"For years I told suppliers to think very carefully before taking on the business and political risk of dealing with people who didn’t know what they were doing and were wilfully blind to how unpopular it would be. I should have added: the suppliers should also expect to be treated with contempt, corporately and as individuals.
There’s a dark humour in this. The more the control model fails, the more desperate the attempts to exert more control. It’s well worth a read, and it does make for desperate reading.
If a court requires disclosure about the Benighted Scheme (think BAe/Saudi Arabia, illegal immigrant security guards in Home Office etc) suppliers are required by the NDA to be as uncooperative as possible with the request. Instead they must co-operate with Home Office/IPS agencies to challenge the validity of any requirement to disclose. This sums up the Home Office’s open government philosophy.
The Home Office will pick up half the tab of the legal challenge. Who cares? It’s only taxpayers money, and what better activity to spend it on than contesting legalistic do-gooders trying to be open about the Benighted Scheme?
Company premises, and the premises of individuals working for the companies, can be searched without warrant on the sayso of the Home Secretary. Who cares? These are but filthy profit-grubbing private sector people, barely worth getting a proper pension. They take the generous patronage of the Home Office IPS, and can expect to forego some basic rights for 25 years.
Too true. There are people who work in the public sector whose job it it to manage procurement, do the project management with selected suppliers and be responsible for producing the end result.
Now I don't like to go off the deep end too often**, but I've never been involved in a project like that where the 'client' (the civil servant) isn't a incompetent, obnoxious shithead who wouldn't be able to run a bath, and wouldn't give two fucks if it ran over because the blame can always be shovelled off onto someone else.
So, I'm with the Ideal Government blog so far. But earlier in the post, there's this:
How will the porous information-sharing made possible by the internet affect those in power?
To put it differently:
As we increasingly get our act together by self-organising, how are we going to coexist happily with the legacy of coercive control freaks?
Again, it seems to me that there is a presumption in favour of making government ministers conduct every transaction and conversation in public. I don't believe that it's possible to take this position and be in favour of representative democracy at the same time. When you win an election, you surely deserve the opportunity to govern without a running commentary from everybody who has a vested interest in taking a course of action that you wouldn't choose?
Certainly, looking at the list of like-minds further down the post (Henry Porter! Simon Jenkins! Oh-noes!), I doubt if this transparency would be expected to stop at incompetence in procurement and delivery of government projects?
Either way, wouldn't all of these people be better off arguing for in-and-outers? That may be a far more effective way of dealing with bureaucratic incompetence and indifference? I doubt if there are many government ministers that aren't close to despair every day at their impotence in the face of central government.
I've titled this post similarly to one I wrote a while ago about the BBC - from those that you wish to hobble, you first demand transparency.
It doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in. This truism reflects a very well defended set of bureaucratic interests. Their chief battle cry? An impartial civil service!
I'd love a Labour government to take on the FDA and defeat them in the way that the Tories took on the NUM.
Won't happen, will it? :-(
** Ok, ok, that may not be true