Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Running on empty

I get a lot of things from BBC Breakfast News, but seldom epiphanies.

It happened during a morning catalogue of failures, but three in short order struck me.

1. The HM Customs & Revenue cock up.

2. A story on failures in the NHS, with a couple seeking/getting compo for their kid's poor, ultimately fatal, treatment. They get money for their loss (not quite sure how this benefits them, or indeed susbsequent families, but there we go. I'd want justice, not cash). Where from? And how are those responsible for the mess prevented from repeating them?

3. The summit on 'binge drinking' whereby the government (indeed Mr. 'key issues' Brown) is requiring the drinks industry to 'deal' with the issue. They may be complicit through woeful ethics and morals, but it's all still legal, the rules of which are set by whom?

It is now clear to me that we are in a situation where everyone is responsible, with all the benefits such positions confer, but no one is accountable. This is as true of much in the private sector as public, but in the latter it has become truly endemic. Government. Local Authority. Health Service. Quango. BBC.

And those outside the system are cursed to continually pick up the tab for those within it. Why do I pay for the fine for a failure that has impacted upon me?

From Northern Rock to hospital cock-ups to Treasury melt-downs to you name it, the one thing that has gone stratospheric, is the amount of money institutions (and their failed managements) shell out to 'deal' with the failings of individuals within them.

So it's not just the screw-ups, it's the screw-ups who oversee them too.

We need to ask why. And who. And hold all of them to account.

Speaking of which, I think I now see the reasons behind the various urgencies for various stellar government operatives to move into a new slot. I have a vision of a Looney Tunes cartoon with fizzing packages marked 'my last 10 years' being handed from Blair to Brown and Brown to Darling (and...)


Actually, I was wondering if any of the techno-whizzes out there could do a quick Google/cache/whatever so we could have a list of just how many times a government munchkin has gone on air or in print over the last few months to say 'we must learn from these mistakes', with the rictus grin of one with no intention of doing so.

Better yet, with a wee tally besides to show just how many they patently haven't 'learned from', and the consequences (or not) to those who have suffered from this double-speak, compared (career/£/pension-wise) with those who still gain by getting away with it.

Sorry, I'm grumpy.*

*Two conversations , so far, (one with SKY, one with Halifax) that went in circles as they called me today but wanted first, for data protection reasons, to confirm my details. In light of events, I told them to tell me what they had on me and I would confirm or not. But no, they needed me to tell them. Nice one Nu-Lab! Now nothing can get done... official.


Daily Mash - You gotta laugh, 'else you'll cry

Guardian - The sheer gormlessness of Discgate theatens Labour's claim to power

Indy - Lost in the post: the personal details of 25 million people - a few questions.

Me, I just wonder how the whole salary/pension thing works out once the dust settles.

ADDENDUM: And this, Mr. Darling, is why it matters to me:

HSBC Security Precaution

Dear Valued Customer,

For your security, we have temporarily prevented access to your online banking.
HSBC safeguard your account when there is a possibility that someone other than you is logging on. You may be getting this message because you are logging on from a different location or device.If this is the case, your access may be restored when you revalidate your logon details.Please click on Get Started button below to continue to the verification process

Get Started
N.B (Failure to validate your logon details correctly might lead to online access suspension)

I don't have an HSBC account. It took 'em less than 24hrs to get going on the disarray this situation has created.

BBC - A yawning gap


Dave said...

Peter, the email you have reproduced is a very common 'phishing' email of a type that has been around for several years. I see dozens of them every week. Some appear to be very convincing but realistically NO bank would EVER use email to ask you to change your account details.

It is extremely unlikely that it is a direct consequence of the loss of the HMR+V data discs.

Peter said...

I know. And you. How many others do?

That's the point.

This situation has played right into the hands of those already trawling who, I'm sure, can soon tweak the copy to look like it is 'responding' to the problem.

By being topical, people's guard may be down.

The coincidence of its arrival, and the calls from the various guys requiring of me to confirm my details just highlighted it all to me.

One phish from one source, which happnes to be the right one, and... bingo.

I think Mr. D and his merry crew just improved their odds of a hook.