We’re Not Gonna Take It

A rare treat for you, a musical blog.

David Camoron, we’ve had enough, WE’RE not gonna take it any more, and if you don’t do something about it you may find the results at the ballot box next May.

I know you’ve been busy, I saw you on my telly box at Stonhenge the other day. Have you become a Druid? When you’re not busy being busy I invite you to take a look around you;

On Tuesday we had the announcement that PCSOs and Police Staff ACROSS THE COUNTRY had voted to take strike action.

In the not too distant past we have had lawyers on strike bringing chaos to the Courts, do you remember that?

Teachers have been striking.

Local Councils have been striking.

Fire Brigades across the country have been striking, and indeed (I believe) some of them have lost their jobs over it.

Health Service workers have been striking.

Probation Officers have been striking.

Prison Officers have been threatening strike action.

Public sector workers from courts, museums, driving test centres, Job Centres, airports and other facilities have all been striking.

Do you want to know why all these, normally loyal and law-abiding people have been striking? Well, I’ll tell you anyway.  It’s all to do with your Pay Restrictions, messing with people’s pensions and your dangerous privatisation plans.

If you add up all of those people either striking, threatening or contemplating strike action it would come to a very big number indeed.  What on earth would you do if they all chose to strike on the same day? Once you’d summoned COBRA or RATTLESNAKE or whatever it’s called you’d panic because you would then be told that there weren’t enough Police Officers left to deal with the problem.  Plan B, call in the Army. Ooips, can’t do that either, same reason, got rid of too many already.  Maybe the French could let you have some CRS Troops on Mutual Aid, after all, the Mayor of Calais is asking for British Police to go and sort out the carnage with illegal immigrants there.  Oh how I laughed at that one.

Police and Armed Forces aren’t allowed to go on strike, so you’re reasonably safe there. Although I am informed that we are the only country in the EU that does not give our Police Officers Employment Rights.

Maybe you could explain to us exactly why it is that you politicians are reluctantly accepting your generous pay and pension awards?  If the problem is that the law doesn’t a;;ow you to decline them, then maybe you’ve got enough time left in the government to change the law, to make it lawful. After all, you managed to do that with so many public sector pensions, why not your own? #JustAsking.

While you’re at it, in the week that another 5 years of Austerity has been announced, more cuts, 5 more years of no, or inconsequential, pay rises, how is that we have money to spare to drive a road tunnel underneath Stonehenge? Could that money not have been better spent elsewhere? #JustAsking

Does none of this bother you? Are you even aware of the carnage you’re causing? Silly question, you must be.

In 2010 we were fooled, many of us voted Tory but got lumbered with a toxic coalition that nobody had voted for.  Many of us will not make that mistake again, we won’t be fooled by your insincere rhetoric.  Maybe you don’t get it, but many of us have seen through what you’re doing. We may be small in number but your own actions and those of your ridiculous collection of ministers is doing our work for us. You are spreading the word yourselves. More and more people are realising what you’re doing.

WE Won’t Get Fooled Again

 

RIP Keef & The Ox

Band On The Run

Nothing whatsoever to do with a rather mediocre album of the same name.

More to do with serving prisoners on the run.

A recent spate of prisoners deciding not to return to their prisons after weekends out in the community inspired me to treat HM Prison Service to one of my #FOI requests.

I was curious to find out just how many serving prisoners are actually Unlawfully At Large.

Their response was to refuse my request, on the grounds that it would cost more than £600 to answer it.

Once I got over the initial shock and disappointment I continued reading and discovered that whilst they couldn’t actually give me an up-to-date figure they had sent me lots of historical information up to and  including 2013, so almost as good, and in far more depth than I had originally requested.

I’m certainly not an expert on the Prison Service but I know someone who is, so if I make any fundamental errors I’m sure that person will steer me in the right direction.

Very helpfully they have included separate information for Public and Private prisons enabling an old cynic like me to make certain comparisons.  How will the Private Sector compare?

The first little gem was ‘Mandatory Drug Tests’ (see, I told you they’d given more info than I asked for).  Most years the percentage failing these tests was approx 1-2% higher in the Private Prisons, mot an astounding difference.  In 2012-13 the percentage was 6.7% in Public Sector prisons and 8.9% in the Private Sector yielding a service total of 7.0%, so not really any great difference, but in the bad old days, well.

In 1998/99 the failure rate was 17.4% in the public sector and 27.6% in the private sector with a Service Total of 18.3%  So well done to the Prison Service and their Contracted Out partners (who knew there were contracted out prisons in 1998?).  Massive reductions achieved by both sectors which seems to have been relatively constant for a number of years now.

