At the End of the Day

Isn’t it amazing how there are always apologists for wankers, bankers and mandarins?

“It’s all perfectly normal and above board”

Jeremy *unt popped up two days ago to say that it was jolly fine, normal and acceptable for private sector suppliers to screw up when providing services to the public sector. I’d love to monitor the circuitous path from assertion via bent logic to illogical pronouncement that goes on in Jeremy’s unwisely privileged cerebrum. No doubt he would have a different interpretation of the PFI cockups in the nhs that led his bete noir Gordon Brown to fraudulently move them off balance-sheet as a UXB for Camerlot to pick up. But on the other hand, given he f**ked up royally in his first job for the British Council (and then mysteriously went on to make a fortune by becoming a long-term monopoly supplier to the BC quangocrats) you can see why he would reach such a self-exonerating conclusion. When all’s said and done, we serial onanists must stick together.

Jeremy Typinge-Errah was joined in this regard today by Invesco Perpetual’s Neil Woodford, who opined that Buckles of the G4S should not lose his job because, “It is my view that the interest of shareholders are best served by keeping Nick Buckles in this business because his track record is excellent”. Which is of course a right load of old bollocks, because as The Slog posted at the weekend, last year’s attempted takeover by G4S of Danish cleaning giant ISS saddled the shareholders with a bill for over £50m in fees for legal and financial advice.

But clues are available as to why Woodford might lean in such a direction: he holds G4S in his £11.3m High Income and £8.7m Income funds, and therefore is understandably reluctant to rubbish his own tips.

Equally mystifying at first sight is why various business journalists, politicians and senior business figures seem endlessly willing to stand up for bankers. One such over the years has been David Buik, who looks uncannily like a Muppet. Described by Ian Fraser in 2011 as ‘the “Sir Bufton Tufton” of the City: old-fashioned, bigoted and 100% out-of-touch with modern realities’, Buik has always struck me as the kind of arrogant prick who never fails to find an acceptable (to him) reason why bankers have done something despicable. Following the bonus controversy of January 2011, Buik advised non-bankery mortals, “Folks, get over it! Let’s move on!”

Buik is in the same Libor related broking business as Michaels Spencer and Fallon, so as you can imagine he almost certainly knew nothing at all about the crooked global fixes that went on between 2005 and 2010. But in 2011, he opined that the nasties were down to “a few reckless bankers. Banks were easy prey for the politicians to blame and they remain so…[but] contrary to public opinion, the ‘bad guys’ have gone.”

David Buik  is the Mohammed Bari of investment banking. What a pillock.

But as time (and the 2012 Olympics revelations of omniphonic incompetence) keep passing, I have reached the opinion that no feather-bedded social group is more universally defended by the political classes than your Whitehall mandarin.

Allow me if I may to put the derisory decision-making of Locog Sir Humphreys into some kind of recent historical context. Starting with the Sykes-Picquot ballsup of 1926, and meandering solemnly through the BEF, Dunkirk, the groundnuts scheme of 1947, Blue Steel rockets, Concorde, new tiers in the nhs, green giant fire engines, Westland, mothballed helicopters, aircraft carriers with no fuel to sail and planes that couldn’t land on them, disappearing mobile phones in the Gulf War, under-specced jeeps that caused friendly fire deaths during the Iraq war, Connecting for Health, the PFI fiasco, self-awarded illegal pension benefits, the RBS nationalisation, the HBOS/Lloyds merger, the trebled Olympics budget, and umpteen other examples of self-serving amateurish waste, we arrive at last at the latest in a long series of expensive disasters: the ten-times-over-budget G4S choice as a Games security operator – a supplier which will, we now learn, suffer no financial penalties….because no performance criteria were set. And we can add to this the hopelessly understimated clogging of roads full of coaches that seem unable – after seven years of preparation – to navigate their way from Heathrow Airport to the Olympic Village….which is not, as yet, ready to receive these first bemused athletes.

