Wednesday, December 14, 2005

All aboard Gordon's gravy train

IT IS appropriate at this time of year that we should turn, once again, to Tony’s Turkey Army – the 5.8 million workers whose public sector jobs rely on them not voting for Christmas or, in this case, not voting for anyone but NuLabour.

You’d think that they’d be content with their jobs for life, their above-inflation pay increases and their massively subsidised pensions taken at a ridiculously early age while the rest of us have to solider on towards our seventies. I also suspect many of them don’t actually do much “work” as those of us in the private sector know it.

Unfortunately, they’re also proving skilled exploiters of the compensation culture that pervades the public sector mindset. Meet Judith Windross, a 56-year-old social worker in the employ of Hampshire County Council. Ms Windross fancied moving to another job (still within the protective embrace of the public sector, of course), but was horrified when she was turned down by Wokingham District Council because of a reference written by her current employers. Bear with me. It gets better.

The reference said that Ms Windross was “narrowly focused, not a team player and had poor written skills”, which is not surprising as Ms Windross freely admits to being dyslexic. In fact, here is the lady herself on her condition: “My dyslexia adversely affects, amongst other things, my reading, writing, spelling, grammar, ability to concentrate for long periods, my memory, my pronunciation, my orientation, affects my self-esteem and confidence and can lead to performance anxiety.” She also claimed that her dyslexia left her prone to falling downstairs and that she did not feel comfortable speaking to groups of people.

Now you may think that mentioning these things in a reference, however obliquely, was perfectly reasonable, particularly as Ms Windross’s new job would involve preparing detailed written reports and appearing in court to address judges and magistrates. Not so in the wonderful world of political correctness.

Ms Windross promptly took both Hampshire County Council and Wokingham District Council to an industrial tribunal claiming that she’d been discriminated against because of her disability. And, probably in the hope of escaping publicity, they both paid her compo before the hearing began. Doubles all round and the taxpayers foot the bill.

Now I’m not suggesting that disabled people shouldn’t be allowed to work. As I’ve said before, someone has to make all those wicker baskets or man the tills at Tesco. But am I alone in expressing surprise that a woman who can’t read, can’t write, can’t spell, doesn’t understand grammar, has memory lapses, can’t concentrate, has low self-esteem, can’t speak properly, suffers from anxiety attacks, can’t talk to large groups of people and falls down the stairs now and then (breathe) should have got a presumably responsible job in social services in the first fucking place? She sounds more like a customer than a carer.

The gravy train next pulls into Crosby, in Merseyside, a regular stop where four out of ten of the population works for the public sector while half of the rest don’t bother working at all. Meet Gavin Bassie, a 38-year-old fireman who’s just trousered £100,000 in compo for damaging his knee in a keep-fit session after slipping on a patch of “invisible dust”. That’s “invisible” in that no-one ever saw it.

I used to complain that all firemen did was sleep in between rescuing cats and answering false alarms at schools. If they’re going to be claiming hundreds of thousands every time they pull at muscle, bed’s the best place for them.

Now I’m not picking on public sector workers purely out of spite. Of course we need binmen and teachers, nurses and policemen. But the current level of non wealth-generating employees just can’t be sustained. We already have the ludicrously unfair situation where state apparatchiks can retire at 60 while we must labour on. We already have average families handing over almost half of their earnings in one form of taxation or another. It simply can’t continue.

A year ago Gordon Brown promised to make over 104,000 central government staff redundant (although if their jobs are redundant, what were they doing there in the first place?). Instead, the recruitment drive has continued, with another 95,000 workers clambering aboard in the past year.

And that’s how you end up with an allegedly cash-strapped hospital recruiting a £37,000-a-year “art curator” while a Second World War fighter pilot has to sell his medals to pay for his wife’s hip replacement operation.

Sometimes this country makes me want to puke.

I’M CONFUSED about all these German Markets springing up in every town in the land. What’s all that about then?

Do they have English Markets in Germany at this time of year? Is there a stall in Frankfurt where a Burberry-clad pillock with sovereign-encrusted paws knocks out white sports socks, three pair for a pahnd? Are the population of Cologne buying pirate DVDs of Harry Potter from a shellsuit-wearing Scouser with an untaxed Transit van? Is Dusseldorf deluged with cheap plastic lighters, vanilla candles and donner kebabs? The mind boggles.

CAN SOMEONE explain to me why the families of the July 7th bomb victims are whining about the “derisory” £11,000 compensation payments they have received from the government?

I can see that we should help out where a family has lost a breadwinner, but any member of a victim’s immediate family can queue up for the cash. It doesn’t make sense.

I’m very sorry that you’ve lost a brother or even a son in this tragic manner, but why should I have to pay for your hurt feelings? Any spare dosh that’s sloshing around should surely be targeted on improving the shattered lives of the badly wounded survivors, shouldn’t it?

IT’S GOOD to know that with the number of burglaries, sex crimes and robberies rocketing, our system of law and order still treats one and all the same.

So congratulations to the council litter warden in Doncaster who fined an 11-year-old boy £50 for dropping an apple core. And bravo, the police who arrested a woman who went to the Cenotaph to quietly read out the names of British troops killed in Iraq. As for the policewoman who phoned up an author she had heard taking part in a radio debate and warned her that expressing the opinion that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt was “homophobic” and possibly criminal … well, words fail me.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone daft enough to buy one of those Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker thingies, of anyone who agrees with Mrs B. that I shouldn’t buy one of those pick-up trucks with “Animal” or “Warrior” written on the side, or of anyone who hadn’t realised that George Best wasn’t buried in Belfast, but cremated in Hemel Hempstead.


Blogger Paul said...

Full of Christmas cheer then, Bazza ?

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Doctor Mick said...

Bah, humbug!

This is why I became an expatriate tax-dodger. Stuff like that and the desire to get rich.

2:35 AM  

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