Wednesday, 14 April 2010


That's the sound of more than six months flying by.

Neglect of blog due to absence of much inspiration and impending/new parenthood.

Will hopefully be making some more time for this in the coming months.
Anyway, on to "current events", aka the quintannual constructed illusion of choice.
Image by Tom Leonard: have a look at his fantastic journal here. And buy some of his poetry here.

Interesting to see SupaDave and the Conservatives making a play for the old community engagement wheeze with their whizzo hard-bound, nu-serious manifesto. Seems to echo the increasing popularity of harnessing the power of the volunteer sector amongst the upper echelons of local authority management. Delightful, sounds great and resonates strongly with all them high level competencies about leading change in the organisation, challenging existing thinking and most importantly will contribute to those efficiencies we're going to be hearing so much about in the coming year! All we have to do is replace all these pesky, awkward militant stick-in-the-muds who cling to the old notion of being paid for something you're good at with a shiny-eyed army of unpaid volunteers! It's the 21st century! It's not like anyone needs a full time job any more anyway eh?

The blind side of this "Volunteers as service providers" scheme is that it inevitably requires the recruitment of the two cadres of employees that are portrayed as the villains in the narrative of public service employment: managers (to co-ordinate this army of volunteers) and bureaucrats (to administrate it). Ironic that single most significant employment drive of this Conservative attempt to diminish the size of the state will probably involve the re-employment of the quangocracy, so despised by the Tory base.

It will also be interesting to see how the Tories try to sell their schools and police forces run by "Real People" in Scotland considering they have, um, neither the mandate nor the power to implement these changes.

Or will it just end up being a massive sell off of service provision to private companies who will tender competitive bids to local authorities only to begin immediately charging more for "additional services" once they get the contract?

Still, in the race to the bottom this inspiring political message from Scottish Labour wins it by a nose.

Probably as close to saying "DON'T EVEN BOTHER" as the parties are willing to go.
Which is ultimately what they want.

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