The quangocracy in 2010 – ten years on it’s even worse
If there had been any doubt that ‘Our MSM’ would rather attack this hapless government and the hapless minister than ask pertinent questions about quangos, then today’s front pages give incontrovertible proof. Also missing is a long hard look at the Lockdown shambles – but as ‘Our MSM’ played the main role in creating this Lockdown devastation, don’t expect them to start questioning it.
The A-Level scandal is just one consequence of the Lockdown, the economy (watch out, Rishi!) being the next and even more devastating one. M & S won’t be the last company shedding 7,000 employees because “Covid”. But when it’s about getting money from the government ‘because CV-19’, any pressure group can come up with a new demand.
Certainly the universities’ Vice-Chancellors (some of whom get £400,000pa) seem to think that the way out of the A-Level mess is ‘more money’ – for them (paywalled link), because they’ll now have to ‘take on more students’. Never mind that those students come with a grant, never mind the coming economic catastrophe! The Bank of England just needs to print more money and devil take the hindmost, in this case the huge number of us working and tax-paying plebs who might even have saved a bit: inflation will cure all.
Perhaps everybody will be happy to go back to work once the furlough money is stopped if government followed France, demanding that muzzles be worn in all offices from September 1st (link, paywalled)? Yes, they’re doing it – chances are that “we” will follow suit.
Don’t ask if ‘The Virus’ is going to just hang about, not infecting people during the next couple of weeks until September! It’s a very strange virus which must be blessed with huge intelligence, being racist, misogynist, fattist and aware of the weather all at once. We’re now told in the DT that it likes to spread in ‘cold, dry’ conditions: “Scientists say the virus spreads faster in cold dry air and may peak again when we are huddled inside” (paywalled link). The Times also has a report:
“The authors of the peer-reviewed study, published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, say that dry air increases the virus’s ability to spread. In Sydney a 1 per cent decrease in the amount of water in the air was associated with a 7.7 per cent increase in Covid-19 infections.[…] The same trend has been found in a study of China’s Covid-19 outbreak and the coronaviruses that caused the Sars and Mers respiratory diseases.” (link, paywalled)
Gawd, they don’t half find obscure journals providing material to keep the fear and hysteria flames going! So now what? Huddling inside (‘dry and warm’) is bad, thus we’d better stay outdoors come autumn and winter when it’s wet, as is normal in a British winter? But wait – where are the spikes caused by all those irresponsible beach goers when it was warm and dry? I look forward to the first articles ‘Our MSM’ blaming the PM for the weather!
Given that ‘Our MSM’ believe it’s their role to be the official opposition, in the absence of Labour where only their Leader is wheeled out for a comment, it was to be expected that they focus on ministers – Williamson now being in their firing line. Some opinion writers have taken a closer look at the two quangos which have caused these shambles: Ofqual and PHE.
However, the reorganisation of PHE doesn’t interest ‘Our MSM’ much at the moment. That is astounding, given the new ‘director’, Ms Dido Harding, who had a stellar track record (not!) as CEO of ‘talktalk’, who had an even more stellar record (not!) getting that ‘test and trace’ thingie up and running. Yes, she’ll do very well sorting out PHE (not!). This ‘reshuffle’, this reward for failure is aptly called ‘chumocracy’ by Ross Clark in the DT who concludes his opinion piece thus:
“We will find out in due course Harding’s plans to prepare for a future pandemic. But I wouldn’t even trust her to get the ‘bring out your dead’ carts onto the street without their wheels falling off.“ (paywalled link)
Isn’t that the story of this Lockdown government where wheels are falling off left right and centre wherever one looks? And so to Ofqual, A-Levels, Williamson and ‘Our MSM’. This isn’t over yet because the GCSE results will come out tomorrow, so prepare for more “my dreams are ruined” articles. By now it must be crystal clear that this isn’t about exam results and grade inflation which have been with us ever since Tony Blair. It’s most definitely not about teachers and their trade unions: no-one in “Our MSM” asks why schools couldn’t and cannot open normally. It’s about ‘protecting our teachers’.
