Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Government rejects DIY

I am a bit ambivalent about the appointment of a retail tycoon to get involved in a review of government spending. "Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green has agreed to advise the Government on how to make efficiency savings." Obviously, his attitude to maximising any money he spends will be of use but could go the way the super-markets have screwed the milk producers and other suppliers.

Green reckons that "one of the things he intends to suggest is a centralised buying system for Whitehall in order to improve the way the biggest purchases are carried out." That is a tall order - from recent internal reports the MOD alone has only chaotic methods of buying. The Defence Fox has been let loose in the chicken run and promises to wield big pruning shears. Difficult to see how Green might make proposals when the structure of the organisation is up in the air. We abandoned 'buying enough to have stock on the shelves' methods to 'Just in Time' procurement and look where that got us with the helicopters and I am sure that Topshop has never had an Urgent Operational Requirement to source Kate Moss' knickers or her medications.

Green is not the only consultant that has been invited into telling us how to run things. "Now comes the Marks & Spencer ministry. The high-street giant, along with Tesco, B&Q owners Kingfisher and HSBC, has been asked to advise national government on saving money" There is another ominous commonality - Green is known for his asset-stripping and forcing down payroll costs and the major super-markets keep a tight watch on their headcount.

And where will it all end? If our MPs and associated civil servants have no DIY ability where will they get the brain-power to run the Government through the massive changes they are being forced to consider? Paul McKenna is a illusionist who seems able to have us all clamouring that black is white after our looking into his eyes.

Just imagine him on prime time TV telling us it would be good for us to give up our pensions, switch to wind-up cars and slaughter our first born. Apparently his method on appetite reduction is to tell fatties to believe that the chocolate cup-cake in front of them is really a turd coated in maggots. Just think what he could achieve as a government consultant telling us that the maggoty turd was in fact a cup cake!

Supposedly coming home soon is one Asil Nadir who has been skulking in Turkish Cyprus on the run from the UK police. "Nadir came to prominence in the 1980s as a tycoon and the CEO of British conglomerate Polly Peck. An organisation with over 24,000 shareholders and interests ranging from produce to electronics, his alleged criminal mismanagement led to its collapse in 1990. Nadir secretly transferred nearly £200m from Polly Peck to companies in northern Cyprus in the two years before the group went out of business in 1990. The transfers were so large that the cumulative cash outflow became so great that the group was unable to meet its obligations and thus collapsed. The receivers paid out 2.9P in the £ when the rubble was sifted.

Nadir also emerged as the owner of £25m-worth of properties in northern Cyprus purchased by Polly Peck. The ownership of another £22m of properties was unclear because no owner was recorded."

Surely, we can find him a nice consultancy somewhere. Revising the MPs allowances system anyone?

There is a whole world of talent out there just aching to come and do what our elected representatives can neither understand, plan or implement. Remember the way in which they seek to evade problems. Duff non-forensic pathologists in Kelly, The poorly qualified pathologist who did the initial PM on the G20 murder. Put the blame on someone else - certainly do not involve those who are supposed to supervise who does what. So, when any of these advisers put their reputation to their recommendations, they will be easy meat to take the blame.

By the way - anyone come up with anything good from that serial expert adviser Richard Branson? What did we get from the Apprentice selector?

Were I asked to give advice, I know what it would be. Everyone make sure they have a good strong paddle. You will need it because we are all going up that creek where so many find themselves without such an implement.

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