The Government changed Labour’s plans to buy jump jets. But after delays and more costs emerged, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced a U-turn costing at least £74million, the National Audit Office has revealed.

Margaret Hodge said: “We were supposed to get two aircraft carriers, available from 2016 and 2018, at a cost of £3.65billion. We are now on course to spend £5.5billion and have no aircraft carrier capability for nearly a decade.

“Officials also made incredibly basic errors such as forgetting to include the costs of VAT and inflation.” Now that one’s an absolute classic. I do hope someone got sacked for that.

Hammond’s department was also responsible for a trifling £40,000 bill over the last two years for ringing the Speaking Clock. Speechless.

And then today we get the news that a totally disgraceful £55 BILLION is being wasted through Fraud and Unclaimed Taxes according to the Public Accounts Committee who described this figure as “worryingly high“. The Public Accounts Committee obviously employ masters of understatement amongst their staff.

Total government accounts drawn up by the Treasury show that in 2011-12 some £13.2 billion had to be written off due to fraud and error. Margaret Hodge (again) said: “Taxpayer losses due to fraud and error are worryingly high. It is staggering that, in one year, the public sector was defrauded of over £20 billion and the tax gap rose to £35 billion.”

But it’s OK, we are in times of Austerity. Your pay has been frozen, your pension eroded, but HMG can continue to waster staggering amounts of money and still qualify for an 11% pay rise. When’s the next election? Might just stand, seems like a good number to me.

But one serious question. What could you do with all that money if you added it up and used it for fixing the Police, NHS, Armed Forces. Someone, somewhere wouldn’t be losing their job, folks could have the right kit, we might have a usable aircraft carrier somewhere, hospital waiting times reduced, who knows what you could do with it all. A Bean Counter somewhere could tell us I’m sure.

Broken Britain, by David Camoron

People of Britain, (please note that I did not say Great Britain, because it’s long since stopped being Great), I have to report to you that Britain is Broken.

The Police Service is broken. Broken by Winsor 1 and 2, broken by Theresa May, my right hand man, broken by our new Police and Crime Commissioners with their 200 performance targets. Broken by the changes to their pensions, pay scales, Compulsory Severance, they are broken.  They spend all their working lives trying to lock people up, well, we just had to break that mould, can’t be having folk locked up now can we? In fact, they are so broken that we’ve had to ask our partners, G4$, $erco and the like, to step in and rescue them and bring huge chunks of them into profit.  The Police have got the hump with me anyway, and all because I described them as ‘Relatively Honest’.  Don’t they realise that was in comparison with Ghaddafi’s Police, why are they even bothered?

The Armed Forces are broken. The combined strength of the Armed Forces is now at its lowest level since World War II when we fought that other despot, Mr Hitler.  We’re going to lose some more in the near future, but fear not, because I have a cunning plan.  We’ll increase the numbers of the Territorial Army and hopefully no-one will notice the difference.  If that doesn’t work we’ll get Captain Mainwaring and his men out of retirement to bolster the numbers and protect our shores and assets.

The Fire Brigade is broken. Fire Engines have been sold off, Fire Stations are being closed. Privatisation/Outsourcing/Partnership is creeping in, Firefighters are going to have to work longer for less pension, so all is well and going to plan.

The National Health Service is broken. Waiting lists are on the rise again, we’re haemorrhaging  doctors and nurses, they don’t want to stay any more. Hospital budgets are buggered, waiting times in A&E are completely unacceptable. The Health Service is safe in our hands, but Broken.

Because the Hospitals are broken, that has broken the Ambulance Service, who can no longer deliver their patients to hospital in a timely manner and get back out there.  Instead they spend hours parked up on the A&E Ambulance ramp just waiting, before they can get back into service once again.  The upside of this though, is that they can claim compensation from the hospital for keeping them waiting, thus screwing the hospital’s budget just a little bit more.

The Coastguards are broken.  We’ve closed down nearly half the Coastguard Stations around the British coast, with nice new shiny Central Control Centres set up miles from the sea.  Coastguard numbers are down too, so we’re well on target to have smashed them anytime soon.  The Search and Rescue Service has been sold off to a foreign company, so no matter how efficient they are at finding folk, they’re working for profit and those profits will go abroad. That’s good right? I’d quite like to outsource the RNLI as well, but as that’s a charity it might take a bit more thinking about.

The Prison Service is broken.  We are now beginning to see prisons run by our partners G4$ and $erco etc. It will soon be a shadow of its former self, but at least it will be privately run.

The Probation Service is broken.  Once again our illustrious partners G4$ and $erco came riding to the rescue and took on parts of the Probation Service remit, and even though they’re facing ongoing fraud enquiries because they seemingly charged for services they did not provide, that’s OK, that nice Chris Grayling has said that it’s OK for them to bid for new contracts

Social Services are so broken that G4$ have had to take over the running of some Children’s Homes, and apply for Planning Permission etc under the name of a private individual.

The Legal System is broken.  We were going to award contracts to the lowest bidder, but Chris Grayling has U Turned on that.  We will however carry out the following

  • Legal aid fees will be cut by 17.5% across the board
  • Residency tests to be introduced for civil legal aid – only those who have lived in the UK for more than 12 months will be eligible
  • Cap on contracts for duty solicitor work at police stations
  • Income restrictions will be put in place – those with more than £3,000 per month after mortgage, tax and other “essential outgoings” will not be entitled to aid
  • 11,000 cases brought by prisoners will no longer be eligible
  • And on top of that you will no longer be eligible for Legal Aid to challenge any Government decision.  That’s fair, right?

The Penal System is broken along with Human Rights.  Too many people, mainly victims or people who might become victims,, bang on about the Human Rights of victims.  Don’t they know that criminals have Human Rights too?  We need LESS prisons, not more, and stop violating criminals’ rights by banging them up.  If I had my way I’d withdraw from the ECHR completely, nothing but aggravation.

Finally, our greatest success to date, and one of which I, personally, am immensely proud, the people of Britain are broken.  Their will has been drained and smashed.  They don’t know where to get help and advice any more and they certainly don’t have the means to challenge our wonderful reforms. they are smashed.

So, as you can see, Britain is comprehensively broken, and I broke it.  When I joined the scumbag party I made it my mission to become the most loathed British Prime Minister in modern times, and I think I have succeeded don’t you?  Even Maggie didn’t break anywhere near as much as I have succeeded in doing, but we couldn’t have achieved any of this without the help and support from our chums at PX, they really are the best Think Tankers ever.

Please remember this when you go to the polls in May 2015, but if for any reason, there happens to be a miserable turnout, that will still give us a mandate for further breaking, because we said so.