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February 12, 2012

Comments

JamesP

It's weird, but it makes me feel good that this is in the Mail. That's the bastards' core constituency, after all, and if they can be turned against it there's a reasonable chance of stopping it.

jamie

Not only that, but they also took the story from Spinwatch, normally considered a bit too radical a source for big media. The Tories who want this stopped really seem to want it stopped.

chris y

At this point Milliband could sew up the next election by standing up in the house and saying "A Labour government will repeal this legislation in its entirety", and sitting down again.

10 to 1 he won't.

ajay

What I'm not clear about is why Cameron's put his political credibility on the line, not for ideological or populist reasons, but to ensure McKinsey's bottom line.

Yes, it's a puzzle. What possible motive could a moderately young, ambitious, money-hungry but not particularly wealthy politician have for doing an immense favour for a company which has a habit of hiring politicians?

ejh

Yes, but I suspect most people would consider that in becoming Prime Minister the gentleman had already reached greater heights than any employment with McKinsey could possibly constitute.

Though if it were Mr Blair, mind you...

ajay

ejh: Prime Minister? Meh. Long hours, mediocre salary, and it's not exactly a job for life, is it? Got to think about the future here. As Blair did (though via JP Morgan rather than McKinsey).

ejh

it's not exactly a job for life, is it?

No, but ex-Prime Minister is, these days.

ajay

Indeed; as long as you take the time while in office to build up profitable connections to exploit out of office.

jamie

Yes, I think Ajay's got it: PM is a mid career resume point; so also for various ministers.

guthrie

So the older ideal of serving your country is dead? That explains a lot.

Barry Freed

Different meaning of "serving" is all. Like that Twilight Zone episode.

seeds

It's not so much regulatory capture here as regulatory conquest

I think that this is a feature of McKinsey culture - having working closely with McKinsey alumni in a previous career, this all seems horribly unsurprising.

I remember one small company run by a couple of McKinsey guys started providing advice to a couple of small public sector departments. Within a year, they had staff actually working in the departments on a part-time basis and were winning funding for projects specifically tailored to use large sums of government money on... consultancy services. It was like a virus taking over a host's cells and using them to generate reports that cost about two grand a page and large drinks bills run up on the cells' own expenses.

Before that, when I was thinking of applying to McKinsey (before realising that I would hate it (and that I didn't have the A levels)) I seem to remember reading that the "public sector practice" was based in London. However, now I can only find a rather testy FAQ on their recruiting page:

Isn't most of the work in London in the public sector?
No, that's not the case. From the 'Our Work' section of this site you will see that many of our global industry and functional practices are located in London and Dublin. While we have an active public sector practice, including public healthcare, this is one of several and should be kept in overall context. The scale of our involvement has sometimes been exaggerated: we estimate McKinsey represents around 2 percent of public sector expenditure on management consultancy in the U.K.

On the other hand, it is worth having a glance at their recent publication "When clinicians lead".

Well, I say recent - it was written by two of their London employees in February 2009.

[links removed for spam filter?]

Strategist

>>> when the economy enters a long depression, securing lines of revenue from the taxpayer becomes a more important profit strategy for business

Yup, that's 100% what it's about. The desperate, needy quest for the easiest, fastest buck.

NomadUK

So the older ideal of serving your country is dead?

You've only just noticed that?

ejh

I think it's implausible (and a wholly unnecessary thesis) that a Prime Minister who's pursued a political career above all things for twenty years has organised his NHS policy purely (or largely) as an insurance policy to look after himself in his otherwise poverty-stricken post-political old age.

It's rather more likely that he has no objection to what McKinsey were trying to do, or to the way in which they were doing it. That he would see both as entirely normal. Both were completely in tune with his instincts and experience.

More than that, you don't need.

ajay

Hague, of course, is ex-McKinsey, which is why it's so puzzling that our foreign policy seems to be doing rather well, at least by recent standards.

Chris Williams

Because there's less of a tradition of farming out foreign policy? or perhaps the actually existing FO is the _already_ the product of a successful consultant takeover? I'd figure the Corporation of London for the perp, and c1698 for the time of death.

BTW, we've come quite a long way to hell in this particular handcart already: the McKinsey MO is exactly the same as that used by IBM to get its mitts on government business in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. An MO which didn't work with British police, as it happens. The trick was to show them the door at stage one OR refer them to the guys in Whitehall who know what they are doing. The rot set in, I think, when (1) Coppers were allowed to get their own computer systems thus stopped pointing to the door and (2) said Whitehall guys were themselves outsourced.

