Archive for August, 2023

Ownership, Responsibility, Accountability

Sunday, August 20th, 2023

There is an unwelcome culture now embedded in the English structure through which the State and its outsourcing satellites runs our public services. Or responds to unexpected emergencies and events. Late or never delivery, cover ups, buck passing and warnings ignored are no longer the exception but the rule.

This has to change because while in the past these things caused a short term storm, it passed and people forgot. Except for those whose lives had beenĀ  affected, often ruined. But now public attitudes have very much advanced through social media and platform sharing, to the point where their information is more up to date and accurate than the official line. Once they spot a problem they cannot be bought off with platitudes nor will they let go.

A properly researched list would be almost endless and way beyond the resources of this blog. But into most people’s minds spring Contaminated Blood, Bloody Sunday, Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, The Post Office Horizon scandal, Grenfell and the ongoing small boats. Current news dwells, quite rightly, on the outrageous Michaelson miscarriage of justice and the horrific Lucy Letby serial killings.

It is always the same. Warnings unheeded, the problem ignored or if revealed covered up. Then when it bursts into the open, nobody owns it, nobody is responsible, nobody goes, an inquiry comes to indecisive conclusions long after the event, when public consciousness has moved on.

Well that has to stop. Or else the people, in a convulsion of anger and despair will stop it. That would traumatic and the collateral damage vast.

Time is running short.

Three Small Points About Big Things

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

NHS Reports of using spare capacity in the private health sector to help deal with backlogs in the NHS make sense. In the short term this is the obvious route to improvement, as it does not require massive reorganisation of the NHS. To be effective it needs to be disciplined and working to a programme, rather than ad hoc here and there. The situation demands something like 70% of private sector capacity being used to treat NHS patients. The other positive in the headlines is talk of diagnostic centres separate to hospitals.

NEW OIL DIG LICENCES Net zero campaigners are justifiably outraged by such a retrograde proposal. There is however some logic in this, although the government has as usual been cack-handed in its messaging. Even if we proceed with renewable energy development at pace, including power lines to distribute it, we will need a run off of fossil fuels, currently mostly imported. If we can reverse that, use only home dug and get it into the national grid, not only will we be reducing our carbon footprint by avoiding imports, but we will be creating real new money as well. For a financial model addicted to relying on borrowing and printing this is good news.

INTEREST RATESĀ Up again, but softly with an 0.25 rise rather than the bolder 0.5. The trouble with this steady as we go approach, now in its 14th attempt, is that it puts off the moment of recovery so far into the future, that flatlining for not just months, but years, is seen as a good outcome. This is very not so. At the moment it is beginning to look as if the fifteen years it took to deal with the last bout of inflation illness maybe what we are in for this time. Meanwhile all the other major economies appear to be doing much better, with the US where the latest figure is under 3%, very much better.