Wednesday, 29 December 2010

How's the State Doing?

From the Guardian:-
His call was echoed by Glyn Roberts from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, who said:"Heads will have to roll for this. Why on earth is Northern Ireland the only part of the UK where there has been this massive disruption since the thaw?"
It couldn't be that nearly all the rest of them were privatised (Scottish Water is state owned), could it?

Statement by the head of NI Water:-
Historically, we have had an amount of underinvestment here.
We had the Troubles and that has led to a level of underinvestment in the network which is now manifesting some problems for us which we're trying to deal with as fast as we can.
Hmm, sounds like it, doesn't it, boys and girls?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Bribery Act

From The Telegraph
Corporate Christmas gifts of a gold fountain pen or a case of Champagne may be caught by the new Bribery Act, according to a Serious Fraud Office "Secret Father Christmas" test drawn up by the country's largest professional service firm.
That's absurd.

I've sent small gifts to clients for Christmas. It's not a bribe, it's more of a coda, marking the end of a successful year of a relationship. It's not big, and certainly not of the sort of amount where I'd expect them to sway their decision in future (especially as they own the company and are therefore not corruptible).

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Possibly Interesting Information

I recently heard that our school was hiring a teaching assistant. The 6 candidates they are interviewing all have degrees.

A TA is a good job, and you want people with some intelligence and skill to do it. But degrees?

Raise the fees, lower the number of graduates and we'll actually all be richer.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Big Fascism Rolls On

From the Daily Mirror
David Cameron is to spearhead a clampdown on using sex to sell products to children.
The PM has ordered a major review of the problem - as well as the use of "pester power" to get children to nag parents to buy sweets or toys.
He is expected to ask Reg Bailey, boss of Christian campaign group the Mothers' Union, to consider new powers for parents to complain, Whitehall sources disclosed.

So an unelected organisation of 93,000 members is going to tell the rest of us how to live? I think that people who play Call of Duty or drink absinthe have as more representation than that.

The review will look at how to fight the sexualisation of children and efforts by shops and advertisers to exert "excessive commercial pressure" on them.
The clampdown could see Education Secretary Michael Gove bring in punishments for firms breaking any new rules - possibly a three-year ban on bidding for government work.
The correct process is to create a law, and then bring people before courts for breaking that law where the government has to present the evidence for the crime.

Banning companies from government contracts (without good reasons like being fraudulent or incapable) is simply an arbitrary use of power to get people to do what you want without having to define clear laws. It is the way of the dictator.

Far from Cameron's "big society" being a genuine attempt to roll back the state and to give people the power to run their own lives and to improve the lot of others through their own actions, it is instead simply the same old big government dressed up in the clothing of liberty.