Your Tax Money At Work

Ooops!

Children’s social care costs £3 billion a year more than thought, a government-appointed review has revealed, as experts warn the sector “cannot afford to morally or financially” continue.

They don’t actually know what they’re doing. We’d better have them doing less then, eh?

Imagine we accept that this is true

Britain’s most senior civil servant has backed Whitehall critics and admitted that the government does not have the “skills and experience” needed to tackle the biggest challenges facing the country.

In a letter to The Times Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said many officials lacked the “technical and specialist knowledge” necessary to fulfil the government’s post-pandemic reform plans. He said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the former head of the successful vaccine task force, who this week warned that civil service “groupthink and risk aversion” was leaving the country exposed to a range of future threats from climate change to cyberwarfare.

OK,so what do we do about it? Clearly, once we accept they’re not competent to deal with such questions then we stop asking them to deal with such questions – they’re incompetent, d’ye see?

The British civil service – the only argument we need in favour of minarchy.

Don’t let the civil service near anything at all

So, folks who want to come and work here do need to be filtered in some manner. Even if it’s just to sort out those who want to work from those who don’t. And yet we shouldn’t allow the civil service near anything:

Food industry figures complain the tests foreigners must pass are unnecessarily complicated, with few managing to garner enough points under the current system.

They argue the reading, writing and speaking requirements are equal to what is expected of doctors, teachers and chemical engineers, despite the language demands of those roles being much higher.

In some cases candidates are also tested on niche or bizarre subjects, the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers claims.

Official listening exercises that the trade body sampled asked applicants to listen to a recording and then answer questions on topics including a cheese rolling competition, basketball, emus, Burlington Arcade, crane flies, Charles Dickens and Matisse.

Lampposts, that’s the solution.

A simple enough solution

The Government has also failed to challenge the political appointments watchdog’s intervention in the recruitment process for top quango jobs. It was reported this week that the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments blocked Tory-endorsed interview panellists for the role of BBC chairman, as well board members for the British Film Institute and the Office for Students. This was justified on the basis that those put forward weren’t “independent”.

The problem is partly that the power of the soft Left establishment is even stickier than many Brexiteers imagined. It has rigged the system by elevating “process” to an almost spiritual status, while subjectively defining the qualities candidates need to succeed.

Admit that political appointments are political and make them on political grounds. Like Federal judges in America……

Test and trace

£37 billion to achieve not very much? Well, OK, par for the course for government we might think.

£300 million on consultants? 1% of the budget? Got away lightly with that one I would think. After all, while we here all understand the uselessness of the big consultancies it is also true that the country had no method or manner of tracking the entire population. We don’t have ID cards, we simply don’t have any one system of this person is here and that’s them.

The argument is going to be that it should have been given to the local councils to do. And you’re going to have to do a bit more than say “government good, private bad” to convince me that would have led to a better system.

My starting point is that it was a massive task, one that wouldn’t be done well or cheaply by anyone. Even if it were worth doing which I’m not wholly sure of.

And?

Umm, why?

Announcing the end of the public sector pay freeze, Mr Sunak said: “The economic impact and uncertainty of the virus meant we had to take the difficult decision to pause public sector pay.

“Along with our Plan for Jobs, this action helped us protect livelihoods at the height of the pandemic. And now, with the economy firmly back on track, it’s right that nurses, teachers and all the other public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic see their wages rise.”

Don;t we, in fact, rather want to see a change in relative wages? More for lorry drivers, less for paperpushers?

This is from the fucking government!

While women have made substantial progress in rates of enrollment in postsecondary education
and represent a majority of college students, they hold two-thirds of the nation’s student debt,

The group that goes to college more holds more of the debt from going to college. Normies think that reasonable. The Federal Government uses the implicit “but” buried in that “while”.

Well, yes, but fucking what?

This seems fairly important, doesn’t it?

The government is misleading Parliament and the public over the cost
to the taxpayer of public sector pensions. This takes the form of the
government reporting its pensions cost in a different way from that
required by pension regulations in the private sector.
● A discretionary cost method of calculation is used to determine what
public sector employers and employees pay each year for their
pensions, and is the ‘generally understood’ cost. It is based on an
(arbitrary) assumption about investment returns (i.e. an interest rate
of the government’s choosing).
● The official cost method is based on IAS19 – the measure approved by
the International Accounting Standards Board. The official cost method
is the one which UK regulation requires for private sector pensions.
● For conformity with UK pensions law, and comparability with private
sector pensions, therefore, public sector pensions should be accounted
for at the official cost.
● Members of Parliament, the general public, and indeed public sector
workers, are only told the discretionary cost.
● The government declares the official cost method, but only deep in its
pensions accounts (as required by regulation). As a result, the situation
is understandable only by experts.
● The difference between the two costs is huge. As an example, for the
NHS Pension Fund, in 2020-21 the discretionary pension cost as a
percentage of salary was 30.4%, and the official cost, 62.2%.