Although these wasters acount for fully one third of Britain’s national debt liabilities, they have shown for 86 years that they cannot manage, control, scope out, understand, legally bind, specify, design, choose, negotiate, cost, judge, foresee, commercially assess, monitor, critique, contract, organise, discipline, trace, or quite simply do anything without it turning into at best a write-off, and at worst a catastrophe requiring the rest of us to Keep Calm and Carry On.

Military equipment, prescription drugs, security, banking regulation, public buildings and motorways all turn to dust via ill-conceived planning in their hands. And yet there they are, the best-paid and most luxuriously pensioned plonkers on Earth….somehow immune from criticism.

But it isn’t that hard to work out why. Blackmail is an ugly word, but it was never more apt a term than when describing the cunning uselessness of our senior civil servants. Quite simply, Whitehall gets everything it wants, because it knows where every last body in Westminster in buried. Every single act of political treason, fraud, bigotry, fallibility, sexual oddity, and embezzlement is known to every Mandarin – thanks to the good offices of the security services in their midst, who will always give the Sir H’s the ammunition they need, in return for intense – nay, irresistible – lobbying for more money, surveillance equipment, draconian laws and operatives next year than they had last year.

It’s why not even the Mad Handbag could cut down their numbers. It’s why Draper Osborne has tried and failed to get the MoD to fire some of their own number. And it’s why Andrew Lansley has been forced to accept that every last hopeless nhs bureaucrat will have to be re-employed once his disastrous health reforms are done.

No Establishment politician with ‘a record’ will ever be able to rein in and fire these leeches. Only a fresh new generation of radicals with no form to speak of will be able to see them off. But I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for that day.

39 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Finally, a breakthrough, you zoned in on the right target; Whitehall!

    What we need to do is to move all the government departments to Manchester, from where the Mandarins can use the High-speed train to London to talk to the ministers. Keeping them shuttling backwards and forwards on the train will keep them out of mischief and scheming.

    They will dodge work on Mondays and Fridays, working three days a week, which means less time to stuff things up!

    The offices in Whitehall can be sold to the Arabs or Disney and will cover all the costs of reallocation.


  2. Hmmm, perhaps its time to share something I read elsewhere John that might help remind you of the what goes round comes round adage, to help fortify you in the endless grind against the establishment.

    It made me smile anyway :-

    This letter was sent to the South Shields High School Principal’s
    office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for pensioners. An
    elderly lady received a new radio at the lunch as a door raffle prize
    and was writing to say thank you.. This story is a credit to all
    humankind. Forward this to anyone you know who might need a lift today.

    Dear Shields High School ,

    God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent Old Age
    Pensioners luncheon. I am 87 years old and live at the Laygate home for
    Elderly Ladies. All of my family has passed away so I am all alone….
    I want to thank you for the kindness you have shown to a forgotten old
    lady. My room mate is 95 and has always had her own radio; but, she
    would never let me listen to it. She said it belonged to her long dead
    husband, and understandably, wanted to keep it safe. The other day her
    radio fell off the nightstand and broke into a dozen pieces. It was
    awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and
    I was overjoyed to have the chance to tell her to f**k off.

    Thank you for that wonderful opportunity.

    God bless you all.


  3. It is reported that Theresa May’s husband has (allegedly) a lot of shares in wait for it G4S!

    No conflict of interest there then!

    Mark Bannister • 12 hours ago

    Comments from earlier were removed. Was it because I and others said:

    1) May’s husband is a major shareholder in G4S??
    2) G4S have over £1billion worth of government contracts??
    3) G4S expect £4billion more in government contracts before 2015??

    How true this is I do not know, but it would be interesting if it was true…


  4. “Every single act of political treason, fraud, bigotry, fallibility, sexual oddity, and embezzlement is known to every Mandarin – thanks to the good offices of the security services in their midst, who will always give the Sir H’s the ammunition they need, in return for intense – nay, irresistible – lobbying for more money, surveillance equipment, draconian laws and operatives next year than they had last year.”

