Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Same old same old

There's a c-word that I could use for this post but I've chosen not to. An odd item in last Sunday's Times by Peter Griffiths caught my attention, though not for the reason I'm mentioning it here. Today, I hear of another TUC report suggesting that public sector reform has failed to deliver the promised benefits and outlines what it thinks should be done instead. Now, let me go back to Peter's article. In it, he gives an example of someone attempting to deliver on the job he was engaged to do in the third world:

What do you do if you are working on a famine early-warning system and the rains fail? Steve Lombard, working in Tanzania, reported it to the right people in the ministry. They did nothing. Steve was very naughty. He bypassed the ministry and told the World Food Programme in Rome, which started preparing food shipments. He also told a friend in the BBC. The World Service interviewed the permanent secretary, “So, please tell me, Mr permanent secretary, is it true that there’s going to be a famine in Tanzania?” “Yes.” “Mr permanent secretary, what have you done about it?” “Nothing.” So the president intervened and there was no famine. But the government insisted that Steve be fired. Neither the UN, for whom he was working, nor the World Bank, which was funding his project, lifted a finger to help. He drank himself to death over the next three years.

So you think that sort of thing doesn't happen in dear ol'Blighty?

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