Friday 6 March 2009

Max Hastings Gets It...

Max Hastings is spot on in the ‘Mail’:
Public sector salaries and perks have soared. Almost three-quarters of a million employees have been added to the State's payroll. All manner of new and mostly ridiculous jobs have been invented. Fresh rights have been conferred on some deserving people and many undeserving ones.
Tink he’s talking about the ‘Guardian’s’ jobs page? Yup, me too...….
Now, however, the party is finished. In a bewildering world, the only certainty is that we are going to be worse off. For the next two or three years, many - myself included - accept that there is an irresistible case for high public spending to keep the economy moving, as consumer expenditure falls.

But this must be directed exclusively towards infrastructure projects that will make Britain stronger and more competitive when it recovers from recession.
And not ‘Diversity Outreach Communications Co-ordinator’ roles for newly graduated social studies students…
Henceforward, we need real investment, which means things we can still see when the dust clears.

Alongside this, there must be a purge, cull, massacre of all the crazy public spending, non-jobs and social projects which have become a dead-weight on Britain. If once we could afford a 'street football co-ordinator' in Moray, Scotland, at a cost of £19,887 a year, we can do so no longer. If ever it seemed acceptable for Lambeth to seek an 'enviro-crime enforcement officer' at up to £30,774, it is not now.

The North-West Development Agency spent £90,000 on representation at last year's political party conferences.

Braintree Council has advertised for a 'climate change manager' at £38,556 a year. Hertfordshire County Council has sought a 'head of participation and inclusiveness' at up to £42,197.
Preach it, Max!

Now the gravy train is heading towards the buffers, we just can’t afford to soak up ‘jobs’ like these anymore. And yet the pepers are still full of them, and where jobs are being cut in the public sector, they are front line, useful jobs. Not back-room box tickers and form fillers.
Today, much of the nation's anger is focused upon bankers, whose doings make the Great Train Robbery look like an honest day's work. But soon, very soon, the scandal of public sector pay and perks, along with reckless spending projects, will provoke even greater passion.

Most public sector workers are hardworking people fulfilling vital roles in society - nurses, teachers, policemen and so on. But they themselves can hardly relish the spectacle of scarce national resources being squandered on others, State-employed drones performing non-jobs.
Indeed, it’s often a factor of blogs such as ’Inspector Gadget’ and to a lesser extent, ’The Magistrate’s Blog’.
State employees once enjoyed more security than private sector workers, while receiving less money. Under Labour, this has changed.
The Pensions Policy Institute reports that while average private sector pay stands at £25,300, average public sector pay has risen to £25,600, with far more generous pension terms. Only at the top of the tree are private sector rewards much larger.
But at the top of the public sector tree, rewards are almost comparable. Certainly, I don’t see anyone calling for the pension to be stripped from any of the top mandarins the way they do for Sir Fred…
Gordon Brown's most pernicious legacy as Chancellor is that he has burdened the shrinking profit-making part of the economy with an unsustainable commitment to the privileges of State employees, whom he recruited in industrial quantities.

Given the dominance of State employment in Labour's Celtic dependencies, the English face having to work overtime to support an army of Scottish, Welsh and, above all, Northern Irish public servants.
Which is unsustainable.
We must repeat the mantra again and again to our rulers: it is over, over, over.

As a society, we can no longer afford State employees, starting with ministers, who write cheques on the nation without thought for the simple truth that we are broke.
So, Max, who do I vote for to end this? And please, don’t tell me ‘Cameron’s the man!’.

Because he isn’t. Is he?


Anonymous said...

I don't think public sector workers give a sh*t.

Stan said...

They'll certainly give a sh*t when they are being sacked from their jobs in droves, Umbongo.

As far as Hastings is concerned - he is right that public expenditure has to be directed towards something other than non-productive jobs, but infrastructure projects - although they have their place in the grand scheme of things - are not the answer. During the 1990's the Japanese spent fortunes on new roads, bridges and so on - fat lot of good it did them. What we need to do is produce something which we can sell. That ain't easy as we don't have much of a manufacturing base anymore and what we do have tends to be foreign owned. What we do have, though, is a huge natural resource which the world - particularly China - can not get enough of right now. Coal.

We need to open up new pits and re-open old ones and start digging. Sure, it will cost a lot of money but it's a darn sight easier than starting a brand new car or aeroplace industry and then finding no one wants to buy your cars or planes.

Coal and steel. That is what we need - even if it costs lots of public money. They are the things the world wants and they are the things that will get us out of this grand old pickle which the governments have got us into.

JuliaM said...

"They'll certainly give a sh*t when they are being sacked from their jobs in droves, Umbongo."

If that ever happens, they will. I'm not so sure..

"What we do have, though, is a huge natural resource which the world - particularly China - can not get enough of right now. Coal."

Things are going to have to get much, much tougher before the green brigade's fingers are prised off the throat of government to allow this to happen.

Anonymous said...

Not every public sector worker enjoys a particularly brilliant salary. I work in a school as a data manager and also provide teaching cover (I am a qualified Maths & IT teacher). When the school is closed I am not paid AT ALL. (nice long hols eh?) I agree that the world can do without "three a day" and "diversity" co-ordinators but please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater. I used to work in Banking but left as I had the rather unfashionable idea that you look at the ability to repay BEFORE lending the money and I can certainly recount some horror stories about a certain "ethical" bank.
Sorry to go on a bit...
TTFN Mike :)

John Pickworth said...

"Almost three-quarters of a million employees have been added to the State's payroll."

Often forgot, are the even greater numbers of employees paid privately but 'working' for the state; eg Traffic Enforcement Offices? Admin staff brought in to manage the ever growing red tape, compliance, licensing and EU directives that even a modest business is subjected to.

Fair enough, many of these roles replace the ones lost in the big industries but the problem for all is that they are largely non-productive ones. While it might suit the Government to have thousands of 'security staff' strolling around pubs, hospitals, job centres or shopping malls etc, they don't help us to trade/compete our way against countries like China.

Eventually, we (as a country) won't be able to afford these non-jobs... what then?

Dangerous times are coming this way!

Stan said...

"Things are going to have to get much, much tougher before the green brigade's fingers are prised off the throat of government to allow this to happen."

Don't worry - they will.

"please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Why does cutting public sector jobs mean closing schools or hospitals. As it happens I suspect there are fewer hospitals and schools than there were fifty years ago before we had the bloated state we have now. Thirty years ago a huge proportion of state sector workers were workiing in productive industries - loss making maybe - but still productive. Now the state sector is 100% non-productive, probably has fewer schools, hospitals and police stations and fire stations and still employs more people!