Friday, February 24, 2006

Bobby, why is it vibrating?

AMONGST MY weekly postbag is always a number of letters and e-mails from recruits to Mr Blah’s (or, more accurately, Mr Brown’s) Turkey Army – those public sector placemen who know that their continued employment relies on them not voting for Christmas (or, more accurately, the Conservatives).

These are always scribbled on council stationery or sent during working hours, with the taxpayers picking up the cost of the stamp and envelope or paying for the time it takes to write “burn in hell you fashist scum” in Microsoft Outlook before the author returns to that popular Leftie website

The jist of their complaints is that I denigrate the valuable and essential work that they do by taking cheap shots at their protected status, their appalling sickness records and utter irrelevance to anything resembling the real world. And let me tell you, coming from a five-a-day anti-smoking community cohesion outreach worker, that criticism really hurts.

But, not content with taking the rest of us for a bike ride, I now discover that the Turkey Army has a new manoeuvre up its sleeve – early retirement through ill health, once more at the expense of the private sector.

Now we’ve all become accustomed to coppers and firemen sloping off with a bad back and a healthy pension once they hit 35, but I didn’t realise that assistant junior planning officers were working the scam as well. Consider this: According to the Pensions Policy Institute, 39 per cent of local government officers, 25 per cent of teachers and 22 per cent of civil servants have headed for their second homes in Tuscany long before their 60th birthdays. (The figure for firemen is 68 per cent before the age of 50; for police, 49 per cent before the age of 48.)

(And as Ross Clark of The Spectator has pointed out, only 6 per cent of the armed forces personnel take early retirement due to ill health, so shuffling documents in the wheelie-bin equality unit appears somewhat more hazardous than having rocket propelled grenades fired at you by insurgent Iraqis. Those paper cuts can be nasty, you know.)

So this high incidence of sick days (from an average of 25 to 40 days a year depending on whose figures you use, compared to just six in the private sector), coupled with high levels of early retirement through ill health, might lead you to think that by the time they’ve escaped the rigours of office life, those poor Turkey Army recruits tend to drop dead within days of receiving the carriage clock. Not so.

For some strange reason, once public sector workers have retired they stage a remarkable recovery. In fact, they tend to last longer, with clerical and professional classes outliving every other category of British worker. Truly, a miracle.

And here’s the rub, and here’s the reason that I bang on about them. While they’re living longer, on into their 80s and beyond (and having bailed out of working life at an indecently early age), they’re doing it at the expense of private sector workers who now face having to work on until 67 and beyond if they’re to afford the cat food and tinsel that pensioners buy in industrial quantities.

And not only that. Public sector workers enjoy protected final salary scheme pensions, a benefit rapidly becoming a rarity in the private sector. So we have an increasingly impoverished group of wealth-creators supporting an unsustainable gravy train of government apparatchiks. The works of George Orwell spring to mind.

The excuse for these enhanced pensions used to be that public sector workers were paid less than their private sector equivalents and were thus compensated for their service to the State. That is no longer true. Public sector pay rises have now outperformed private sector increases for several years. The difference between the average wages in the two sectors is now negligible.

This cannot go on. The economics simply don’t add up. And that, my friends, is why I bang on about it. I shall now await the next delivery of green-inked missives.

AFTER that depressing diatribe, I suppose you’re expecting some funnies. Well, I’m certainly looking forward to the Winter Paralympics, especially the ice dancing, the ski jumping and the bob sleigh. That should be a hoot, particularly if they try to drive the Sunshine Bus down the run.

I managed to upset a beggar outside Dixon’s earlier this week by responding to his request for “spare change for food” by offering him a drink from the thermos flask I now carry and one of my packed lunch sandwiches. You could see the hatred in his eyes as he realised that while he’d found a sympathetic ear, that first can of Special Brew remained elusive.

I joined a pub discussion about the gay footballers and their curious antics as exposed by the News of the World. “That wouldn’t have happened in Bobby Moore’s day”, nodded one bore. I’m not surprised. Can you remember the size of mobile phones back then?

Finally, as I inched to work through the snow and ice this morning, I heard a NuLabour mad woman on Radio 4 demanding that we should stop watering our gardens and flushing our toilets forthwith or there’d be standpipes in every street by Easter. Ain’t life grand?

MY MAN Whittaker skulks through the stable yard in the early hours of Wednesday morning clutching a black balaclava and an A-Z of the Tonbridge area. Later that day he is seen buying drinks all round in the Dog and Blunkett with a brand new £50 note. For some reason, this makes me feel a trifle uneasy.

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 who doesn’t suspect that Mr Brown’s sudden desire for each and every one of us to fly the Union Jack from a flagpole in our back gardens has got more to do with his Scottishness than it has to do with our patriotism, of anyone not despairing at the news that Heinz are to change their baked bean recipe after being frightened by the encroachment of the dreadful Branston Beans, or of anyone even slightly worried that our future King cares enough about what’s going on around him to voice a valid opinion.


Anonymous MING THE MERCILESS!!!!!! said...

May I suggest having a revolution? I suggest doing it in the name of restoring the monarchy, whether they like it or not - I think Prince Charles could be persuaded. Start by blowing up the house of commons ... only get it right this time - the last thing we need is another Bonfire Night.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Theotherhalf said...

Come on Bazza, you are slipping lad. Would you have done this in the days at B.E.P?
"JIST"? Whatever are you going on about? Gist I think you will find is the correct term.
We could class it as a senior moment for you.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've had a senior moment - my trousers feel lumpy.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Extracts from the current Speccie & blogs:
"First raise tax and employ as much of the electorate as possible. Next, offer generous welfare and bribe the middle classes with childcare. Soon, a critical mass of voters becomes part of the government project, and votes for its expansion. Eventually the right-wing opposition grows tired of losing elections, and starts pledging to outspend the government, if elected. Then victory is complete."

