Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Tough on Investment, Tough on the causes of Investment

NuLab so often bang on about how they are investing in the public services. I've noticed one effect of this.

There is an interesting entry on the Policeman's Blog, about speeding prosecutions for emergency services. In short, a copper says he went to help out a colleague and was disciplined for speeding on the way. He thinks, unsurprisingly, that this is a bit rich. What was he meant to do? Proceed slowly to an emergency?

There are some good comments in the blog, but the best is by Twisted Fire Stopper. I hope I won't offend him by quoting it:

I drive Big Red Lorries for a living, and as there is a system of cameras on our main route out of the station, we are continually served with NIP's- we have a white hat who's only task is to process these notices. So far, there have been no prosecutions, but we have to justify, in writing, to the officer concerned, exactly what we were doing, with incident numbers and weather conditions. Our Brigade (I still can't get used to calling it a "service"!) damagement are in the process of bringing in a "Drive to Arrive" poicy, which will further impede our reponse times. Many of my colleagues are throwing their EFAD licences in, as it is only a matter of time before someone gets points on their licence, or someone dies as a result of a driver keeping his eye on the speedo, rather than on the road!

(my emphasis)

As I commented here on Tyresmoke, this tells us that:

(i) his fire station has a full-time person for dealing with this. So now we know where some of the "investment in public services" that NuLab trumpets is actually going ... i.e. to people who create NIPs, firemen who explain that the big red thing in the picture with the flashing blue lights on top is a ... duh ... fire engine ... and people who read the reply from the fireman and cancel out the work of the first person in the chain.

(ii) his colleagues are not stupid; they can see that if the bod in the office slips up, their own licence will get endorsed as a result of them doing their duty, so they are refusing to drive the tenders. So now we know the result of all that investment in public services ... a reduction in the effectiveness of our fire service.

In short, this "investment" made on our behalf by NuLab includes pointless administrative paper shuffling and results in a worse public service. This, I think, is a point that Cameron needs to start making; that there is more to Government than making laws and spending money. You need to think, too. You need to exercise intelligence. You need to manage the arms of Government. And it is about time that someone with management skills was put in No. 10.


  1. Just stumbled across your blog via Ambush Predator.

    Nice start.

    Some time ago I had a close friend who drove the local village fire tender at a volunteer station. Things were too lax in those days. We would often be in a pub drinking with him and he would stagger down to the station after far too many pints for a call out. He would always say when challenged by us concerning this behaviour, "No worry, nobody will ever stop me on the blues."

    The pendulum has now swung an equally ridiculous amount in the other direction, and whilst Nulab are to blame for a lot of this I fear it is more of a societal change beyond the power of Cameron to address.

  2. Hi - thanks.

    As you say, it is a pendulum. There is a difference, though, in that your friend was committing an offence whereas the modern-day firemen are not.

    NuLab triggered the societal change, certainly. It will be interesting to see whether it can now be changed. They were certainly able to undo many of the changes that we saw after 1979, so maybe there is hope for Cameron.