Ritchie has decided that only companies that meet real needs, not wants, should be allowed to bid for government contracts.

‘So what?’ might then be the question. What would be the point of all this? Well when things are measured behaviour changes, we know that. But more significantly the government is a major purchaser from many companies. If its procurement policy was based on the requirement that a company meet a minimum standard or no contract could be issued then this becomes a very powerful tool indeed, and those criteria need not be consistent. So, for example, in the case of PFI offshore might simply be a non-starter.

Hmm, so what\’s on this list of things that only good companies do?

20) Creates and supplies products meeting real human need

Right, so what\’s that?

I am quite sure that there are grey areas between needs and wants

But no one needs SUVs, cars costing more than £20,000, designer handbags, most expensive clothes, many electronic goods (especially when churned as often as they are), drinking to excess, a great dedal of the foods on offer in many stores that are positively harmful to health and much more.

So, people who make SUVs or cars costing more than £20,000 are to be barred from government procurement contracts.

Gonna piss of Ministers looking forward to their Ministerial Jag.

Hmm, Toyota makes cars that cost more than £20 k don\’t they? Like the Prius?

And, umm, what are the Armed Forces going to do without Land Rovers (both over £20k and SUVs…..)?

In fact, I\’m not entirely convinced that there\’s a single car company in the world that doesn\’t breach one or other of those strictures. So, Ritchie\’s just banned the government from ever buying a car again.

And I think that the NAAFI (NAFFI?) might have something to say about not being allowed to buy from those evil booze companies, eh?

And I guess that ban on those who promote \”unnecessary\” electronic gadgets pretty much screws Apple.

Sigh, once again,  as we see, he just doesn\’t think things through, does he? Plus, joyously, the world must be changed to conform to his prejudices: rather than what would happen in a free society, which is that everyone else gets to express their prejudices instead.

39 thoughts on “How lovely”

  1. Oh well, I know I keep saying this, but it’s all just puritanism, all this thing. People keeping thinking the Anglosphere socialists/statists are marxists, and they aren’t, and never have been. They’re just puritans. Mixed with quite a lot of Romanticism, but it’s the puritanism that gives it “bite” so to speak. A Romantic might be a bit of a silly billy who capers around in fields, you have to add puritanism to get Greenism. Anyway, that’s by the by.

    We’re now deep into Victorian Era II, and the puritans, having resurged via the nominally “liberal” end of things, are now so confident of their position that they’re not even pretending to be anything else. It’s getting seriously hardcore now.

    Reactionary formation in 3… 2… 1…

  2. I quoted a certain Mr George Orwell over at Counting Cats a little while ago-

    The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years’ time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from. the old Liberal Party.

  3. Philip Scott Thomas

    IanB –

    People keeping thinking the Anglosphere socialists/statists are marxists, and they aren’t, and never have been.

    Yes and no. You’re quite right about that Methodist piety strain that governs the thinking of the (British) Left today, but it wasn’t always that way. For much of the Twentieth Century the Labour Party* had two camps within it, the Methodists and the Marxists, fighting for supremacy. It wasn’t until after 1989 that the Methodists came to the fore.

  4. And what ‘real human need’ does Tax Research UK serve?
    Does ‘enabling giggling at control freaks’ count? Um, it isn’t on Maslow’s list.

  5. “or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting”

    To be fair, that’s a pretty accurate description of me as well.

  6. You complain about the NAAFI with booze but surely the more immediate question is which left wing approved company will supply the tanks, guns and planes. Surely arms manufacturers are automatically ruled out.

  7. Actually, it’s ‘EFI’ now – Expeditionary Forces Institute. (Or it was in Basrah in 2005). The old NAAFI shops you used to get on bases and training establishements have been hived off: there are branches of Londis at HMS Collingwood, and at BRNC Dartmouth, where the NAAFIs used to be.

  8. Methodists and the Marxists, fighting for supremacy. It wasn’t until after 1989 that the Methodists came to the fore.

    I think you have a point if you want to argue that Tony Blair/New Labour represents the Methodist tradition. However I doubt that this component is now the dominant one.

