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No, this isn’t enough

Ministers call for former Post Office chief exec to lose CBE
A petition for Paula Vennells to be stripped of her honour has received close to a million signatures

Nothing but jail will do.

In fact, just jail them all.

29 thoughts on “No, this isn’t enough”

  1. If people pervert the justice system it destroys the justice system. That is why perverting the justice system has – and MUST have – the severest of consequences.

  2. With any luck Ed Davey wull be dragged over the coals too, unless he can prove that civil servants “seriously misled” him.

    We have to remember of course that although this is Fujitsu, it is not some evil Jap plan. This company is the old ICL abd carried its reputation for incompetence with it. From memory they ballsed up a Post Office system in the late 1980s too.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Exactly, jgh.

    I’d go a step further. We are told by the BBC that: “Post Office scandal: Rishi Sunak considers measures to clear all victims”.

    Don’t waste any time, release them all without question, just open the cell doors of everyone who was convicted in that process and let them go and then get the convictions quashed. Will a guilty person go free? Who cares? Our justice system is built on the principle that it it is better that any number of guilty men go free rather than one innocent man is punished.

    It also has the added advantage of freeing up some space for Paula Vennells and the rest of them.

  4. Ottokring,

    I never understand why people use these big consultancies. They charge more for people than just hiring skilled contractors and they supply people with not much experience who don’t care for a higher price. Like I understand using a company that already has a product that does nearly all of what you need. But that isn’t what happens in these cases.

    The only explanation that I have is that management think they can treat software like stationary and office cleaning and well, you can if it’s something off-the-shelf like MS Office but when it’s a custom thing, you’ve got to take more interest in it than that.

  5. Given the scale of the disaster she helped unfold into British society, surely an OBE or MBE is more appropriate?

  6. I’d do it the other way round. Start with the junior people who gave evidence at trials or whose work was used in the trials. Ask them who authorised or directed their work. Then go for the managers all the way up to the board.

  7. Paula Vennells (et al) needs not just to be stripped of her CBE but her money and other assets. A class action civil claim against her and all the other board members will be a good start.

  8. “Jail them all “.

    Completely agree. Provided it’s right now and nobody gets round to sorting out any possible injustices for about 20 years.

  9. A bipartisan observer

    Release them all without question? And can we un-suicide those who killed themselves? Why are there no charges of manslaughter being laid against those involved?

  10. It wasn’t even the state (aka the Police/CPS) prosecuting these people, it was the Post Office. Talk about biased justice!
    Can the victims group perhaps play the same card and enact private prosecutions upon the PO and Fujitsu people who were either responsible, or should have been, if they’d done their jobs correctly (I’m expecting the majority will plead the incompetence defence, just like Ed Davey).

  11. I think one other person (or category of person) who should also be in jail is anyone calling for greater state involvement in the economy. I can think of a retired ‘accountant’ and ‘academic’ in the Fens who could use some time at His Majesty’s pleasure.

  12. I never understand why people use these big consultancies. They charge more for people than just hiring skilled contractors and they supply people with not much experience who don’t care for a higher price.

    They’re used* by smaller outfits who are relatively clueless, or larger ones where there’s still a “nobody was ever fired for buying IBM” culture (which makes them relatively clueless, too). As a consultant working on my own or with a ‘bijou’ consultancy, we’d generally walk away if we found we were bidding against PwC or E&Y.

    * I’m excluding ‘management consultants’ hired by the board, usually to provide air cover for a decision that’s already been taken

  13. OK – putting on hard hat and armour – I don’t agree with the sentiment here.

    Just like free speech, due process must to apply to those we don’t like, or it isn’t due process. It was the lack of due process that put those poor postmasters in jail.

    So how about “Objective and unbiased investigation now!!!” Followed by “Fair and open trial, if appropriate”.

    Now excuse me, I’m off to man the barricades.

  14. The problem with the search for “people” responsible is that for the most part, this isn’t people, it’s culture. As I explained in Tim’s quote (thanks! nice birthday present), this isn’t an unknown problem with communications, this isn’t an issue with computers, this is an ontological issue with the functioning of the universe, and there are known methods to deal with it. The fact that nobody all the way through the process of creating the software piped up “hold on, this isn’t how the universe works” shows there was a deep, pervasive culture of incompetence, managed by incompetence, promoted by incompetence, and protected by incompetence. Dare I say, more than incompetence, a belief in “my truthes” over reality.

  15. @ jgh

    Ah, yes. The excuse trotted out by the public sector for any fuck up. No one could be found personally to blame, it was the system at fault. Lessons will be learnt (honest).

    Problem is that the system is full of people doing a shite job who could be found responsible if it wasn’t for the fact that no one else in the public sector wants the same to happen to them.

    So, nothing will improve, ever.

  16. So Ed Davey should name those he alleges “seriously misled” him. Who? Civil servants? Top PO officials?
    Libel cases are expensive but at least it will be the participants not the taxpayer, whose wallet is picked.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ So how about “Objective and unbiased investigation now!!!” Followed by “Fair and open trial, if appropriate”.”

