Good point made by the Spectator

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by msr, Apr 28, 2003.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    Dear All,

    This from

    It is worth pondering this contradiction, made sharper by the military victory in Iraq. It raises two fascinating questions. Why do British armed forces, with their meagre £25 billion budget, always deliver? But why do the NHS and the education system, though in receipt of unlimited amounts of public money, continue to fail? To put the problem in another way: how come the simple British squaddie — though underpaid, overworked and forced to carry out his or her duties in conditions of appalling danger — always rises to any challenge? But how come so many British schoolteachers, rather better paid, with far shorter hours and long holidays, endlessly whinge and — as the teachers’ union conference demonstrated yet again — block even quite sensible reforms?
  2. MSR,

    A very good question - with no easy answer.

    In my view, training and a can do attitude that is inbred from the start.

    If only a number of other govermental institutions were run like the military then we would all be far better off !
  3. Perhaps because the army isn't riddled with self-serving left-liberal union hacks living it up on £80K a year living the high life while taking a mendacious line on any proposed modernisation thus killing intiative and the "can do" attitude, replacing it with "one out, all out brothers!"
  4. Couldn't agree more. I've never seen the point of unions, apart from allowing one thick employee to have a few other hundred employees back him up, and some stupid jumped up thick employee of a leader to speak for him.

    Sorry, that comes from someone in Personnel!

  5. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    In addition to the NHS, Education and transport; add the Firemen, apparantly they are just waiting for George Dubya to blow the final whistle on hostilities in Iraq and they are going for a long unpaid break! About 2 weeks!

    The humble Tommy Atkins has always come up with the goods, in whatever conflict you wish to mention. On a shoe-string and led by Donkeys. Like a post said we have a can-do attitude, that some wouldn't like to admit in having! But we do and we do! Even for no thanks, no medals and no leave at the end of it.

    Just get an ex squaddie in charge of the NHS (Not a Medic, for god sake!) and he would soon turn it around.
  6. National Service - it's the way ahead I tell ya! :D
  7. Not all union officials are out for self glory. there are one or two who actually do what they are supposed to i.e. represent the workforce, but without being over ambitious or ridiculous in asking management for "things" that will not or cannot be achieved.

    Can you tell I am an "ex" union steward?
  8. Fair point.

    The problem with unions in this day and age is that they are outdated, as regards employment law. Companies (and I AM talking about civvie operations, alone) now have very little law on their side, as every new part of employment law coming into place is on the side of the employee. One of those annoying European influences. ;)

    On that basis unions end up being used for less and less.
  9. Because the Forces don't openly WHINGE, give what they're given, get on with the job in hand(havvahaavvvv)  have a No strike policy and because they are BRITISH OLD BOY......And I would like to think that those, that have joined up, have joined to defend Queen and Country.
  10. Blimey you want a job in Army careers?
  11. one of the main reasoning behind the unions was to protect the employees from employers abuse of power and defend them against unfair dismissal cases and provide a central negotiating point for wages ,disputes etc without a union the empoyers would go so far that they wouldn't know how to stop themselves. one guy can easily be brushed aside but not 1500 members sticking up for the  individual rights of each members granted some bosses are good and reasonable even to the point of winning outright loyalty and respect of the workforce also there are those who are hitler in waiting awarding themselves bonuses that bear no relation to the companies performance a classic example of playing the lyre while Rome burns  !

    union rights and employers rights haven't changed that much from thatchers 80s but with more empathis on fairness , we couldn't go back to  the days of 70s no sir ! .there is place for unions , the only people who have something to gain from scrapping the unions would be unscrupulus bosses
  12. Totally respect what you say Vespa. Modernisation is drastically needed, and while some unions are more willing to do this, others are not. Todays example of Corus laying off steelworkers makes me shameful to be a Corus shareholder, really.

    I, however, as an employer, or an HR bod, always respect the law - but unfortunately the same cannot be said for all other employers / HR advisors. I also try to maintain an element of fair treatment (which, frankly, is meant to be included in the laws but handily gets overlooked) and have, myself, had senior Directors tell me not to be fair.

