Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Home Office is multliply split already
The Home Office will never be successfully reformed (not in the quite long-term foreseeable future), and splitting in the way proposed will make non-communication between the different sub-departments even worse than it is already.
The core problems at the Home Office are a combination of profound lack of confidence (in anything but 'watch your back') and will -- other than to perpetrate political correctness fascism -- that is both 'institutional' and the product of the collective mindsets of the employees; together with a range of deeply engrained major management and culture failings; all exacerbated by government target setting and interference.
Most obviously, everything concerning immigration does not work, and it is necessary that the parts of the Home Office and the DWP (the near non-existent checking re NINO and benefit applications) that currently don't work and don't talk to each other, are forced together. A new department, ideally; with a database of full immigration histories of all applications for government services at its core (we are going to have the ID card database whether we like it or not, plus biometric passports). This would be an 'internal gateway' system to make up for the complete failure of external borders for which there is no fix in sight. in this way, the millions of those here illegally now, and -- even more so -- the many more millions who will otherwise come to Britain (because of the multiple unique pull factors that the UK has compared to other developed countries) will not easily be able to make a life for themselves and can therefore be dissuaded from staying/coming. The huge social and economic costs of failing to do this are incalculable.
This is a relevant extract from the new edition of my book, The Great Immigration Scandal:
Understanding the origin of the astonishing attitude of the political classes is a key to understanding what has gone wrong with the IND and with the Home Office as a whole, and why it is that John Reid can openly slap down his own department as 'dysfunctional' and 'not fit for purpose' and be largely correct. It is increasingly recognised that the origins of the Home Office's woes go far back, albeit appallingly exacerbated by New Labour's cavalier attitude to immigration levels, and its news management 'target culture' hold over the civil service. The question of the cause of the great immigration scandal is sometimes posed as a choice between:
(a) The deliberate (but carefully concealed) policy of ex-socialist internationalists to undermine traditional English culture and nationhood (hence the enthusiasm for the EU).
(b) The control of inflation by importing cheap labour, thereby overcoming Labour's historic record of economic incompetence.
(c) The incapacity of Whitehall to deliver on policy issues (or to organise a proverbial p***-** in a brewery).
Well it's a bit of each and it's also more complicated than that, not least in that all three are linked. Recent years have witnessed the appointment in high places of those whose politics accords with our Left-orientated political masters; who might be considered good at radical thinking but are useless at radical action: certainly not the sort of drastic remedies required for the practical running of a large organisation that is drifting toward the rocks.* Compounding this is the creaking old style of public administration, overwhelmed by the demands of the modern world - hardly unforeseeable when you consider how senior civil servants are selected and rewarded. How does Oxbridge brilliance in the classics provide a remotely adequate test of the managerial skills needed for policy delivery? Many Sir Humphreys have no practical experience at all, having been fast-tracked straight from the elite universities. It is well-known in the senior civil service that the management skills needed to deliver services at the coal-face don't tend to be rewarded, just as academics are not valued for their teaching ability. An internal civil service staff survey found that in the Home Office just six percent of staff thought that poor performance was dealt with effectively. A major IPPR (Institute of Public Policy Research) report in August 2006 found a dire problem across the civil service in the absence of external public accountability and effective performance management.
There are also major problems endemic in civil service (and particularly in Home Office) culture that are the same as those that bedevil individuals within the political classes generally - and I don't mean merely the prioritizing of presentation over content. There is a chasm between themselves and ordinary people; a complete failure to understand how ordinary people live their lives. Specifically there is the leftist do-gooder's inability to grasp the central concept of 'the tragedy of the commons'. There is also a much more serious chasm in the stance of 'political correctness fascism': the great backlash against ordinary people by the political Left that leads to absurdities such as the assumption of the inalienable entitlement of overseas nationals to settle here taking precedence over the rights and interests of British citizens. It is convenient to mask utter failure with the great imperative of the day - 'equal opportunities and diversity' (EO&D). The Home Office, being the lead department in government in this regard, has disappeared down a blind alley, treating EO&D as an end in itself and a raison d'etre for its existence. The joke recently circulating is that the whole department is being run and staffed as if full of 1970s sociology graduates. It is in a very real sense a retreat from not just commercial reality but from all reality.
Friday, March 09, 2007
The sacked Tory and the punched woman: anti-racism hysteria IS racism
would it have been a top news story if the victim had been:
(b) not of an ethnic minority (crudely: not white)?
(c) both male and 'white'?
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Not 'Enforcing the Rules', just 'enabling compliance'
The proclamation that "we will ensure that the right systems and controls are in place is not accompanied by even an outline of any system to achieve the main object: of preventing those not entitled to government services from accessing them. A trumpeted supposed tightening up of giving out National Insurance numbers by the DWP apparently is merely ad hoc spotting of a few suspicious applications by some DWP staff who might then refer to the IND. This 'reform' led to less than 400 instances of the denial of NI cards last year, instead of the many thousands any proper procedure would be expected to uncover. It is no system at all.