    I’m with you on that, they can’t hide in court. The more embarrassing for the process is for the establishment the better.

  18. BiND

    They can hide in court.
    If the prosecution doesn’t ask the right questions, or as they have already done – perjure themselves. Allit needs is an establishment appointed judge ( look at Lord Hutton ).

    The system is stacked against the truth coming out.

  19. “The system is stacked against the truth coming out.”

    Of course it is, because every State employee and quangocrat looks at the PO and thinks ‘We’ve probably done worse to the public that they haven’t found out about (yet), so we better go easy on them, because one day the boot could be on the other foot and we’re the ones with targets on our heads’. So no public official is ever going to crucify a fellow one for incompetence and downright cuntery. Its too close to the bone.

  20. Jim: But if they do that the entire system collapses. If everynody perverts the justice system , then the justice system ceases to be a justice system, and we cease to *have* a justice system, you can’t trust anybody other than your closest family, and wrongs are righted by personal fights between parties, and the biggest fighter wins.

  21. I’m laying odds on a Public Enquiry. Anyone care to bet it will last longer than Lady Hallett’s pantomime?

  22. ” If everynody perverts the justice system , then the justice system ceases to be a justice system, and we cease to *have* a justice system, you can’t trust anybody other than your closest family, and wrongs are righted by personal fights between parties, and the biggest fighter wins.”

    Yep, thats where we already are. When was the last time some public official was nailed to the wall for overseeing a complete clusterfuck? Never as far as I can see. There are bits of the NHS that have actually murdered people (Gosport Hospital scandal) and no-one has ever been prosecuted for it. The Public Sector looks after its own, because they all have skeletons to hide, and no-one dares throw rocks at anyone else.

    I’ll predict now that no one will be prosecuted for anything in the PO scandal. The worst that will happen to anyone responsible is that they’ll take Paula Vennells gong off her, that’ll be it. After all if the State admits its PO computer systems are crap and don’t work, and starts holding people responsible, people might start asking questions about other bits of State run IT, and where might that lead?

  23. There’s a quote at the end of that Telegrapth article:

    “He said then there was “a difference between allegations made against Post Office Limited and allegations of personal wrongdoing by Ms Vennells” and said after taking legal advice that it would be wrong to “simply impute to Ms Vennells all of the failures found to have been committed by Post Office Limited”.”

    This just adds grist to my mill that limited liability should be abolished. The idea that the people operating a business can walk away from what they’ve done because of the legal fiction that ‘the company’ did it is what is wrong with all these scandals – people know that their neck isn’t on the line if something goes wrong, so they can behave like the Post office did. Its high time that employees of limited companies were liable for their behaviour and can’t hide behind limited liability.

  24. @Jim
    I feel your pain!
    The point of Limited Liability is to limit the loss to shareholders, so that their maximum loss is the share funds subscribed. This is crucial to the raising of large amounts of capital and hence any serious industrialisation.
    Islamic equivalents do not (directly) exist ” ‘cos usury “, so anyone subscribing to a venture is liable for all losses also. OK for partnerships, etc, but not $billions. So ‘workarounds’ have evolved.

    I’ve read histories which attribute the success of the Western model since 17th century as being derived largely from the capital raising capability the limited liability permits.

    Nothing in ‘limited liability’ protects the directors or employees from criminal prosecution for fraud, trading while insolvent, misuse of funds, incurring trading debts without reasonable expectation they could be met, etc, etc. But it’s a grey area between outright dishonest action, and a struggling entrepreneur trying one last gasp, etc.

    However, getting the Police & CPS to take an interest in such matters, even when the fraud is blatant, is difficult.
    Not for the first time, it demonstrates the futility of writing laws on bits of paper if the instruments of law ignore those laws being broken.
    That way lies lynch mobs – though atleast that way you don’t get repeat ‘offenders’.
    (The postfix modifier is a joke, just in case that wasn’t obvious)

  25. …nor of more obvious crimes like perjury or manslaughter!

    Indeed, one of my pet hates is how ‘companies’ are fined for misbehaviours, which means the shareholders and mass employees end up footing the bill, despite being innocent of any misdeed. The INDIVIDUALS who made the illegal actions are not penalised and escape scott free, often with large payoff.

    It seeems that governments are more interested in shaking down big business for £ than enforcing the law against criminals.

    Nothing will change until the individuals responsible are nailed.

  26. “Nothing will change until the individuals responsible are nailed.”

    And they never will be, thanks to the limited liability company. The owners walk away from the wreckage with their only losses being whatever money they had in the company at that point. All money they’ve extracted previously is untouchable. The senior management and the board can all hide behind the ‘It was the company, not me, I’m just an employee!’ defence. All the money and big cheeses walk away from a steaming pile of former business and the only ones who lose out are the creditors, customers and the low level employees who lose their jobs. The whole process looks like it was purposely designed to bring capitalism into disrepute. And its doing a pretty good job of that. Its not surprising that people keep falling for the lure of socialism, the form of capitalism we have is making it look like socialism’s proponents have a point.

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