Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The First Cut's *Meant* To Be The Deepest

The press, ably abetted by the partisan left-wing hotbed that is the BBC, has been warning about 'pain' and 'irreparable damage to frontline services' (am I the only one to hate the phrase 'frontline'? What on earth does it mean? Are we living in a Bosnia-esque warzone, ducking beneath the stinging hornet-trails of bullets to dodge into our local A&E and have the odd foot or two reattached? No? I thought not). All because the Coalition is cutting away the rot *created* by thirteen years of spectacular mismanagement, the kind of drunken free-for-all spending spree more associated with Paris Hilton after a Ferragamo sighting or a stereotypical sailor on leave. The word 'gaffe' has been attributed by numerous newspapers to Danny Alexander, all because he happened to have open on his lap a document which was freely available on a governmental website to anyone who could be bothered to look. There have been screaming frenzies about the loss of half a million public sector jobs, despite the fact that civil service turnover is high and circa 400,000 people would have left or changed posts in the allotted timeframe. And Alan Johnson, who looks as though he would be more comfortable in an apron and a cap with a visor standing behind a counter and licking a pencil stub, has yet again trotted out the meaningless catch-all phrase 'unfair'. Unfair? It was kittenish.
There are a few unfair measures in the CSR. Firstly, it could have been much more comprehensive. The NHS can stand to lose several billion or so for providing the kinds of treatments that should be only available privately, including IVF on demand (particularly to those on benefits), plastic surgery and sex changes. There are charities who will raise the money for the latter, which is a noble cause; I for one can't imagine anything worse than being born, literally, in the wrong body. But it is not a life or death situation. Nor is having a wee phobia about the length of your nose and charging Mr Taxpayer for having the offending milimetres lopped off. The NHS should not be sending out leaflets to teach children how to masturbate, how to open your bowel correctly in twelve languages, or employing toothbrush monitors. Or Diversity Officers.
So many jobs in the public sector make no sense, either in real or economic terms. Many public sector jobs contribute little to the economy, so they're expensive to create and expensive to maintain. Hiring someone to be useless and expensive is a little like maintaining a mistress: looks good and is the envy of your friends (or Parliamentary opposition, from whom you've snatched the vote of the deadweight), but is financially ruinous in the long run. So let's get shot of 'em. Quietly empty posts and don't bother to refill them. Make people work for their salaries, rather than throwing 25k at someone you elevate to Project Manager because they've been given a brief on where to buy the best stapler or inkjet cartridge.
My sneaking suspicion is that the Conservatives, once they've secured a landslide majority based on a CSR that had many of the Opposition scratching their heads and looking foolish, will give these and many other freeloaders the boot. People 'on the sick' who are healthy enough to whizz around on motorbikes, for example. Hopefully, immigrants who rock up and expect handouts. Trade unions. Anyone who has 'multicultural' in their job title. When it comes down to it, today's CSR was positively anodyne; so anodyne that I could watch the cricket and the CSR simultaneously without losing the gist of either. And as ever Labour, the Party of the Opposition, was caught on the back foot without either a single comprehensive alternative or a word of apology for the damage they've done.
Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison