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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bent Bastard Rahman OUT

Well, right and justice came good in the end and bent Pakistani crook Rahman has been kicked out of the Mayorality of Tower Hamlets, with the election to be re-run.

Meanwhile, Islamist Dog Anjem Choudary claims that voting is un-Islamic and that all Moslem voters are 'apostates'. It's unclear which part of their anatomy Mr Choudhary wants to chop off in punishment for their participation in democracy, but you can take it this Jihadist nutjob is under close surveillance. I strongly defend the rights of Moslem electors to cast their legitimate votes honestly and without fear of intimidation.

All in all, a decent turn for equity and democracy all round.

Managerialism eats itself

The big corporates are big and successful because they never try to get things 100% right. Amazon, Ebay and the like are happy to hit their 'sweet spot' - simple, problem free, low cost transactions where nothing goes wrong - and not to waste money solving the problem transactions. Hence if something goes wrong you can't contact them except through call-centre hell and if the problem transaction has lost or cost less than £20 a fair number of us will rather write it off than try to fix it. The point is, their sweet spot is somewhere around 90% and upwards.

What they're doing is passing the transactional costs of customer service back to the customer; customers need to spend their own time solving their own problems through automated systems. Of course there are always subversives such as yours truly - who write a proper postal letter to the company secretary with only a return address (i.e. no phone number or email address). Your chances of getting the Cockroach Letter today are remote.*

When State bureaucracies reformed by Managerialism try to adopt the same tools as the big corporates one critical factor is missing - the need to retain satisfied customers. The State doesn't really care. We have known for years of course - but the Guardianistas are just waking up to the fact that it's hurting them, too:-

"The right has some semblance of critique: bureaucracy is the enemy of free enterprise, it is about jobsworth pen-pushers who work for the government, restricting the release of honest red-blooded capitalism. Perhaps in response to this, the left has assumed that defending (or being silent about) the smothering prevalence of bureaucracy is all about defending the state. Well, it’s certainly one of the best things about being rich that one is spared having to spend too much time dealing with the council or the government in general – the worst bureaucratic offenders."   

The problem is that the left sees bureaucracy as a benign force - a damper on political change and enthusiasms, an enforcer of a comfortable mediocrity, the triumph of group decisions over maverick entrepreneurship, low risk and high continuity. Perhaps up until the 1960s this was even partly true. But combine Managerialism with Bureaucracy and what you get is a nightmare Kafkaesque prison of 'no can do'.  

* In response to a guest's complaint about sighting a cockroach, a famous hotel wrote back "..never in the history of this hotel has this happened before, and we have immediately mobilised skilled operatives to investigate the sighting. Rest assured that your complaint is being actioned with the utmost priority at the very highest level and all the hotel's resources will be exhausted in ensuring we continue to maintain the superlative standards of hygiene and service for which we are so well known." The problem was that a post-it note was stuck to the back of the letter instructing "send this guy the Cockroach Letter".

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The UKIP Water Vote

After a few glorious days up on Europe's roof I was negotiating the adrenaline-pumping hairpins of the Wurzenpass with a new Slovenian chum. The news broke last week that Heineken had bought Slovenian brewer Pivovarna Lasko and I asked whether he feared a loss of local beers in favour of the Dutch factory stuff. "It's not about the beer. Heineken wanted the water - Lasko have access to brewing water sources that Heineken can use without treatment in all its other plants" came the surprising response. Europe faces a coming water shortage; the Alps, source of much of Europe's farming and drinking water, have had successive poor snowfall. Groundwater is being depleted. Heineken are ahead of the game. 

However, this has promoted such anti-global corporate feeling in Slovenia that a new law is making its way through the legislative process that effectively outlaws private ownership of water. It is a region where most water supplies are managed by local councils of areas of 2,000 people and involve little more than a tank half way up the nearest mountain to collect the year-round snow melt and moss-water and a network of pipes to distribute it. I laughed as I explained that London's water is owned by an Australian-Abu Dhabi and Chinese consortium. And that London water is also very pure, having been filtered through the kidneys of seven Londoners before distribution. And that after a few days your eyes stop watering and you get used to the Chlorine. 

Again, this is just the latest in a series of comments that echo each other that I have heard first hand across Europe in recent years. Yes to free trade, yes to free movement, no to borders and tariffs, but a deep distrust of Commission and political corruption and particularly a deep distrust of the way in which the EU has sought advantage and power for the global corporates across Europe. 

And It's as simple as that. LibLabCon are all in the pockets of the global corporates, are all Euro-Federasts and UKIP isn't. Plus here in this London constituency the Labour candidate will get in anyway - there's not even a contest. So a UKIP vote makes perfect sense.