May 2011

Public service reform anyone?

Ignoring the lessons, not learning them

Shoesmith on the court stepsShoesmith on the court steps
So Ed Balls, thanks to the Sharon Shoesmith case, comes bouncing back into the limelight. The Shoesmith case is a tangled web of incompetence held together by emotion. As Ken Clarke found out last week with his remarks about rape there are some subjects that carry seriously high voltage emotion; this means rational debate and analysis is overwhelmed. It looks as if the same process is going to happen again and working out who did what with Balls, Shoesmith and others will be hard going. As things stand so far, as you might have guessed, nobody is doing well and looking good.

The Ken Clarke saga

A litmus test - if so, what was being tested?

Clarke, mad hatter No1Clarke, mad hatter No1
There is, we are told, 'no such thing as bad publicity'; well, the higher echelons of David Cameron's world, the inner sanctum and the No10 team, may disagree. Ken Clarke is in trouble over a remark he made about his plan for dealing with rape cases. He made the remark during a BBC radio interview in his capacity as Justice Secretary. There is more to the Clarke case than a second rate politico, well past his sell by date, getting bashed because of this remark. In a typically clumsy way Clarke made a mess of a simple situation. Do remember that Clarke goes by the name 'bruiser', a right wing reply to John Prescott, if it were needed, and perhaps it's not. Some would say the style of politics has moved on. There are two main problems here, the man and the remark. Let's start with the man.

Pigs, troughs, bankers and other related stories.

The financial crisis and the EU, will it ever, 'go away'?

The future of the euro?The future of the euro?
Well the Greek financial crisis is back in the news again. Mind you there's been some stiff competition of late, the royal wedding and the death of Bin Laden for example. But what we read about Greece is different, less dramatic, stale even, as it's about a year since the Greek bailout was announced. Also the root of the problem goes back such a long way it seems boring. It's not only Greece too, since their problems became newsworthy Ireland and Portugal have taken a turn. All the way through this saga there have been suggestions that the euro was, as a grand project, ill conceived and has been poorly managed since its introduction. The past behaviour of euro-stalwart Angela Merkel, taken as an example, shows that nerves are frayed. In real business, as opposed to the make-believe of the EU, there's a point when a failing venture is closed down. It goes into bankruptcy to avoid 'pouring good money after bad'. The point to remember with the EU is those doing the pouring are using other people's money. It's not for them to face up to reality.