Idiot damn fucking bollocks

Do we have to be ruled by entire idiots?

Rail operators are scrapping printed timetables as part of a multi million-pound cost cutting exercise, sparking claims that passengers’ personal safety is being put at risk.

Pocket and poster timetables are in the process of being withdrawn and replaced with QR codes, sparking fears that elderly people without smartphones could be forced off the railways or left stranded at stations.

The advantage of a printed timetable is that you can scan along the information. Whereas scanning a QR code gives you the one nugget of the information, not the spread of it.

But more than that:

“Printed timetables cost around £2m a year and are used by 1pc of passengers, which is why we’re in discussions with the Government about redirecting this money to invest in better, real time information and prevent a significant amount of paper being used unnecessarily.”

What’s the betting that you could sell a lot more than £2 million a year’s worth of advertising on timetables? After all, the folks who do use them are going to be looking pretty concentratedly at the piece of paper.

Keep the logistical system that collates the info, flog it off to some likely lad.

Erm, why?

More than 65 high streets will get funding to transform disused and run-down buildings into new homes, shops, offices and community spaces.

Transforming old shops into new homes may or may not be a good idea. It’s a good idea if it’s profitable, more value is created by the change of use than the change of use costs. It’s a bad idea if it’s not profitable.

So why in buggery would we subsidise it?

Shocker innit?

Really:

He added: “This is the first overtly dramatic case, but it’s certainly one of the main things that’s quoted in the reason GPs are leaving the profession.”

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the RCGP, said: “GPs spend a large amount of their time on box-ticking and filling forms, which is frustrating because it takes us away from frontline patient care – but the non-clinical members of our practice teams, such as our practice managers and receptionists, also often find themselves snowed under with bureaucracy.”

Who would have thought that having government for a customer could cause that?

Jeez, you’d think the Paddies could build, wouldn’t you?

Bit of a blow:

Homeowners in Ireland hit by a devastating building defect that causes walls to “crumble like Weetabix” are set to reject a government compensation scheme unless it offers to cover 100% of their costs.

Campaigners say the prospect of dream homes being demolished is causing people to kill themselves and families to break up, and that thousands of people could be left homeless in rural Ireland.

They plan to protest in Dublin on Friday to put pressure on the government, which could end up footing a bill for an estimated €3.2bn (£2.7bn), according to a report in the Irish Times.

The folks who made the concrete blocks used material with too much mica in it. It’s all therefore crumbling away.

Still, folks are trying it on. They want full compensation for the value of their house. Which ain’t what they should get, at all. Instead, compensation to rebuild. This is different – the first number includes the value of the land and planning permission, the second just the house. As it’s just the house affected then that’s what they should get paid.

Not really and not wholly, no

Mr Johnson claimed that Pareto improvements are the underlying economic thinking behind levelling up and closing the huge regional gaps in Britain. Pareto’s insight was that it is possible to redistribute assets in a way that makes some people better off without anybody else losing out. It suggests that the Government should be able to share out resources more effectively across the country and create no losers – only winners. Reaching this point is known as Pareto optimality.

The Prime Minister said: “If you insist on the economic theory behind levelling up, it is contained in the insight of Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th century Italian figure who floated from the cobwebbed attic of my memories.”

The usual use of the insight is the other way around.

If you find something that makes some people better off without making anyone worse off then you should do it. For such a Pareto improvement increases human welfare, obviously enough.

The thing is, there’s no particular insistence that such things or policies exist. Rather, it’s that if they do then they’re good things to do. It’s also not particular to assets or to government handing them out. Imagine that we had a bureaucracy that existed only to shuffle paper, nothing useful was done by it. The cost is that time that everyone has to spend shuffling paper to feed the bureaucracy. Abolish the bureaucracy and paper shuffling declines and nothing else does. A Pareto improvement.

Hmm……

This looks like an easy enough job – well paid too.

