July 2024

Welcome to the Age of Incompetence

The most distinguishing characteristic of the last decade or so must be the rise of incompetence throughout the whole public sector and political classes. The incompetent are too many to list, so here I’ll just mention a few.

As the NHS has doubled its budget yet gone from 8 beds per manager to 3.6 beds per manager, perhaps the person who best personifies the rise of the utterly useless is Cynthia Bower. Bower was head of the strategic health authority that was responsible for the mid-Staffordshire hospital where hundreds died from appalling lack of care. Laughably she was promoted to head of the Care Quality Commission – responsible for patient care throughout the NHS.

Then there’s Hector Sants, boss of the FSA as its budget shot up to £500m a year while it completely failed to regulate the banks and stood idly by doing nothing during the greatest financial crash in British history. His incompetence was rewarded in the New Year’s honours list.

At the Bank of England, liar and buffoon (IMHO) Mervyn King was knighted and had millions of our money stuffed in his pension pot as a reward for utter failure. The only saving grace at the BoE was that neither of the other (IMHO) liars and buffoons – Paul Tucker and Charles Bean – was given the useless Mervyn King’s job.

Two other regulators – Ofgem and Ofwat – have also distinguished themselves by doing nothing at all to regulate the energy and water markets while increasing their own budgets, salaries and bonuses every year including every year since the financial meltdown.

Then there’s the extraordinary Lin Homer, former chief executive of Birmingham City Council. Ms Homer ran Birmingham from 2002 to 2005, when she was responsible for 57,000 council staff. But her period at the council was marred by a postal voting scandal which led a judge to order fresh elections in two Birmingham wards. Election judge Richard Mawrey said fraud in the city “would have disgraced a banana republic”. Ms Homer ran into fresh difficulties when she became Director General of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to come to and stay in Britain. And now she is the new Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, earning £155,000 a year.

We also had George Entwhistle at the BBC, the hopeless Baroness Ashton running the EU’s diplomatic service and two clowns – Barroso and Van Rompuy – from bankrupt, basket-case non-countries (Portugal and Belgium) in charge of the EU.

In British politics, our worst ever chancellor, Gordon Liar Brown, was promoted to PM as a reward for bankrupting Britain. Then when the Coalition got in, David Cameron seems to have thought it appropriate to make one of his dimmest chums chancellor rather than giving the job to someone with the faintest smidgin of competence. Meanwhile, in the Labout Party the two people who might have been able to pull Britain out of the economic catastrophe inflicted by Brown – David Miliband and Alastair Darling – have been shunted aside in favour of the incompetent Brown’s utterly incompetent bag carriers – Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

God help us!

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