New Labour – same old bollocks
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6465579.stm
Tony Blair’s announcement today that public services should be ‘truly personalised’ in order to help ‘empower’ (how I hate the way they use that word) people is vintage New Labour bollocks. As far as I can see, in common with pretty much every other policy announcement Blair has made since 1994, it is the usual combination: 50% stupid gimmicks, and 50% meaningless management-speak drivel and abuse of the English language. According to the Beeb’s report of the announcement, proposals include possible eBay style satisfaction ratings for schools and hospitals, telling patients how much a visit to their GP costs the NHS, and greater use of IT to allow parents to check up on their kids’ progress at school or to make appointments with their doctors. Now, whilst theoretically some of these may be a good idea (albeit one I would never trust the government to implement given their record in the area of IT projects in particular), it does strongly suggest that they’ve given up on the idea of actually providing high quality services, preferring instead to allow the middle classes to choose the ones which haven’t been run into the ground quite so much by the persistent interference of Whitehall. It’s also very interesting in the context of Adam Curtis’s The Trap which was broadcast yesterday which included a section on the government’s method of managing the NHS which included very interesting examples of the ways in which government targets and league tables were circumvented and ended up leading to increased bureaucracy to administer.