WRITER-EDITOR (TRAINING PUBLICATIONS)
U.S. Marine Corps
27,596 reviews
Twentynine Palms, CA
Temporarily remote
$105,224 – $136,791 a year – Full-time

Anyone who wants to know why the Federal Government costs so much can see it right there. Compared to private sector pay for writers and editors that’s a $60k a year jobs at most, and that before Federal benefits.

Still, it does require a certain amount of inventiveness:

Responsibilities
You will prepare and coordinate assigned doctrine and training publications.
You will prepare briefings and status reports on doctrinal and training publications being researched and developed.
You will develop concepts that serve as blueprints that describe the focus of the Service?s future Combat Service Support (CSS) operations, capabilities, and requirements emanating from tactical to strategic level operations.
You will manage shaping and writing working groups by being an authoritative consultant and troubleshooter, and service as the lead in Integrated Planning Teams (IPTs) that address issues that cross multiple functional areas.
You will successfully communicate and correlate on multiple projects with other SMEs in related fields.
You will take initiative to seek out solutions to known or perceived problems in the logistics community.

How many ways can you write “Do what the Gunny tells you”?

Shrug, this is just what establishments do

Once you control the purse strings:

Academics warn they are facing “woke gatekeepers” to get taxpayers’ money for research, as they are told cash could be withdrawn if they offend anyone.

Equality and diversity guidelines have been drawn up to cover nine major research bodies, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Medical Research Council and Research England.

The documents by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which oversees the most prestigious research councils and handed out £3.2 billion in funding last year, include “constant criticism” of someone or “bad name calling” as potential reasons for funds to be blocked.

Academia definitely has a certain mindset to it these days. Scientific enquiry – “you’re wrong because this fact, new theory needed” – isn’t quite the current style. And as with any establishment that controls the purse strings those who err from the received wisdom aren’t going to get funded.

Ragging on Ritchie is science – this theory is wrong because this fact. Wouldn’t get funded though.

Quis auditores audiet?

The Big Question:

An EU official tasked with monitoring the bloc’s expenditure fraudulently claimed vast sums of taxpayer money to spend on lavish hunting trips with continental royals, it was revealed on Thursday.

Karel Pinxten, a former member of the EU court of auditors, said European taxpayers should foot the bill for hunting parties in France and Belgium because “leading European personalities” were present, according to court documents.

Mr Pinxten also claimed to be on official business when really on private trips to Cuba and Switzerland, or attending friends’ marriages, the European Court of Justice found.

Cool:

The official, who dabbled in property, also tried to rent an apartment to the EU’s top diplomat, whose expenses he was supposed to monitor personally.

That’s a nice scam.

The judges in Luxembourg docked Mr Pinxten, a former minister in the Belgian government, two-thirds of his gold-plated pension.

The EU’s pension scheme is among the most extravagant in the world for the public sector and entitles retirees to a large percentage of their final salary, which in Mr Pinxten’s case was around €17,000 a month.

The judges, who have no power to press criminal charges, said they had been lenient because no one had complained about his work while an auditor.

Tsk, naughty boy!

No wonder the accounts are never signed off……

The lefties are getting very excited by Berlin

Wrongly excited of course:

But one of the most significant developments in voters’ weekend trip to the polls was a local referendum in Berlin, which strongly endorsed a campaign to expropriate properties owned by large corporate landlords.

Nope. There is no expropriation even being suggested.

The constitution allows for the socialisation of private assets “by a law that determines the nature and extent of compensation”. Many legal experts also agreed that taking back housing into social ownership was permissible under the constitution.

What is being suggested is that the City of Berlin raise the cash to buy the properties. The amount is around and about one year annual budget. Roughly.

This is not expropriation. It might be terribly stupid all the same but it ain’t expropriation.

Zil Lanes

For of course the responsible workers have different requirements from the rest of us:

Sadiq Khan: I need 24-hour security because of my skin colour and the god I worship
London mayor reveals to the Labour Party conference that a team of 15 police officers keeps him safe ‘around the clock’

How long before there’s a special lane in the road for him?

I would imagine this happens a lot

A mother-of-two died suddenly while “waiting on the phone for nearly two hours for a doctor’s appointment”, her family has claimed.

Relatives allege that the popular baker Helena Maffei – described as “the soul of Kidderminster” – was trying to get a GP appointment for breathing difficulties when she collapsed at home in front of her 28-year-old son.

Whether on the phone or in person. You’re feeling a bit peaky is when you go to the doctors. Sometimes feeling a bit peaky is the signal that something serious is about to happen.

I can imagine that death rates while waiting to see the doctor are rather higher than those that apply at other times like, say, waiting for a burger or whatever.