    The Methodists were the more working class component. Methodism grew up as an alternative to the CofE but shared the idea of respectability. Working lass respectability came from standing on your own two feet and certainly not the victim culture of today.

    In contrast the Fabians were the middle class party. Theory laden and attach to an idealised image of the working man. That’s the wing that took up Identity Politics and dominates the party today.

  9. Philip Scott Thomas

    TDK –

    My apologies; my previous comment was a sort of a telescoped re-hash of something I’d said over at Counting Cats. Basically, I think IanB has an excellent, valid point about how the Left is now predominantly driven by an authoritarian moral zeal. Where I differ from him is that I think it is a secularised remnant of Methodist piety, rather than puritanism. You know, all that “lips that touch wine shall never touch mine” sort of stuff.

  10. PST, my position is that Methodism, Quakerism and other Non-Conformismisms are revivalist puritanism. One way to narrativise it is to say that after the straightforward puritanism of the Cromwell era was rudely interrupted, and followed by the liberal era, the puritans reinvented themselves as “lifestyle puritans” and set out on a community organising approach, hence going into working class communities and taking them over (we’re looking at Methodism here).

  11. Philip

    This is too complicated to solve in a comments thread.

    Methodism has vanished quicker than the CofE and one would have expected the piety and abstention-ism to have died with it but is seems to have been absorbed by the middle class mainstream.

  12. Philip Scott Thomas

    Ian B –

    Yes, and I’m pretty sure that there was some (a lot?) of that going on. It’s just that I think a lot of the original reforming zeal derives from an emphasis on religious piety that came from Lutheran Pietism in German via John Wesley.

    Heck, for all I know, the latent puritanism that you mention may have provided the fertile seed bed for Methodist pietism, allowing both to grow in tandem.

    I seem to remember something in Mencken’s essay on “The Anglo-Saxons” that touches on this – something about how the tendency for religious fervour in America is confined to those areas with large Celtic immigrant populations. I should go look that up.

  13. PST-

    Well, one is constnatly caught between the stools of over-simplifying on the one hand and losing the simple narrative on the other 🙂

    If you take (English) Puritanism to simply be the manifestation of zealous Protestantism here, and if you consider Protestantism itself to be a zealous fundamentalist movement within Christianity (sort of, the Muslim Brotherhood for Christendom), it all ties together. There is a strong argument that Protestantism was an ideal of imposing a monastic spirituality on all Christendom rather than it being cooped up in the monasteries. You can also see it as a reactionary movement against modernisation in general as Christendom moved out of the Dark Ages. The narrative we are taught is that it was a sort of freedom movement against oppressive Catholicism. It may be more truthful to see it as a reaction against a developing liberalism (perhaps typified by the Renaissance). Whatever, Luther wasn’t a liberal. The 95 Theses are a complaint at the Church letting sinners off the hook too easily.

    So this thing manifests in different ways in different areas. England had become Protestant for the selfish desires of a king, so the Anglican Church wasn’t very fanatical; just Catholicism without the pope. Hence the rather unique development in England of a cadre of zealous protestants struggling against other (more moderate) Protestants. That’s Puritanism. Thus the development of tis powerful idea that we are never holy enough and a constant reforming zeal which outshines even other Protestant regions.

    But anyway, Pietism is simply another manifestation that was much of the inspiration for the English Puritans. I’m really using Puritanism generally in a more broad sense than “the very specific communities called Puritans”, to mean, zealous evangelical Protestants. Wesley got his specific born again moment thingy from the Moravian Church if memory serves, but the whole thing ties together as they’re all basically singing from the same hymn sheet.

  14. Philip Scott Thomas

    Ian B –

    Well, we’ve certainly hijacked Timmy’s thread, haven’t we.

    As TDK said above, this is too complicated to be sorted out here. I do think you’re on to a pretty valid idea; we just differ on particularities.