Cian

ejh: Prime Minister? Meh. Long hours, mediocre salary, and it's not exactly a job for life, is it? Got to think about the future here. As Blair did (though via JP Morgan rather than McKinsey).

So the enormously wealthy prime-minister, married to the even wealthier heiress, is worried about his retirement. This seems implausible.

dsquared

Hague is the unusual one, in that he always was a political junkie and may even have seen McKinsey as a stepping stone to politics rather than vice versa - he's always been a man out of time.

I think Ajay is right on Cameron (Osborne, there isn't even a question here - he sees his future in American wingnutism and has said so in interviews). His "political career" has never really had much politics to it - see the way that he switched from writing the 2005 manifesto, to being the face of modernisation and detoxifying the Tory Party from the horrors of the 2005 manifesto. He spent most of it in backroom and party-machine staff and PR jobs for the Conservative party, which is basically the industry of channelling corporate money in one direction and legislative favours in the other. That's what he got into politics to do (without much exaggeration, given his family are old City/Tory grandees, it's a job he was practically born into, like an undertaker).

ajay

So the enormously wealthy prime-minister, married to the even wealthier heiress, is worried about his retirement. This seems implausible.

Cameron isn't all that wealthy. He and the missus are only worth £4 million between them and most of that is in the form of their two houses. That's not really WEALTH. That's just, well, comfortably off. Blair is probably worth ten times as much.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1280554/The-coalition-millionaires-23-29-member-new-cabinet-worth-1m--Lib-Dems-just-wealthy-Tories.html

Chris Williams

The poor dears - money like that sticks your nose right against the window to the _truly_ wealthy. Then primate status games kick in and it's all unfulfilled desire from here to Lady Day.

I'd even feel a bit sorry for them, were it not for the fact that, uncontrolled this "already rich bastards wanting to be yet richer" mechanism is in process of messily screwing up the species and the planet that I love the most.

ajay

I blame capitalism. In a less modern society he'd be happy with a peerage.

guthrie

No, I could tell that ages ago. I came of age in the New labour period, and could tell even then that things weren't right. I just lacked the knowledge of history and culture to put it in context.

The older service to your country had its good and bad points, but at least you could be reasonably sure that the elite were rooting for this country. Hence you actually got right wing types arguing for free school meals. Ok, the context was in raising well fed men able to defence the empire. By contrast the ideology today is more international and money focused than ever before. At least in 'the good old days' there was some nobless oblige and charity expected. Now the more you ignore the poor the better.

Surely the point re. millionaires is that Blair wasn't one before he came into office and has blatantly used his position for self enrichment. By contrast Cameron et al were already millionaires when they took office.

Are the rest of the readers of this thread aware of the G4S takeover of policing in Lincolnshire? Not only are they getting back office staff but are also going to build and operate a police station. Even right wing reactionaries on the Inspector Gadget blog are noticing, that is how blatant the takeover of the state has become.
Obligatory reading - Monbiot's "Captive State".

Chris Williams

Ooh, ta for the heads up about Lincs, guthrie. Makes a change, the UK police being in the service-buying business: historically, they were more keen to sell than to buy.

The question to ask about the G4S staff is: "Are they in Unison, in the manner of the staff employed by the police authority to previously do the jobs?"

CMcM

Cameron isn't all that wealthy. He and the missus are only worth £4 million between them and most of that is in the form of their two houses. That's not really WEALTH.

I may be a naive innocent in these matters, having never knowing met anyone worth anything like that, but surely I'm not alone in finding that quite a remarkable statement?

guthrie

Here's a recent link. http://www.channel4.com/news/private-security-firm-could-run-uk-police-station
It doesn't matter what union the staff are in, their pay and conditions are bound to be lowered.

The police themselves are in a complex situation. The chief officers, now known as the senior management (An indicator of rotten thinking) completed their sell out under new labour and are wholly in favour of any reforms which give them more money. The only one to speak out against the cuts is one from IIRC Gloucestershire, who is coming up for retirement soon. The rest fear loss of future promotion opportunities. Meanwhile on the ground officers have an average pay loss of 10% and some as high as 20% due to increased pension payments (Already double what most other civil servants pay) and cuts to overtime and suchlike. In many areas PCSO's and specials are being used as cheap stopgaps, but cutting back office staff also ensures normal police are brought in to the office to fill in. Basically it's a total mess and the only ones to benefit will be the crooks and consultants.

ajay

surely I'm not alone in finding that quite a remarkable statement?