Our pupils, our students, must be such exceptional snowflakes, in the eyes of teachers’ trade unions, that the experiences of countries where schools have been open, such as the Scandinavian countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, simply do not apply – even though these are always the ‘examples’ from which “we must learn”. Above all – never mind that schools in China have been gradually opened since April. I’m not aware of any ‘spikes’ caused by that. We surely would have been told because any science paper seems to refer to a Chinese one nowadays, provided it supports their findings, such as the one above, about the virus disliking wet weather.
Just as Hancock made use of deadcatting by announcing the death of PHE last weekend, I expect Williamson to use that ploy and announce Ofqual to be reorganised right on time for the Sunday papers. Not that a reform isn’t direly needed. This ‘educational’ quango goes back to Blair’s ‘reforms’. There’s an article in ‘ConHome’ with some remarkable information which I commend you to read (link). Here’s what Paul Goodman, the author, has to say about the Ofqual ‘leaders’:
“There is a curious lack of educational know-how at the top of Ofqual. Sally Collier, its Chief Regulator, served previously at the Crown Commercial Service. Its executive director, Julie Swan, worked at the Law Society. Roger Taylor, its Chair, was a healthcare businessman and Financial Times journalist.” (link)
Was this a ‘secret’ and thus not available to ‘Our MSM’? Perhaps their employees, fully occupied with finding obscure articles in support of their CV-19 fear & hysteria campaign, couldn’t find it? Why aren’t the teachers’ unions demanding that educationalists ought to ‘lead’ Ofqual’? There’s a rather interesting report in the DT which more than anything else shows the uselessness of that Ofqual chief:
“Sally Collier, Ofqual’s chief regulator and chief executive, has not spoken publicly since the humiliating U-turn in which its algorithm was ditched in favour of teachers’ grades. Ofqual’s chairman, Roger Taylor – whose job is also now in doubt – was wheeled out to make the announcement on Monday while Ms Collier, a lifelong civil servant who earns £200,000 a year, has remained silent.” (paywalled link)
Amongst the paragraphs in that article, mostly about “Williamson is fighting for his life” we’re told that “Supporters of Ms Collier will fear she risks being made a scapegoat.” Oh dear – how sad – never mind!
There’s another piece of gossip about ‘fall guys’ which the DT published yesterday afternoon and which is now hard to find. I did ‘save’ it though because I knew it would ‘vanish’:
“Rumours are circulating in Westminster that either Ofqual chief executive Sally Collier or the Department for Education’s permanent secretary Jonathan Slater could be at risk of losing their jobs, rather than have the Education Secretary resign over the exams crisis. Mr Slater “may well be collateral damage”, one former minister said. A government adviser agreed that he “might well be No 10’s fall guy – the Goveites have had it in for him for years”.” (paywalled link)
One wonders why those ‘Goveites’ had it in for that mandarin – nought to do with Gove’s experience as secretary of that department, of course not! The next quote though shows a remarkable naivete, as if there‘s no such thing as “Whitehall sources” leaking against their ministers:
“But one former Cabinet minister warned: “In my experience, being utterly loyal to your officials in public pays dividend because when things go wrong, they pull out every stop to help you.” (paywalled link)
I wonder who that is. It always amazes me how those ‘sources’, be they Whitehall mandarins or ‘former ministers’ are alway anonymous while they exhort us plebs to give our full names, not just on the interwebz but now also when daring to brave CV-19 and entering pubs and restaurants, muzzled or not.
I leave you with a remarkable quote from The Times which instigated the ‘War on Cummins’ months ago. That war seems to be dormant, but it’s bound to become hot again:
“Britain’s reputation for effective administration has taken a battering. The government is in no doubt where it thinks blame lies. Long before the crisis, Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief of staff, was arguing that the machinery of government was broken.” (link, paywalled)
Does one swallow make a summer? We’ll have to wait and see. I feel emboldened to ask why it is that ‘Our MSM’ would rather see ministers toppled than demand this government fulfil Camerons ‘promise’ (we remember what those were worth!) and start the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’. Shouldn’t the Treasury now insist on that bonfire because it would surely save a lot of money?
I don’t expect ‘Our MSM’ to delve into the quangos, into the quangocracy and chumocracy. I do expect ‘Our MSM’ to overlook anything which can get us out of this post-covid madness, from demanding teachers to go back to school to demanding ‘Our NHS’ to start protecting us, our cancer sufferers, our sick, our depressed patients, rather than protecting itself. I’m not going to hold my breath …
Photo by mkandlez