Modern government, expensive and incompetent

We are mugs to put up with this.

Dennis fire engine 1955 Dennis fire engine 1955

We write in praise of Richard North, noted for his blogging and writing,who has fixed his sights on the fallout from the Icelandic ash cloud. The best explanation available of this starts HERE (1). The articles are in date order, (2) and (3) finally (4).

This is far from the first major subject to be analysed by him: the swine flu fiasco, the performance of the UK military in the Iraq war and the great global warming scam are typical big subjects that he has covered. When the Icelandic volcano erupted and the ash cloud drifted towards the UK there was, at first, an air of merriment about it all. Following the collapse of the Icelandic banks, the UK and Iceland went a bit soft on each other. Naturally the UK MSM took it out of the errant Icelandic bankers, big time, but the UK was not without blame either. Eventually it was seen that the UK Financial Services Authority did not act wisely, if at all. So big country versus small, they've been slogging it out in the press ever since.

Then came the cloud. Alas, rather like our FSA made a bit of a mess of things, so did the authorities behind the UK airspace closure. The airlines can look after themselves, or they should. But following the financial crisis in the UK we now have a tradition of bailing out large companies, like Northern Rock. This should have been allowed to fail but will now be used as the working model should an airline decide it needs state help, and a case could be made for just that. Northern Rock messed itself up, by contrast the airlines, willing to take the responsibility on whether to fly or not, were prevented from acting. The sums of money involved, lost revenue for the airlines, are vast and are in inverse proportion to the resources the regulatory authorities had, or deployed, to ascertain the level of risk from the ash cloud.

The Bloody Sunday inquiry in Northern Ireland took umpteen years and millions of pounds to come to a conclusion. It's hard to imagine that the airlines affected won't seek to be compensated one way or another. They would like the money, yes, but we can also see they would like changes made. I'm sure they would also like the people responsible for their loss removed from office. I'd be surprised if they would accept some worthy soul from the civil service chairing an inquiry on the lines of Chilcot on Iraq. We can also assume they look for a result sooner than later.

What happened to cause the ash cloud cock-up is in many ways typical of modern government. Nothing is simple and effective. Costs always go up while service quality goes down. Generally no person is ever removed from post following their failure, although Sharon Shoesmith was sacked from her post as Head of Haringey Social Services without compensation. So this may serve as another model and so worry a few well paid people.

This YouTube video HERE, shows a lorry on fire at the roadside in 1965. Imagine such a thing today. A police helicopter would be overhead, roads would be closed for hours and so gridlocked. Anyone walking past on their way home would be tasered then arrested and have their DNA taken and stored for life. The weight of paperwork following this little 'incident' beyond imagination. There would be an inquiry and 'lessons would be learnt', a favourite phrase that. But this is how, at any level, the public services operate. And like mugs we put up with it.