The prison population; has risen from 49,570 (Public) and 2,043 (Private) in 95/96 to 73,247 (Public) and 12,483 (Private) or from 51,613 to 85,895 in total since 95/96.  That seems like quite a lot to me.

Overcrowding – now that’s a subject that frequently makes the news.  The percentage of prisoners regarded as being in ‘overcrowded accommodation’ has unsurprisingly risen steadily since 1998/99. The number of overcrowded prisoners in the Public Sector has risen from 19.4% to 21.8% in 2012/13 and just fluctuated a little bit in the years between.  In the Private Sector overcrowding has risen from 27.9% to 29.3%. Quite a bit different to State Prisons, does this tell us anything??

Prisoners ‘Doubled Up’ in a cell – I must confess I thought that was the norm, but the figures show that in 95/96 16.7% of prisoners in public prisons and 11.3% in the private sector were ‘Doubled Up’.  By 2012/13 this had changed to 21.3% (Public) and 28.2% (Private), quite a change over the years, public sector coming down and private sector going up.  Does this tell us anything?

Prison Escort Escapes – these were really quite high in 95/96 with 35 (Public and 1 (Private) but by 2010/11 these figures had come down to between 0 and 2, a really good improvement, well done.

Escapes From Prison – these are the figures that everybody dreads and it’s fair to say tha the public sector did not do very well in the past, with 52,33,23, 28 and 30 respectively in the years 95/96 – 99/2000, set against the Private Sector’s 0-4 over the same period. Since 2008 both sectors have been reporting Prison Escapes between 0-2 per year.  Much, much better.

The good news is that only 5 Category A escapes have been reported between 95 and 2013.

The Really bad news for the Public Sector seems to be with Absconders – between 19995 and 1999 the Public Sector saw approx. 1,000 Absconders per year against a total of 4 in the Private Sector.  This has sort of settled at 175-250 in the Public Sector and 1 in the Private Sector.  Does this tell us anything?

The Private Sector seems to have NO Absconders still at large (not that they lost many) but the Public Sector cannot claim the same, most years seeing double figures of Absconders who successfully remain at large.

Apart from an absolutely awful year in 1995/96 when the Private Sector only had 18% of its inmates released on Temporary Licence actually come back, both sectors have reported a minimum of 94% since then, well done both.

I’m not quite sure what the difference is but the last piece of bad news for the Public Sector is Temporary Release Failures To Return. Anyone tell me the difference between this and the previous category?  Anyway the Private Sector have consistently performed well in this area, reducing a peak of 10 in 1995/96 gradually down to 2 in 2012/13.  The Public Sector, however, has figures that have increased from 356 in 1995/96 to 429 in 2012/13, although, to be fair, they did go down to 248 in 2007/08, before creeping back up again.  Does this tell us anything?

So, there we have it, much more information than I expected to receive and absolutely not the results I expected to see.  The Private Sector seems to out-perform the Public in certain areas, but by no means all.

The Crucifixion Cycle (Revisited)

Apologies, I first posted this on another site about 6 months ago, but with the fallout from #Plebgate and the really dodgy and unfortunately timed ‘leaking’ of the Operation Tiberius report (a 2002 report that has no business being in the hands of the media, hopefully an investigation into its leaking will follow)  it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit it. If you’ve read it before, there’s nothing new. If you haven’t read it before you might find it of some interest.

And so it has started.

In truth it probably started a year or two ago, but various distractions have kept our blinkers in place.

The Crucifixion Cycle

Stage 1

Slash Resources

Government slashes the resources of the public body in question.  Be it NHS, Armed Forces, Police, Education, Coastguard, Fire Service, Probation…..the list just goes on and on.  They have all had their resources slashed to the bone (and possibly deeper) by this failing coalition government in the name of Austerity. Be under NO illusions, more cuts are coming, Gideon says so.

Stage 2

Highlight The Failings

Next Step is to commission a report highlighting the failings of said public body. Policy Exchange (other Think Tanks are widely available) are normally good at issuing reports that seem to support government’s plan of action.

Stage 3

Get the Press to Crucify the Public Body for Their Failings

Certain sectors of the British Press seem only too willing to publish articles, splashed across their front pages, or 1st item on the 10 o’clock news etc, crucifying the public body for their failings. They never seem to mention slashed resources at this stage, just how serious and awful the failings have been, whip up some public backlash, and launch a “heads should roll” theme to move it forward.

