Joyce McMillan is right as usual when she deplores the way in which private-sector companies are usurping the role of the state – and, in the process, failing to deliver the services they claim to provide (Perspective, 20 July).
People like Nick Buckles are typical of the new breed of “managerialist”, a cadre of individuals who, instead of adding value to their organisations, exploit their manager status to leech on the profits by paying themselves obscenely high salaries. Sadly, this is not now confined to the private sector: since the Thatcher era, when public bodies were urged to adopt “business practice”, it has become widespread in the public sector too.
As McMillan rightly points out, the excuses offered by Buckles and his colleagues would not wash from the “lower levels” of employees, who would lose their jobs forthwith, especially now the threshold for claiming employment rights has increased to two years.
In a recession it is particularly unethical that individuals who have negotiated significant salaries by their self-proclaimed ability to get the job done are allowed to get away with it in such a blatant fashion.
(Dr) Mary Brown
I read with my usual interest Joyce McMillan’s article, “Be confident the state can provide”.
I thought I would consult the internet in an attempt to determine the nature of our forms of government. I will avoid such cheap and arguably unfair shots as foolocracy, kleptocracy and kakistocracy and will settle instead for millionocracy, plutocracy and corporatocracy, descriptions which are surely indisputable.
However, my main point is that she could have mentioned the recent privatisation, by the SNP government, of the Northern Isles ferry link by the award of the contract to Serco previously described as “probably the biggest company you’ve never heard of”.
This would have supported her expressed disappointment in the SNP administration’s tendency to “share so many of the British state’s obsequious attitudes to the might of big business”. In my view this does not bode well for an independent or pseudo-independent Scotland.
Serco already manages the National Physical Laboratory, the National Nuclear Laboratory, two immigration removal centres, the UK Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, the naval base on the Clyde, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (in partnership), not to mention the provision of facilities management services at Wishaw General Hospital.
This is only a tiny fraction of the contracts awarded to this “empire” at home and abroad.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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