Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Sticking it to Gordo & the EU

"These strikes are proving to be for Gordon Brown a double whammy. The claim of 'British jobs for British workers' looks a pretty empty promise. Worse still, it shows the European Union has us in a double arm lock. British workers are being specifically excluded from working on contracts by European contractors - contracts won by European contractors to operate in our very own country."

Book review - John Seddon's latest

"This waste of our money is just madness. Do you ever wonder how the Government came to make such a pig's ear of running the public services...? The argument compellingly made in this that the Government has designed failure into almost everything it does on our behalf... it is culpable because it has failed to listen to people who know better how to run services on behalf of the customer." 
--Philip Johnston,

"Essential reading for every national and local politician, every public servant or indeed anyone who cares about public services. It describes and explains how command-and-control thinking is having a devastating effect on our public services but more importantly identifies how we can go about putting it right! A cracking read from the first page to the last."
 --Steve Greenfield, County Trading Standards Officer, Suffolk County Council

"This book is uncomfortable, challenging and very direct. It offers huge learning and insight. It is buttock-clenching in places. It stimulates different thinking and methods that should be strongly encouraged and welcomed in the pursuit of excellent public services. A superb read."
 --David McQuade, Deputy Chief Executive, Flagship Housing Group 

With the UK's public sector in crisis, John Seddon's fiercely outspoken new book is already causing a stir. Wrong-headed, ill thought-out reform from a succession of monetarist governments has led to unwieldy systems of mass production that do little for the people they are supposed to serve. Hospitals, local authorities, schools, housing associations, taxation and benefits offices: all are victims of a dysfunctional regime created by a government-enforced culture of deliverology that puts targets and red tape before people. In Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, John Seddon argues powerfully for the government to forget sticking plasters like CRM and citizen empowerment and says don't tweak the system. Ditch it. Systems Thinking in the Public Sector gives example after example of exactly how the system fails from housing benefits and care for the elderly to call centres like Consumer Direct. Drawing on Seddon's extensive experience working as a consultant with UK public sector managers, this is a fiercely uncompromising, yet rigorous manifesto for change.

my only connection is as a reader of this outstanding book

Thursday, 29 January 2009

fun quiz

My Political Views
I am a center-right social libertarian
Right: 2.25, Libertarian: 5.41

Political Spectrum Quiz

Citigroup about to complete purchase of brand new $50 million corporate jet,

From Think Progress:

One the one hand: people who make executive jets are part of the economy too.

On the other hand: bloody hell, are they trying to make us hate them?

Update: Obama told them to cancel the jet. He's keeping airforce one, though.


Comment of the day

By Lola, over at Mark Wadsworth's, discussing bail-outs for the automotive industry and the state of the economy.

"This all goes back to inflation and what it really is. I always struggled with the view set out in my economics books that inflation is the of the rise in prices. I prefer the quantity and velocity of money idea. Price rises are the result of inflation not the cause of it. In other words too much money has been made, and its price has therefore reduced - oversupply. The things that were measured in that money, cars, labour (time) are still the same price, but now as the pounds are smaller more of them are required for any given value of wealth or labour. To solve this the supply of money has to be reduced (this is why the banks should either be allowed to go bust or be forced into debt for equity swaps - doing either of these will disappear excess money from the system).

Cars are bought on finance. 90% of them - btw I own all my cars outright! Finance requires money to expand. How is this going to be done when the forces of the market are forcing it to contract money supply, aka deflate?

Brown does not get this. This can be seen in his expansion of credit in Sterling whilst prices of goods were being kept low by inceasing efficiencies in foreign manufacturers. He thought he had mastered inflation. He does not understand what inflation is. Now that the World has cottoned on to his inflation we have to pay more pounds Sterling for our imports.

What really hacks me off is that UK car makers are now broadly as good or better than anywhere else in the world. It is not their fault that people have no confidence, and nor is the credit available for them, to buy cars.

So yet again we see lefty abandonment of sound money and the consequential fake money spent on overheads killing off good businesses and driving (pun intended) unemployment.

Vote Labour. Vote wealth destruction. Vote poverty."

28 January 2009 22:29

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


From the Telegraph: Australia's wine exports have collapsed, falling for the first time in 15 years.

