Thursday, 26 February 2009

Watching What They Do, Not What They Say

Train operators are told to reduce their fares due to the recession and rising cost of inflation:
The cost of rail travel has been rising faster than the rate of inflation but operators will today be told that fares must fall as the economy suffers.
Which will, naturally, mean jobs or service cuts.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "RPI will be significantly negative in July, according to independent forecasting. Andrew Adonis will tell the Transport Select Committee that if these predictions prove accurate then the Government intends to allow regulated fares to fall.

"He will dismiss any suggestions that fares might be frozen simply to benefit the train operating companies, as this would be grossly unfair to passengers."
Yet for councils, it’s bonanza time (so long as you aren’t in Scotland). I guess no-one needs to worry about being ‘unfair’ to them::
The average bill is expected to rise by three per cent in April –much higher than the rate of inflation used by most employers to determine pay increases.
And the reason for mentioning Scotland? It seems they have a more practical breed of politician up there:
The increases come as the Scottish Government is freezing council tax bills as a result of the economic downturn.
So, businesses that need to make a profit can survive on less or cut staff, but their feather-bedded public sector equivalent must receive their allotment of taxpayer dosh, or….well, or what?

Presumably, there’ll be fewer Diversity Outreach Enablement Publicity Co-ordinators. And we can’t have that

And note that this news is given the best positive spin by the government’s national propaganda arm:
Council taxes are forecast to rise by an average of 3% in England and Wales this year as local authorities seek to help households hit by the recession.

Such a rise, equivalent to 79p a week on average bills, would be the lowest increase in a decade, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
Cheers, Beeb!

And it’s not just the economic disjointedness that screams at you out of the headlines, either. Take the privacy concerns, which rumble on, and on, and on….

Privacy is paramount, trumpet the ID card supporters to calm the natural fears of the public, yet that doesn’t filter down to the staff:
A database which is to be used as a model for the proposed ID card scheme has been accessed more than 30 times by council staff without authority.
Expect that to multiply exponentially as we go further down the road of ID cards and massive databases…

And despite this, the march to document each aspect of our lives and put it at the mercy of the State continues in sweet oblivion :
Innocent people's privacy will have to be sacrificed to allow security services greater access to personal information to fight terrorism, a former Whitehall intelligence co-ordinator has said.

"Being able to demonstrate proper legal authorisation and appropriate oversight of the use of such intrusive intelligence activity may become a major future issue for the intelligence community, if the public at large is to be convinced of the desirability of such intelligence capability."
I’m not. And nor are a lot of people, despite the ‘increasing threat of terrorism’.

We take our cue from the politicians, who are keen on openness until such time as it starts to affect them:
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed the publication of minutes of key Cabinet meetings held in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.

He said he would use a clause in the Freedom of Information Act to block the release of details of meetings in which the war's legality was discussed.
But if you’ve got nothing to hide, Jack….


Oldrightie said...

reading your excellent post I am, as always, impressed. You always seem to imply we are living under a totaltarian, bullying, Soviet, Pol Pot style, socialist nightmare. You suggest we have a diet of shit propaganda, daily tractor stats and all is wonderful in this Utopian Paradise. (Well it is for the machinery of power and the lickspittle media and BBC)
You know what? You are always spot on!

Anonymous said...

When the government has total power over you, there is no such thing as 'innocent' people anymore.

As for the BBC trumpeting of only 3%, all that tells me is that we have been ripped off for ten years.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough the (prospective) rise of 3-4% in council tax here in the fair borough of Haringey is mirrored by the loss by Haringey of its (I mean "ours" - as in council tax payers) deposits in Icelandic banks (£37 million) as a percentage of council expenditure (about £1 billion). I suspect the "workers" in the Haringey finance department will be receiving their 3% or so rise irrespective of their competence.

BTW, AFAIIA no-one at the council offices - or on the council itself - has suffered as a consequence of flushing said funds down the Icelandic toilet. In fact, AFAIIA, no council employee or councillor anywhere in the UK has suffered from such wholly avoidable losses.

JuliaM said...

" at the council offices - or on the council itself - has suffered as a consequence of flushing said funds down the Icelandic toilet.."

And they probably never will....