Can ConDem cuts cut it?

#1
Via Slugger Will the coalition cuts stick?
...
At the top, the coalition looks comfortable. But after less than 10 weeks, the question is starting to be asked: Can they make the cuts stick? If not, then what? Rebellion is momentarily focused on the administrative fiasco of Michael Gove’s cuts in the English school building programme, yet another NHS reorganisation based on GPs this time, and the wobbles in the intellectual rationale for the cuts, as explained by the supposedly independent new Office of Budgetary Responsibility. But this is only the tip of huge iceberg.
The presence of the prime minister was intended as a morale boost. His words were warm, but lacked substance. One colleague said he was just like Tony Blair, but with shinier skin and better teeth. Cameron meant well, but it was clear that he hadn’t the faintest idea what a civil servant does, or the daily dilemmas we face

I can’t escape the feeling that all our dynamism and creativity – so long targeted at the problems in our society – has been turned inward. Vast systems have been built to freeze spending and implement cuts. They are sucking everyone in. This is a turning point in our island history.

I have noted since the election that Conservative ministers seem very relaxed. I, like many others, interpreted this as confidence and competence. After last week, it started to look like naivety and arrogance. The gaffes were piling up and forming an edifice of stupidity. Ministers called to the Commons to apologise; Hillsborough survivors insulted; Jamie Oliver criticised; the Speaker called a stupid sanctimonious dwarf; school building programmes announced and then scrapped. It was a litany of carelessness and sloppiness, a series of avoidable own goals that illustrated a lack of preparation, a lack of seriousness and the failure to appreciate what it is to govern a country.

This comes at perhaps the most dangerous three weeks for many years. At the end of July, parliament will break for the summer, not to return until September. In the next three weeks, a series of monumental decisions will be taken that will dictate the course of our politics for years to come.
...
The last bit's from a concerned Whitehall Mandarin writing anonymously in the Guardian. He gets rather apocalyptic later. He's right to be concerned, an effective civil service is the work of generations, it can be destroyed rather quickly. You can end up with a country actually being run by ill advised gentlemen amateurs whose only real skill is getting elected. All very Corinthian but a debacle in the highly complex modern world.

The need for a professional technocratic class of "Mandarins" became evident in the mid 19th century under the Raj.

The US alone amongst great powers still aspires to wing it as The Founders did back in the simple provincial-agrarian world of the 18th century. Repeated foreign policy pratfalls and a gnat like domestic attention span are the price they pay. Septic suspicions that their rather large government is incompetent are well founded. They "throw the bums out" every few years just as their attendant fast learning policy wonks have got to grips with things and the next chaps greenhorns shoulder them aside. The result is often a state wide stasis that would bewilder a visitor from a well managed Swiss Canton that shares a similar constitutional system but not the paranoia about unaccountable bureaucrats. Want to see truly "broken" government inaction go to New York State and California is not much better.

I'd give Dave's government some time to settle down. They are mostly tyros, after so long out of office it would be odd if there wasn't some ideologically driven silliness at first. The schools policy is dotty think tank stuff and the GP led NHS looks link a continuation of the disastrous free market tinkering that characterized the last administration. New labor suffered from a post-Thatcherite timidity and an obsession with image management which was in some ways worse.

The bad signs are Dave's New Tories seem to be putting their faith in imported princes of private industry with a disastrous record for the long term planning that is essential in government. A country is not run to please shareholders on a quarterly basis, it's not even a good model for the relatively simple world of the big Anglo corporation, that's not likely to long survive contact with reality. New Labor's expensive fetish for the inane business babble of the big consultancy houses has also found a new home. This is all bad news for Sir Humphey he may well be entering a world were "courageous decisions" are thick in the air and experience has been shewed off too early retirement.
 
#3
The answer is time will tell. Have just read the Health White Paper - Equity and Excellence:Liberating the NHS - This is scary stuff. GP consortia will have to take on hordes of new staff to deal with the new responsibilities - Hard to see where the savings will be.
 
#4
The answer is time will tell. Have just read the Health White Paper - Equity and Excellence:Liberating the NHS - This is scary stuff. GP consortia will have to take on hordes of new staff to deal with the new responsibilities - Hard to see where the savings will be.
Actually, it looks like a re-run of the disaster that was 'Fundholding GPs', and that got abolished in the
Health act 1999 Health Act

I was working in NHS Fraud around that time, and it was quite clear that clumping a bunch of GP surgeries together, and then giving them the power to commission services with the budget of a small multinational didn't work. It didn't work because despite the best efforts of the finance officer (who was usually a retired lady called Gladys.) they didn't have the skills or capacity.
It wasn't just inefficent, it was an open invite to fiddle.
No one can comprehend the sheer amount of money sloshing around in the NHS. The few people qualified to handle it safely usually work in the City, where they earn very big money. Simply 'wishing' more such people into existence won't work, or assuming that they exist, and are just waiting to leap into action when there is a call for them, even if they are available from disbanded PCTs.
It takes ability and training, and there isn't going to be enough time to develop either on the scale required.
 
#6
The article is rather more Cassandra than Pollyanna!

The Prime Minister's address to the Civil Service is here, together with the structural reform plans for each of the major departments of state.

One may, after listening to what is said and reading what has been reduced to writing, arrive at a more balanced individual conclusion than that of the lone author.
 

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