    Then the answer’s obvious; the security services must be dealt with. When they’re out the way the mandarins must be sacked, the civil service employment laws comprehensively rewritten and the whole thing begun again from scratch. There’s no other way. Events have made that perfectly clear. We can’t trust the political class or their friends. They are an incompetent, corrupt, self-serving elite.

    We HAVE to get rid of them.


  5. There aren’t enough apologies in the world to excuse the corruption and dishonesty of these high-priced tarts and their pimps.
    Jeremy *unt’s head will be on a stick soon as his sidekick, Ed Vaizey, is being touted round the news studios, being very assertive in his account of all and sundry. Meamwhile poor old Jeremy looks more and more like Bambi caught in the headlights by the day. Time to dust down the all-in-one sequined lambada leotard Jer, that basement dance studio is going to come in very handy soon.


  6. @Reg
    It should prove to be very simple to execute a takeover of the security services if G4S are in charge! :-)


  7. I admire your work and hesitate to correct you but the Sykes treaty was much earlie. That is what makes it so heinous. It had been signed before the Arabs were promised their country in return for fighting for us against the Turks. I think I am right in saying lawrence knew about it too


  8. What a load of ill-informed tosh. Abysmal.

    LOCOG does not consist of Whitehall mandarins – it is a private company composed of private individuals like the previous head of Goldman Sachs in Europe, Mr Paul Deighton and Seb Coe. If you want to scrutinise the public sector’s involvement in the Olympics you will discover that it was the Olympic Delivery Authority that is responsible for the only successful , efficient and transparent element of the work. It was only the Mandarins who managed to get things right.


  9. If this level of accuracy is indicative of the reliability of the claims on this blog I think I might have to stop referring people to it and quoting from it to all and sundry. LOCOG Sir Humphreys indeed.

    A simple check on google would have put you right, sir.


  10. JW
    Have no fear.You need to come in contact with US Federal
    un-civil servants to know true contempt.
    I always thought the Pakistani or Indian CS was the worlds worst,
    until having to deal with Uncle Sam’s minions.
    I know it doesn’t seem possible,but I assure you that
    it could be far worse than it is now .
    Blackmail or graft has always been SOP here.
    Remember J.Edgar and his files.
    The only difference is the sunlight illuminating those dirty deals.
    TPTB will stop that soon I’m sure under one pretext or another.


  11. Just thinking about those mandarins makes me see red and yellow. As a segment of the population who delight in taking the pith, they deserve to be violently compressed. I was tempted to mention Denis Healey but thought better of it..


  12. John, excellent – Blue Streak, Chevaline, TSR2, eurofighter, Trident-Millstone-Albatross, THORP etc etc. Sorry, Jeepers, but Hieronimusb has you touché – Stephen Augustus Lovegrove is a Mandarin to his very pips … and, in-credibly, Chairman of … British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, whose malformed baby THORP is. A brief reminder about THORP from Wikipedia:

    “Construction of THORP started in the 1970s, and was completed in 1994. The plant went into operation in August 1997. Between 1977 and 1978 an inquiry was held into an application by British Nuclear Fuels plc for outline planning permission to build a new plant to reprocess irradiated oxide nuclear fuel from both UK and foreign reactors. The inquiry was to answer three questions: “1. Should oxide fuel from United Kingdom reactors be reprocessed in this country at all; whether at Windscale or elsewhere? 2. If yes, should such reprocessing be carried on at Windscale? 3. If yes, should the reprocessing plant be about double the estimated site required to handle United Kingdom oxide fuels and be used as to the spare capacity, for reprocessing foreign fuels?”. The result of the inquiry was that the new plant, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, was given the go-ahead in 1978, although it was not completed until the 1990s at a cost of £1.8 billion.