    Could talk for hours about a couple of tribunal cases I've handled - but frankly that would bore you (plus confidentiality and all that). One with union backing, the other without.

    I'm pretty much on the fence (and enjoying it).
  13. IS Ski Geek

    IS Ski Geek War Hero Moderator

    I think one of the other reasons is the fact that the British squaddie has a can do attitude. They wanted to join the army and when they have had enough the majority leave. Hopefully this means that the majority of the time we have motivated people and not people who are teachers (not all) because mummy and daddy wanted them to be.
  14. It is perhaps because the staff in Hospitals, teachers, GPs, coppers etc are swamped with pointless paper work, expected to meet impossible and unrealistic targets relating to individual performance, exams passed, beds left free, crimes solved, response times etc.  

    All of which have been dreamt up by some prat in whitehall who has no clue how the real world works and is armed with some poxy theory that he once heard at university.

    My wife is a teacher - she has just finished her Easter holidays (suppossedly 2 weeks).  She spent 8 days out of her time off completing paper work for the next term, sourcing new texts and dealing a multitude of other admin related issues that she was not able to complete during the term - partly due to he work load and partly due to the fact that this government want figures on everything once a term has ended.  Before anybody says that she works short days - her day starts at 0815 and ends at about 1800 - there is then work after this at home.  She has been attacked twice in her class room by kids and can do nothing to defend herself - if she touches them in any manner it is assault and she is the guilty party!!!!

    As to blocking the reforms - some make sense, but some others don't.  Who would you rather have teach your children? Someone trained in teaching and knowledgeable about their subject? or a classroom assistant who is not a subject expert and does not have the training or experience. (i'm not saying that some classroom assistants couldn't do the job, but most can't and /or don't want to)

    My mum is a part time GP - this means that she works on average 45-50 hours a week + every 3rd weekend.  As to danger, she faces being attacked whilst on house calls by individuals wanting money and the limited supply of prescription drugs that she would most of you cope with that?

    If you want to improve morale and performance for Healthcare, education, law enforcement then there are a number of very simple things that can be done -

    1. remove the unnecessary layers of management within these organisations.

    2. Remove and reduce the useless amounts of paper work - my wife recently had to fill out a form to request a form so that she could order a series of text books.  She then had to fill out another series of forms stating why she needed to order this text, when it is part of the national curriculum - make any sense??

    3. Treat them with the respect that they are due.  They all volunteered for their positions and they get precious little thanks for their efforts in return.  Money aint everything you know......

    4. Stop using these national institutions (and I include the armed forces here) for trialing bollocks economic and social theories dreamt up by some long dead (hopefully) idiot.

    5.  Seriously eveluate where the money that is spent is going to and what it is being used for.  I would hazard a guess that most of the extra money that the NHS received in this and previous budgets gets spent on salary costs and in funding the "savings" that have to go back to the treasury.  No money = no drugs, nurses, teachers, doctors, soldiers etc which = failure to meet targets, failure to deliver a quality service, poor morale, etc etc.

    I could go on and on..........Think before you start throwing mud...... :mad:
  15. reply to Qman........

    Earlier this month, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published the 2001-2002 Best Value Performance indicators, which are part of the government’s drive to deliver “value for money” in public services. Designed to measure efficiency and set standards in service levels, including the 2003 Best Value plans due to be published June 30, they will be used as benchmarks for the forthcoming Fire White Paper.

    One of the key conclusions was that: “Overall improvements are recorded in the performance in meeting the existing national standards of fire cover; the containment of fire spread; the performance in recruiting employees from ethnic minorities; and in processing the payment of invoices.” All this during “an increase in the numbers of fires, fire deaths and fire false alarm calls”.

    These findings were buried on page 2 of an ODPM press release with the eye catching headline: “Best Value
    Performance Indicators for Fire Authorities for 2001-2002.” Strange for this spin-happy government to miss an opportunity to praise the public services!
    (Data at:

    So you see , the military isn`t te only"can do service"
    the only difference is , we firefighters can fight for a fair wage.