The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Protecting The “Frontline”?

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 29, 2010 @ 09:30

This kind of "front line" removes parasitic fleas and ticks from the system. How... ironic.

In recent times we’ve been told that cuts would be “compassionate” – if that even means anything. The idea behind it being that cuts would be very careful, and avoid damaging the front-line.

Then the government unveiled its Spending Challenge, hoping to crowd-source ideas for saving money by asking six million public sector workers who “work on the frontline” (quote from the Spending Challenge website).

Putting that in the context of the Budget, which estimated cuts of 25% will be needed in each unprotected department, there’s something not adding up here.

From what I know, the Spending Challenge has gone out to a large number of people who we very definitely would not consider to be working on “the frontline” of public services. They are administrators, or other back-office support staff. When Joe Public thinks of the term “front line” in the context of the public sector, they probably mean doctors, nurses, teachers, maybe social workers, etc…

With that in mind, the coalition government can’t have it both ways. It is fantasy politics to pretend that these 6m public sector workers being consulted are not going to be affected. Yet that is what’s happening. After all, those compassionate cuts are going to avoid the “front line”. And David Cameron and Nick Clegg have called them all “front line”.

More likely then, they are engaging in a rather amusing exercise of self-destruction. They are asking the public sector workers to think of ways they can make themselves obsolete. Clever.

The real problem, as ever, is politicians not being able to say what they really want to say. Without a doubt they want to tell millions of public sector workers that their jobs no longer exist, but they probably want to win the next election, after all.

So, instead, they’ll craftily redefine what it means by “the frontline” when it suits them. You can be sure when the 25% cuts bite, and redundancies are announced (which they will be), we will be told that our government at least has protected the jobs “on the frontline”, and these are the sacrifices we will have to make if we want to keep teachers and police officers in their jobs.

Yes, people are going to be asked to commit hara-kiri for the sake of our betters. Even though, in June 2010, those people laying down their jobs were very probably being asked by David Cameron and Nick Clegg to share their most radical thoughts. Because they, on the “frontline”, had the best vantage point to see what was going wrong.

Politics, eh.

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One Response to “Protecting The “Frontline”?”

  1. Neil Craig said

    If civil service retirals amount to 5% annually over 5 years it should be just about possible to cut 25% through natural wastage. Or they can just transfer them all to the NHS & Overseas Aid departments.

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