Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sector Spectre

There's a very interesting site called Intelligent Giving, which is devoted to some critical (in the best senses of the word, pro and con) analysis of the world of charity.

I was idly having a rummage, when this caught my eye: The mysterious other Miliband

You have to register to reply, but I think can view simply by clicking, so with luck you can see the context of what moved me to comment:

I was also going to pass over the matter of this speechwriter, or indeed their height, as beyond irrelevant. Then I had a rethink. Physical attributes are, or at least should be still pretty much nothing to do with anything. But at least I can now spot a tall chap in an OTS (jargon is all) crowd and yell out the provided moniker to zero in if he responds... and isn't David Walliams role playing.

Because it does now occur to me that if this is the person penning what's uttered, I may have the whole organ grinder/'revenue collection executive' relationship backwards when it comes to getting heard, and seeing what one has to say work its way into the mouth of Blair (few more hours) babies.

Which brings us to the next point. Having been to a few events now when the billed highlight seems to be a Ministerial speech, I have to say that I am getting a tad bored with a talking head and a Power(what's the)Point parrotfest, as the inevitable provision of the notes (as created, I'm sure, by lovely chaps called Dominic) rather renders the speaker superfluous. Unless, of course, they hang around to answer a few questions (though doubtless in a whole 'not last decade', more honest, direct but still useless Brownian 'I'm not sure I accept that' /'I'm not going to allow that' style).

Or, better yet, step down from the podium and actually at least listen to a few from the floor not selected by Dom's also lovely PR colleague Pen ( I made that up), before hitting the studios to tell the country that they 'have been talking with...' and now have a real grip on what's going on at street level.

I always find the reason given for bailing as truly special: 'they'd love to stay, but they are very busy'. Which rather sends the message that those in the audience are not, and having turned up to be talked at obviously have the spare time to do so and should be grateful for providing an audience.

On the third point, I can only speak for myself as to the level of gruntlement around my sphere, with a slight sense of how others feel by actually hanging around to chat with them long after the ministerial Prius and team has offset it's way to the next non-flying visit. So I must have missed the 'up-and-coming/credible' feedback, but if it comes from a qualified, reliable, attributed and unbiased source will of course bear it in mind. Equally in assessing levels of charisma and authenticity, compared to predecessors in what confusingly (to me at least) is acknowledged earlier as a role that has not existed before. And if that role has not many purse strings, one has to wonder what it, and all those under it, are there for. Money talks. Anything else squawks.

When it comes to feeling well served by those tasked with supporting a sector I find myself peripherally part of, I'd have to suggest that while 'saying' nice is awfully spiffy, a bit more getting on and doing - efficiently, cost-effectively and tangibly where it has the maximum positive result - would be more in order.

The addition of 2000 (more?) public servants may be necessary to help effect this, but if that's the main contribution that can be cited so far, on past evidence it does not fill me with much hope that the majority of effort (and money) will not just end up, again, in a well-trumpeted process at the expense of any actual product.

I'm pretty sure that the previous respondent was one of that 2000, or a ministerial interference runner (I wonder how many in Westminster we pay to deflect us from asking questions and/or getting answers? of our political mast... servants), so it may be fun to come back to see if and what my opinion gets dismissed with.

There's what was. There's what is. And there's... what????????

I watched a BBC news slot this morning when it seemed that all involved with the last decade of government (and staying on) seemed to be awarded a 'get out of everything free' card.

Me... I prefer to look at track records and facts. Or such as they are. And here's one: Council tax 'doubles in 10 years'

Or, to put it another, equally walletally-painful way: 'three times higher than the rate of inflation and twice the increase in average earnings'.

Now, there is an attempt at balance, and: "Councils may well turn round and say well that's because they're providing better services."

O........k. What do we reckon?

Maybe there could be another reason; one raised a short while ago.

Now, there was a slight tweak back to the 'Cross of Ross' posting in the reply section, but really, can there be much doubt as to where a large wadge of the money seems to be going, and 'increased services' are hard to reconcile when weekly rubbish collections are moving in a distinctly unincreased direction.

I'm afraid all this does is push my trust factor in government, and some rather... cooperative... aspects of publicly-funded media, even lower.

BBC - Brown interview: key quotes - I am simply intrigued as to how what is factual 'cannot be accepted' in so many cases. What the heck does that mean?

NOT Gordon Brown

So he has learned, will reach out, build consensus and answer questions at last.

But if the answers to such questions are, and allowed to be (especially in the case of what is surely easily established fact) 'I don't accept that', I'm afraid to all of the above I can only have one reply:

"I don't accept that".

But, as always in this newsflip era, that's probably all there is time for. Shame. On all involved, and complicit.

Friday, 22 June, 2007 - Not looking like many others were too impressed with either the interviewee, or ers. For all the good it does.