    However, it is quite an interesting discussion (it is to me, anyway). So if someone who had editorial privileges over at CCiZ were to open up a new thread… 🙂

  15. The Pedant-General

    Back to the substantive topic of the post.

    Uses for SUVs that Richie would approve of:
    – forest rangers
    – mountain rescue
    – farmers (definitely serving wants not needs. You try looking after sheep on the mountain in winter without a 4×4)
    – the surveyors and people doing the advance site planning for wind farms

    etc etc.


  16. Hey its not all bad news. The State couldn’t employ any PR consultants, advertising agencies or management consultants either.

  17. Not just Apple: you’d have to stop buying anything made by Microsoft. That would mean rewriting lots of government applications and retraining almost everyone in government in LibreOffice instead of MS Office.

    What a plank.

  18. “Richie doesn’t say they must *only* create and supply products meeting real human need.”

    Read on in the blog to the comments. I questioned him on this to get clarification, and in his usual style he dodges clear questions, especially when the original comment is questioned.

    But it can be inferred in his responses that he doesnt appear to approve of meeting wants that arent ‘real needs’.

    In reality, he just thinks ‘real needs’ = ‘things he likes’. Therefore, the arts and beer are real needs, large cars and spirits are not. Long distance travel is out (except when he wants to go somewhere.

  19. You know we should be encouraging Ritchie in this little scheme. Because if one thing is designed to reduce the State to a standstill inside months if not weeks, this is. Large numbers of suppliers would say ‘F*ck it’ and walk away. The few left would be able to charge a fortune (having no competition). The State would find it couldn’t get work done. Stuff would go unfixed. Systems would break down and the entire State apparatus would grind to a halt.

    Great stuff!!

  20. Tim you’re just jealous. I saw your accounts the other day and I think Murph makes more money than you do. A lot more.

    And so it should be. A good con man deserves his money, and Murph is one of the best.

  21. In reality, he just thinks ‘real needs’ = ‘things he likes’. Therefore, the arts and beer are real needs, large cars and spirits are not. Long distance travel is out (except when he wants to go somewhere.

    This is pretty standard for anti-consumerists.

  22. @P J Adams: The EFI is a subsiduary of the NAAFI and while various units’ shops are run by other brands (most commonly Spar on RAF stations0 I think they do so on the NAAFI’s behalf and pay the NAAFI a proportion of their profits for the privelege. How this is affected by the new Catering, Retail and Leisure contracts, I don’t know.

  23. Adrian
    I’ve read your comments. Art? Not an essential. Called out chump.

    As for the rest, you’ve just clearly not understood.

    Just like the rest of your pedants.

    You need fucking drawings.

  24. Arnald,

    So are you goping to make a point in the debate or are you just going to throw ad hominems around like some faeces flinging monkey? Because I never see anything remotely resembling an intelligent comment from you, just a load of disconnected swearwords.


    PS if art’s that essential, then artists can find patrons like I have to find customers, rather than sucking at the public tit to fund their indulgences

  25. “only companies that meet real needs should be allowed to bid for government contracts.”


    As most of what the government does is not needed by me, I think this is a great idea.

  26. Nice car analogy from Ritchie. I’m all for utility as the measure. So I’m glad that Ritchie will henceforth be boycotting all restaurants where a meal is more than, say, £10, and all bottles of wine that cost more than £5. After all, no one NEEDS that. Do they?

    I await his confirmation.

  27. What about detached houses (which I guess Murphy’s is).

    No-one needs those, and we could be far more efficiently housed in terraces (which would be more environmentally friendly as well, with fewer outside walls to lose heat).

    Existing detached houses could be turned into flats, and families moved into terraces.

    But I can’t see Murphy (or Toynbee) suggesting that. Funny how they never complain about the sort of “excess consumption” that they like.

  28. Actually, Arnald, no I don’t. It would be helpful if you could provide me with an answer in English. Oh, and capital letters are helpful too, just so I can try and make sense of your gibberish.

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