    In 1998/99, the plant faced severe economic difficulties when it failed to reach its reprocessing targets. Shut-downs for six months in the first half of 1998 and for several further months from December 1998, due to leakages, resulted in a failure to achieve the target of reprocessing 900 tonnes of fuel over that period. Most of the reprocessing contracts were with Germany and Japan.”

    Perhaps the Olympics will leave us, after all, with a warm glow …


  13. they cannot manage, control, scope out, understand, legally bind, specify, design, choose, negotiate, cost, judge, foresee, commercially assess, monitor, critique, contract, organise, discipline, trace…….
    ‘They’ being the government or the public sector…..most of these things are not happening in the real world…..its not a perfect fix but not handing out vast amounts of taxpaid money in the first place would remove a lot of this wastage…..


  14. Rather than Manchester – some tent in the Orkneys….
    An extra 2 days travel (there and back) can have them down to a 1 day week – and then they’ll need to fill their quota for illness (and Xmas shopping days off) – and Bingo ! Problem solved :)


  15. OR…..just a bit of conspiracy…..Has Cameron & Co. found their way to justify getting large numbers of troops on the streets………..during peacetime ? Lining up the Army (under any pretence) against the people of the country is quite a bold step for any government to take……..and with total collapse on the cards it might be useful to have those army types getting used to the idea that the ‘masses’ could be the enemy on which you may be required to turn your weapon !

    Just an aside thought……………


  16. Orkneys must be ruled out. Exactly how long would it be before we saw plans for Orkneys International Airport? Followed swiftly by urban development of every square foot of land above five fathoms (by Sir Humphries’ pals, natch)?


  17. Was it not at Thorp where shortly afterwards a catastrophic documentation failure led to 2Jags scuttling hurriedly off to Japan to bow and scrape for continued business? IIRC the Japanese discovered that Thorp workers had been simply copying the QA data over from the docs of the previous delivery, while management were too busy playing golf or (more likely) drafting letters of abject denial that Sir Humphries could send out to Norwegian and Irish MPs concerned about the radioactive filth that the very same management was discharging into the sea.


  18. Perhaps this is the plan from the beginning? Everyone is so tired of the troughers that a “plan from scratch” is announced that everyone thinks will be a new start but unfortunately not many of us will be looking at the men behind the curtain. Plus ca change.


  19. It’s a frog in a slowly boiling pan situation. The sheeple get used to the idea of the Army on the streets as G4S couldn’t cope and they do a sterling job. TPTB then say “hay look at the gret job the army did!” and the sheeple all agree and happily take more Army on the streets and then the police state becomes a reality. Classic blind being played here.


  20. An interesting item if only because it fails to harken to the only logical conclusion (whilst it is screaming from the rooftop as if a clarion of truth).

    It would be a dream if we could cure the sickness of the state with an infusion of untainted fresh thinkers – oh we do need them so. They could unwind all that is wrong. Simplify and correct. The sun will shine again, larks will rise, the sound of children’s voices, as they play, could fill the air.

    Who would support their candidacy however against the power of established interested parties. Who would defend them against the onslaught that would inevitably come as they realised and attempted to undo all that has been done to assure the continuance of the status-quo from which these oligarchies and elites feed?

    Is this the only chance, the last chance. Surely everything else, every other idea, form and concept of the state, has be done and done to death.

    Now, just maybe, we can have our leaders decided by a process as random as jury selection to assure their best chance of offering purity. What better means could there be? More democratic than democracy! Nothing better to assure perversion and self-seeking is not the immediate agenda of candidates.

    But a moment. What is the problem here? Is it not that everything the state and its government does is, at best, seen to only be just good enough. And too frequently is racked with corruption, illegitimacy, wastefulness, inefficiency plus, above all, that most insipid of all, the state alone holds the monopoly on the use of violent force.