CMcM: just to clarify, it was meant slightly tongue in cheek. I personally think that £4m definitely counts as WEALTH. But I rather doubt that it counts as WEALTH by the standards of the sort of person Cameron knows. He's also not rich in the sense of having large amounts of disposable income (his wealth is mostly in the form of property, which he and his family are living in and which therefore doesn't yield much of a return).

guthrie

On the selling front, ACPO has been selling stuff for years, all to benefit the senior management. Its a nice cosy setup. If you sell security stuff you can get POlice approved logos from them, I assume for a bit of money.

The rank and file though don't get a penny. They just get pushed from pillar to post. The Winsor whitewash is remarkably similar to that of Sheehy in the early 90's which helped persuaded my parents never to vote Tory bastard again. Politicians and a lot of people seem to have weird ideas about law and order stuff. I'd like to the police TV programs help give the public a reasonable idea of what goes on, but they are often old repeats and don't tell you the current dire situation. And anyway the coppers generally would prefer not to be critical of their management because otherwise they'll be done for something.

Disclosure - my dad retired 10 years ago and is happy to be out of it. My grandfather was a chief constable, which of course involved politics, but in the good old days they hadn't swallowed all the managerialist bullshit.

Dan Hardie

Guthrie: 'On the selling front, ACPO has been selling stuff for years, all to benefit the senior management...If you sell security stuff you can get POlice approved logos from them, I assume for a bit of money.'

Thanks, Guthrie. I'd always wondered why ACPO was registered as a limited company, and just assumed it was mainly to use 'commercial confidentiality' to avoid disclosing details of police policy-making. Maybe that is the main motive, or perhaps they are just as interested in making a buck for the top cops. Do you have any good reading recommendations on the subject, print or online?

G4S, by the way, provide the Gurkhas who carry out the military demonstrations at the OPTAG training centre down at Hythe and Lydd, where all soldiers due to be deployed to Afghanistan have to do at least one week's training. One of the less sinister manifestations of the privatisation of security, but I would like an accountant to run his eyes over that contract.

Strategist

He and the missus are only worth £4 million between them and most of that is in the form of their two houses. That's not really WEALTH.

...surely I'm not alone in finding that quite a remarkable statement?

Aww c'mon Charlie, among Cameron's peers a mere £4 mil locked up in two houses is virtually the church mouse.

If he didn't improve on that in the first few years of his ex-PM hood then certainly the likes of Tony & Cherie would consider him a loser in life (as they would think of Gordo & Sarah). But I think they can rest easy - Cameron will certainly cash in on the Blair model - but (as any 1997 vintage Blair voter must reluctantly concede) with a touch more class.

Cian

I thought Cameron was the one who couldn't remember how many houses he owned. Am I mistaking him for somebody else.

I'm still not buying it. He got his first job through a recommendation from the palace. His wife has a very well paid job because she's posh. If they wanted money, they'd have no problem making it.

Barry Freed

That sounds like it was John McCain from about 4 years ago.

FWIW (Probably not much, it being the Mail but YMMV).

ajay

Dan: "The Group 4 Gurkhas" sounds like it should be a derogatory nickname for some regiment or other... and I'd like to know why the army can't supply its own Gurkhas for things like that. Does G4S also supply the Gurkhas for RMAS?

I thought Cameron was the one who couldn't remember how many houses he owned. Am I mistaking him for somebody else.

Yeah, that was McCain, in an interview in August 2008.

guthrie

I'm afraid I've no idea who is watching ACPO. I'm an internet expert rather than a full on expert, so only have what I have picked up here and there over the years.
ACPO is now subject to freedom of information requests, there was a kerfuffle about it having power yet no ability for us to scrutinise it and that loophole has now been closed.

Dan Hardie

'Does G4S also supply the Gurkhas for RMAS?'
Were I an officer, I could answer that question. As it is, I am one of those people that actually works when he is in Army uniform.

I think the logic behind it was that you only need about a couple of dozen armed blokes to demonstrate the infantry drills to the guys going round the one-week OPTAG course. Given that G4S already do perimeter security, for which they largely use ex-Army Gurkhas, there is a case for using the security firm rather than tying up a platoon or half a platoon for unbelievably repetitive duties. The infantry are overstretched enough without chucking them away on that kind of task.

But I bet that G4S has a pretty ridiculous profit margin on that contract, on the principle that pretty much every privatisation of basic Government services has been written with the most incredible generosity to the private contractor.

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