Apparently the credit crunch is hitting sales of Aussie wine in the UK. Funny, in my house the credit crunch has had the opposite effect. Hic!

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Kirkcaldy Narcissist

James Forsyth analyses Nick Cohen at the Spectator, and so do a number of excellent commentators.

The left made a bargain with the devil, and now we are all paying (well, lots of us are)

update: on advice of AC!, I have edited the title to be fair to anyone with autism.

Gordon the prophet

Gordon Brown shows the way. No pessimism, we should be embracing the dawn of a new world order.

Dangerous ravings of a madman, or visionary genius? Let us decide, and soon.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Can China be to blame?

Sebastian Mallaby at the Washington Post: As Broon blames the yanks, so US economists and politicians, including Obama, are blaming the Chinese. Manipulating exchange rates, keeping the RMB low has caused unlimited funds to be pushed into USA powering the asset bubble. So they say. 

It seems all politicians like to blame foreigners rather than look at themselves. 

I wonder who the Chinese are blaming; they have to persuade their population, facing rising unemployment, that it's not their fault.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Prodicus: You're too kind, your lordship

Prodicus: You're too kind, your lordship

Prodicus is spot on today, in his dissection of the one eyed wanker.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

We win!

According to mySociety, Gordon has backed down over FOI exemption for MPs' expenses.

Now I'd like to see an overhaul, where they get a bigger salary and buy what they want - no John Lewis list. 

Monday, 19 January 2009

Snouts in the trough

Having spent millions collating their expenses for publication, the MPs are about to vote to keep them exempt from FOI. 

Write to to you MP to protest and join the   facebook group  

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Go Jeff, Go!

My Prime Minister, back on form, putting in the boot.

Green shoots

At the Daily Mash: it's getting better and better over there.

We have a winner

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Recession: cover for a socialist utopia

At the Sunday Times:

"Recession is a chance to end unfair privilege" by Alan Milburn. 

Breathtaking; that's all I can say!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Fun online poll

From moneysupermarket:

So will it unleash a wave of consumer spending?  I'm on a fixed deal, but if I wasn't I'd save any extra money coming my way, or buy more beans & rice for my stockpile, which I suppose is good for the beans & rice importers and growers. 

My mum still has boxes of candles from the 70's miners' strikes.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


From The Times:  McDonald's to train 10,000 staff a year.

Looks like Gordo's extra apprenticeship money (if indeed it is extra) will be sucked up by companies like McDonald's labelling their exisiting training schemes as "apprenticeships".

H/T Snook Cocker

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Jeff Randall Sky Trailer

Jeff's trailer for his new show:

"What would I do if I were in government? Resign" 

 Oh dear, if Jeff doesn't have a plan, we're screwed.

Sign up! Sign up!

It is worth signing this petition, if only because you get the pleasure of an email that says:

Signing up to ask the Prime Minister to resign due to gross financial incompetence in running the British economy

Icy conditions

On BBC lunchtime news. "Warnings about icy conditions did not prevent accidents. " So says our intrepid young reporter standing in front of a crashed car. Idiot. Just becuase there were some accidents doesn't means that there weren't other potential accidents that were prevented by the warnings.

If he'd have said "warnings did not prevent all accidents" I'd have been happy, but as it was I had to shout at the TV at his poor logic. 

Brain donors

BBC reports a shortage of brain donors for research. I can suggest where they can locate some.

Staving off redundancies?

My company has announced it is cutting pay and working hours by 20%. I'm hoping it will reduce the risk or the amount of enforeced redundancies.

Side effects of property crash

Is there now going to be less of Melissa Porter, Sarah Beeny, Kirstie Allsopp and Naomi Cleaver on our TV screens? Were they responsible for the property bubble? No, that was created by ugly people.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Jerimiah Randall

Jeff Randall's on top form over at The Telegraph

"As far as this column is concerned, the Prime Minister's credibility as a steward of the nation's finances is beyond salvation. While masquerading as a promoter of hard work, thrift and personal accounta-bility, he has presided over a growing addiction to welfare and the destruction of our savings culture."

Fascinating? Scary more like.

Over at The Market Ticker, "Uh Oh..... Monetary Flat Spin"an article on Money Supply, diving and aerodynamics. Mark Wadsworth recommended it in a comment on Tim Worstall today.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Global Warming debate

A good article at The Australian today.