Now some truly shocking statistics.

The State now has three divisions;
i) direct employees (6.8 million or 18% of the electorate)
ii) welfare dependants (4.5 million or 11% of the electorate)
iii) pensioners (10.5 million or 26% of the electorate)

A total of 21.8 million people or 55% of the voting population is now dependant on the government for some kind of assistance.

It is now almost impossible for any political party to pick up votes by proposing to cut down on the size of the State. A classic Catch 22 has now been reached.

The UK spends more of its citizen's income than even Germany (the UK now takes 42% of national income versus 36% when New Labour were first elected - a colossal increase in spending). So far, this has not led to huge tax rises because the underlying economy has been reasonably healthy. However, the lower productivity of all these new government workers (784,000 of them) is finally causing the economy to slow down

How can this be changed?

Right now, those calling for small government and less spending are silent. Jobs are plentiful for those who want to work, and for those who don't welfare is easy to obtain. The state schools and hospitals are a joke but the middle class can afford private health and schooling because credit is so cheap. When the economy slips further,and when the credit bubble finally bursts, government spending will way exceed revenue. The electorate will not accept 60% tax rates again and spending will finally have to be reined back in.

But turkeys will still not vote for Xmas. Some on the right of the blogosphere are calling for voting restrictions for those who depend on the state for a living. Draconian indeed, but it may be the only way round this particular Catch 22.

Step forward BB, and announce your programme :
"You can either work for the state and live of other people's money or you can vote, but not both". At the very least the public sector workers have to be disenfranchised. I would also like to see long-term (i.e., six months or longer) welfare recipients also lose the vote. Why should they vote when the contribute little/nothing to the national weal?

With long-term welfare recipients, there would, of course, be no choice - other than to go out and earn a living. Public sector people who value their franchise over their pension could find work in the private sector, although I'm not holding my breath; but the decision to work in the public sector, and thus sacrifice their vote, would be theirs to make.

BB your time is now !!!!!!!!!!!!!

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from anonymous worker who wrote this in his own time.

Public service workers are an easy target. You can't expect poorly paid administrators to lock horns with Barry who has never had a day sick in his life and whose salary is well,... very nice thank you.

Meanwhile several public sector staff have to claim income supplement to avoid bankrupcy. Poor living conditions lead to poor health and conditions Barry would prefer they took with them to work to infect their colleagues with. Then more public sector staff would be off sick and his statistics even truer.

What Barry misses in his slagging off of all those employees who hold the very fabric of society in this country together is the value for money, the service, the dedication, the quality delivered while we are there. Does we want a passport? Heaven forbid but what if he had to sign on - would he want a job centre? Does he like the road swept clean? Can he motivate staff to sweep roads to the very best of their limited ability and to take a pride in a shiny road surface? Or does he just tell a few well paid hacks to go away and report about something?

I've met private sector. I've seen the screw ups. The financial under estimates that leave the job hanging. Lawyers are private sector. Does Barry know a good one - one he could recommend? Of course there are some tossers in public service. It's just amazing how Barry thinks there aren't any in the private sector. Perhaps they just hide it well. No w**kers in the private sector? David Brent - he was private sector, wasn't he? Does Barry pay for a penion now rather than have his employer pay it? Yes, they've pulled the plug but that was because old Barry was taking it for granted. Does he now contribute like the public sector? Has he got a nice lease car? How was the Christmas party - and the trip to Jersey for the sales conference - and the motivational paintballing wekend in the peak district? The laptop and Blackberry Barry's bosses gave him - can we work them now? How's he getting along with the one to one training? Does he take her to the canteen for a subsidised lunch afterwards or is it a trip to the local Italian and the department's re-negotiated expense account?

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Moriarty said...

...What Barry misses in his slagging off of all those employees who hold the very fabric of society in this country together is the value for money, the service, the dedication, the quality delivered while we are there...

Barry (and everyone who has had dealings with bureaucrats) knows perfectly well what kind of "value for money, dedication and quality" can be expected from public servants. That's the reason you get slagged off so much by the public.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't doubt there are some slacking jobsworths out there. However for some of them (medical staff, teachers, social workers), stress is the prime cause of early retirement due to ill health. It's no wonder that they get better when the stress goes away.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Public service workers are an easy target. You can't expect poorly paid administrators to lock horns with Barry who" can write five paragraphs in English.

Quality of service my Arse, half of you muppets can't read or write.

And if you think private sector work is all free lunches then you really should get out more, but not if it is raining, we don't want you getting a cold and infecting all the other deadbeats that you 'work' with.

I now two so called public servants, neither of them would recognise a hard days work if it was signing their sick notes.

So stop whingeing civil service boy, remember, you are one revolution away from a bullet.

By the way, Dave Brent was a fictional character modelled on a real life civil service tw@t.

Fair point about lawyers though.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So stop whingeing civil service boy, remember, you are one revolution away from a bullet."

You cock end. Do you really think that you're going to be leading the revolution from the blunt end of a gun? Don't forget the armed forces are part of the civil service, and as in 1917, it'ss be the army who leads the overthrow. Pricks like you will be bricking your pants anyway.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Doctor Mick said...

I've met private sector.

Fucking brilliant!!

Are we so much verging on extinction that meeting us riff-raff is worthy of special mention?

5:20 AM  

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