Police and NHS are currently suffering at the hands of Stage 3.  Whose turn next?

Stage 4

Privatisation.

These public bodies can’t be trusted to organise a beer-drinking event in a brewery.  Just look at the headlines at Stage 3. I know how to sort this out, we’ll privatise them.  We’ve got some Lords with interests in suitable private companies, let’s give them a shot at sorting it all out, perfect solution.

Am I wrong?

Is this NOT how it happens?

Where are you on the Wheel of Fortune?

Have you been crucified yet?

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.

What Does Your Future Hold?

I do hope you don’t mind Rachel but I’m revisiting one of your quotes and running with it.

Back in February this year Rachel Rogers (@DorsetRachel) a former candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset had this to say;

“The government is using police and crime commissioners to keep the impact of their budget cuts at arms length, thus putting the responsibility on the PCCs to raise money locally to pay for things that were previously paid for by central government.” and  “I would’ve been put in exactly the same position (had I won), and said throughout my police and crime commissioner campaign that the policing precept in Dorset would have to go up in order to compensate for the massive cuts being made by national government.”

The government have, as you well know,  cut the police spending budget by 20% meaning the loss of around 300 officers and 200 staff in Dorset.

Even the dubious Home Office figures show that the total number of Police Officers in Dorset has fallen from 1,486 in March 2010 to 1,301 in March 2013.

Across the country numbers have fallen from 146,912 in March 2010 to 132,608 in March 2013, loss of 14,304 officers (or a smidgeon under 10%) in 3 years, and it’s not over yet.

I can only agree with Rachel, the government is keeping the Police at arm’s length via the PCCs, so conveniently dreamt up by Policy Exchange.  10% and due to rise, the sound of budgets being slashed abounds. Only an idiot would actually agree that the Police can continue to function with less resources. I’m all in favour of efficiency drives but they can only improves things by so much. 10%? I seriously doubt it.

This, and other things that have happened recently, have got me thinking.  Whether or not we move towards a National Police Service, and opinion is divided on that, we certainly seem to be moving towards Fire Brigade Policing.  By that I mean rushing out to deal with the emergencies and less emphasis on routine patrolling. Police Officers are getting busier, measuring crime figures is only one measure of how busy they are. Anti Social Behaviour, Mental Illness (a subject in its own right), Public Order  etc etc all strain reduced resources. And how do you explain a government that is wholly responsible for slashing Police budgets by 20%, manpower by 10% already and then create an environment whereby Joe Public wants to take to the streets and demonstrate against Pay Freezes, Job Losses  and Pension Cuts. This almost guarantees that Police will fail and then we can all blame the Police, because that’s what this government, unlike any other before it,  has taught us to do.

PCSOs and Specials are taking up the slack to a degree but they are a finite resource, and in fact the total number of PCSOs nationally has reduced since March 2010 as well, whereas the total number of Specials has increased by over 3,000 nationally.

Put all this together and my vision of the future is a company such as G4S providing the patrolling function, fixed posts of low sensitivity, protection of insecure or vulnerable premises, reporting and recording of crimes etc. leaving sworn officers to investigate the crimes that have previously been recorded, arresting suspects, armed protection etc  and all other duties which require a sworn officer to carry them out.

So there you have it, RetiredAndAngry’s vision of the future shape of the Police Service. I do hope, just for once, that I’m wrong.

G4S, Brewery, Pissup

Well it doesn’t seem like they can.

If my interpretation of today’s news is correct HM Inspectors have absolutely slated G4S’ running of HMP Oakwood. It’s a nice, modern building,  not a Pentonville or a Brixton, but is still a shambles.

Attention-grabbing headlines include “It’s easier to get drugs than soap”, “Prisoners could not get a toilet roll”

On this evenings Regional News I even heard G4S’ running of the prison branded a disgrace!!

So the company that failed so spectacularly and publicly at the Olympic Games last year, and then found itself facing a criminal investigation for alleged fraud in a government contract has now seemingly failed again.

And apparently it’s still OK for them to bid for more, new government contracts cos Chris Grayling said it was OK.

It wasn’t so very long ago that this company was a firm favourite to benefit from some Police Service outsourcing. James P warned us all about that and look what happened to him, but what if he was right?

Does this company really have the appearance of a fit and proper company to be involved in any aspect of the Police/Judicial/Penal function? I don’t know the answer to that but I have my own opinion.  It’s just a shame that nobody who matters wants to hear it.

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.