JG's blog

The biggest loser was...

The result of last week poll deemed, not surprisingly, that the NHS online recruitment system was the biggest loser of the post-Blair, pre-Brown era. Expect Patricia Hewitt to be shown the door when Brown announces his first cabinet; she has been the latest in a long line of disasters at the Department of Health. However, you have to ask - is it fair or more to the point sensible to put someone in charge of the third largest organisation of the world who has absolutely no experience or expertise in the industry they are leading?

Only in Westminster

The Commons public accounts select committee has published a damning report on the state of the Government's IT projects stating that the government is losing its grip on them. Rather worryingly, one in five has been rated "mission critical and high-risk" computer schemes, yet senior officials had not even met the minister responsible. It also criticised the many projects that had gone billions of pounds over budget and were many years behind schedule.

More youth?

... though if they really wanted to appeal to today's youth, maybe they should have gone with this one? (hat tip B3ta)

Not sure which is more unpleasant, this one or the original? 

A new law every three-and-a-quarter hours!

It comes as no surprise today to learn how prolific the Labour government has been when it comes to introducing legislation. The Blair premiership has seen an average of 2,685 new laws introduced each year! That is one every three-and-a-quarter hours! It has been Blair's answer to everything – there is nothing that can't be solved without a piece of legislation in the crazy world of New Labour. The research by legal information providers Sweet & Maxwell, has shown that more than seven new laws have come into force every day since Tony Blair came to power a decade ago!

The Tories don't need a clause four moment - they should be aiming for much more than that

Has the David Cameron honeymoon period come to an end? The grammar school debate has probably run a little further than he had hoped and there are signs that the right of party are fed up with being forced to tread the tight line between showing a unified party willing to change and completely selling out. I'm sure Cameron is happy that this whole debate came about; it gives him a chance to show that he is in the centre ground of politics and will drag his party there with him. Unfortunately for him, though, he will never have a "Clause 4 moment".

Public money used to bank-roll the Labour party to win the next election? Surely not!

The Labour party and the Government are just about to get caught up in a good old fashioned sleaze story. The Times has broken the story that the massively in debt Labour party has been using government grants for its policy-making process. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has received nearly £1 million in government grants. They are the people behind popular ideas such as road pricing, rubbish taxes, ID cards and justifying hospital closures.

Chip and Bin - the added cost

It is expected that the fortnightly bin collections and the "chip and bin" tax we are to pay on top of council tax for the removal of our bins will increase levels of fly tipping.  If that is the case, we the tax payer have a serious problem!  It is thought that there were 50,000 cases of fly tipping in the London Borough of Chelsea and Kensington alone last year.  Haringey over 60,000.  Outside London, Manchester had more than 30,000.  Yet the Government and councils have warned that the worst cases are likely to be in rural areas but are simply not reported.  So far it has cost

Blair and Campbell's Government

Over the coming weeks and months there is going to be a seemingly endless queue of people trying to cash in on the "Blair years" (headed by Tony himself, of course).  Alistair Campbell's memoirs are due to be published in July, though there are reports that he has cut out the juicy bits to protect Blair.  No such luck for Tony with regard to the former cabinet secretary Lord Butler.  He has got some pretty damning words on how the country was run under Blair's premiership.  It seems the rumours that the country was run by him and Alistair Campbell were pr

Save the planet, become a veggie

The Department for the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) has got itself in a bit of pickle! It appears to have endorsed a view from a vegan group called Viva, that we should all become vegetarians to combat climate change. It is even considering recommending eating less meat as one of the "key environmental behaviour changes" needed to save the planet. The leaked email even says that this change would have to be introduced "gently" because of "the risk of alienating the public". Well, you've lost me for a start.

Shame on the NHS

Eric Friar is a 91 year old RAF war hero. Now Mr Friar isn't having the best of times at the moment, he suffers from mini-strokes, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkins lymhpoma, has been diagnosed with bowel and colon cancer, shingles, dementia, is almost blind, has MRSA and is currently in hospital with pneumonia. His condition means he cannot eat unaided, can barely walk and has difficulty sleeping because he is in constant discomfort. His local NHS trust has assessed the case for assistance as "moderate" because the couple have savings of more than £21,500. Moderate!?

New Poll - Which is the biggest loser?

It may just be happy coincidence for Gordon Brown, but it does appear that the Government are shifting out a whole load of bad news before he comes to power and while Blair is off on his farewell tour of the world. There have been four stories in particular that Picking Losers has been following that have climaxed in the past few weeks, all are perfect example of the government picking losers - trying to solve a problem that either isn't there in the first place or go about the solution in completely the wrong manner.

£36bn of taxpayers' money on our railways by 2014

It seems that people are not entirely happy with the way the railways are run in this country and over 50% of you wanted to see them privatised. An underwhelming 12% wanted to see them renationalised. 35% were happy with them the way they are. Whatever the result of the Picking Losers' poll, it seems we will have to pay up front for the railways for the foreseeable future. In spite of inflation busting rail fare rises, the government expects them to keep on rising over the coming months and years.

More failed Government IT projects

Reports of another government failing IT project.  This time it is the sex offender computer system.  It is being hit by delays due to failed software tests.  In the meantime it is the public who are most at risk. Nick Herbert, the shadow Police minister, said: "This further delay potentially increases the risk to the public.

£500m surplus at NHS

The NHS is expected to announce an under-spend of nearly half a billion pounds.  This has, of course, upset the unions, who say that staff and patients have been treated so badly and yet there is £500m lying about.  To me it is just another example of how badly managed the NHS really is.  How can they have miscalculated £500m spend?  But even more worryingly, how can the government justify spend many billions of pounds upgrade system and the botched online recruitment system, yet still have so much money going unspent?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that the government shou

"People respect honesty, not cover-up"

There is no reason why our MPs should be exempt from Freedom of Information laws.  That is the opinion of Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner from the UK's information watchdog.  Some MPs claim that their correspondence with members from their constituents could be put in the public domain, destroying their trust between local MP and the electorate.  Yet not one complaint has been made that anyone's correspondence with an MP had been wrongly disclosed under the terms of the two-year-old legislation.  Mr Thomas said "There are bound

Big Brother is taxing you

Sinister goings on at our town halls. It appears that 68 of them have already installed microchips in to our bins without even telling us. That is more than three million households in Britain who are well equipped to be taxed for their waste in Government "pay as you throw" proposals. This is despite the fact that a channel four survey revealed nearly two thirds of us are against the idea. It is quite clear that the Government is trying to force this extra tax through the back door and they are disguising it as green measure.

Review of the Papers, Thursday 24 May

More than three million households in Britain have rubbish bins equipped with "waste stealth tax" technology, it was claimed last night. Ahead of today's publication of the Government's national waste strategy, a survey revealed that 68 town halls have spent millions of pounds buying bins with microchips.