    Without the threat of force the state cannot function. No subjects are truly voluntary. Yes we are given the pat of democracy as if that worked. We are given ‘the rule of law’ as if any normal man can find the means to resort to such an exclusive system. The state is out of control, out of the control of the majority of people who make-up its population and who’s property and work go to fund it all.

    But we are locked into it through no more than its general acceptance, the people’s unquestioning acquiescence to the fundamental of its necessity. We are startled before the state and cannot imagine how it could be any different, how on earth could the earth function without this, most ancient of institutions, in place.

    Like the air, the sun, night and day, food, nature and death; the state is seen as irreplaceable. Like men and women before took religious god to be the focus of humanity. Took serfdom to be inevitable. Took monarchies to be irreplaceable. Took tribal leaders, took family elders, took father and mother.

    From these common precepts of human life the fundamentalism of the state has been born. As each transition of ruler has come about so the true legitimacy has fallen away and in its place a more illusionary paradigm of deception grown.

    Like at the abolition of slavery people would holler: how will we work the land, who will take care of the slaves, its natural, its essential, its always been, its acceptable. But at that time who could foresee how the world would become without slavery. The arguments, no matter how persuasive are illegitimate once it is accepted that the condition is unendurable.

    Who can really foresee how the world will function in the absence of the state since we cannot understand the changes that will come about. All we can guess is that the rate of change is to be ever exponential.

    All that will be necessary to bring about the change will be a shift in human comprehension, in perception. Two elements are evident and can be seen as the denial recedes: 1. the state does not work indeed most problems emanate from the state and 2. the state, through its dependence on the use of violent force and lack of voluntarism, is illegitimate.

    As the individual’s process commences the counter questions one asks are initially sufficient to overwhelm and return one scurrying back into the comforting confines of statist thinking. No shame in that.

    As one progresses the answers are realised. It is a slow process since our world comprises of so much to make the state appear essential. We are immersed from the outset in such conformity.

    The simple illustration, from the Chauncey Gardener school, I find a help is to imagine human society to be as if a woodland (sounds a bit ‘new-age’ but stick with me please). We can have a team of woodsmen and gardeners to try to keep every little detail just-so but we can all realise the world cannot run be micromanaged like that – a forest is never going to be a garden. Things are going to keep growing, rotting and such – it cannot be helped.

    The alternative, in our woodland illustration, is to live with nature, to allow natural growth and cycles to occur. Instead of attempting to manage the woods top down, and fighting it all the way, let nature do what it does better than man ever can. Let nature manage each and every cell, organism, insect and on to ultimately every great tree and it will always be balanced and sustaining. The right decisions for the woodland’s continuation will be assured.

    Nature has long since worked through every lesson we need learn. Everything mankind does is a part of the natural process, even if that is poisoning our planet with radioactivity or building self-replication cyborgs that destroy us all!

    I am not saying we should go back to nature, not at all. My point is simply that we should allow the world to run ground-up not top down.

    There should be law and that law can be formed from the common judgement of the cases as they occur with courts acting little more than in arbitration.

    There should be the right to property and that right commences with the right to ones own body and the product of ones effort. One has the right that ones property should not be harmed by the actions of another.

    How we arrive at this point is dependant only on the peoples complete rejection of the concept of the state. If we do not find this for ourselves it believe it is inevitable that mankind will be subjected to a progressively authoritarian state the objective of which is only its own self perpetuation.


  21. You expect one civil servant to mitigate the egos and rampant stupidity of 19 private sector chisellers? A bit of an ask, really.


  22. Err one civil servant is supposed to mitigate the rampant stupidity of the other 19 on the Committee?. That’s a bit of an ask, even for a mandarin.


  23. @morningstar Just an aside thought……………

    oh no, you are dead right this is exactly how it works.



  25. Pingback: John Ward – Analysis: How The City And The Government Gang-Banged The Legal Aid Budget – 23 December 2013 | Lucas 2012 Infos

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