hbarnard's blog

Democracy in Action: Control agenda style

It's a warm afternoon, so, instead of working, I though I'd surf on down to the wretched No 10 e-petition site (more, let's pretend to engage stuff) and make a little random trouble. However to my disappointment, I found:

Notice: Submission of new petitions will be closed until 7th September while the Prime Minister is away from Number 10. You can still sign any petition during this time

Public Choice Theory and the Olympics

Well, Coe-baby's £10billion egg and spoon race is a really good example of public choice theory at work. Public choice theory describes why politicians mainly do things that are against the public interest:

Public Choice theory is often used to explain how political decision-making results in outcomes that conflict with the preferences of the general public. For example, many special interest and pork barrel projects are not the desire of the overall democracy. However, it makes sense for politicians to support these projects. It may make them feel powerful and important.

Don't use Raileasy

Just booked my first and last rail ticket from Raileasy. They nickel and dime you a 'booking fee' and a debit card 'fee' and then provide 'phone lines' at £1 per minute, in case you want to ask anything.

Also, they are in breach of European spam regulations, since the 'spam me' box is ticked on the submit page.

Should be called Railsleazy, in fact, can everyone call it that from now on? To use the technical vocabulary:

another bunch of sleazy corporate tossers

.

Politicians and nappies

This just in from Slashdot:

politicians are like babies' nappies: they should both be changed regularly and for the same reasons

LBTH: How not to deal with graffiti

Well, how we love those wacky folk up in their Mulberry fortress, dancing the denial-dance and publishing spin-o-rama aka Pravda aka East End Lies, their only tangible 'product' (apart from waste and expense, that is). They are so -cute-, if you'll forgive the American diction.

Meanwhile, I started to run again today, along the Limehouse Cut and it's covered with a heavy, fresh crop of graffiti. A few random remarks about this:

Sensor networks and social policy bonds

Here's a little paper, that I've been meaning to hack out since I wrote the notes in April on the train from Ubon Ratchathani and the Buddhist economics conference.

I probably haven't finished with it. Citysense which is pretty proprietary and limited: http://www.citysense.net/ is running in Boston. However, my feeling is for much less telemetry (less data) and more sensors.

It's all fairly Stafford Beery, but I'm a big admirer of systems over politics, far less posturing, things sort-of work or they don't.

THH motto: Always do the wrong thing

It's Sunday and someone (I suspect) from our horticultural 'contractor' (already overspent by £80K but hey, it's only our money) has come to fill our new planters with soil and flowers:

  • There's nothing urgent about this, except perhaps the overtime rates and thus revenue streams (add 10% tip for THH too! nice!) for the council and the contractor
  • Some of the plants are in flower and they look like annuals. Another nice little earner, they have to be replaced, preferably on a Sunday or at midnight

MPs done to a turn, now for the Civil Service?

Now that we're be reminded that many politicians are lazy, venial and marginally dishonest, perhaps it's time to look at the unproductive, overmanned (overpersonned, haha), wasteful, endemically failing national and local civil service.

They actually waste more in a couple of days, than the £93m odd that the MPs have managed to piss away or line their pockets with.

Hey let's start with those that are meant to oversee them:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/oct/26/uk.Whitehall

Well, if there are problems there, what problems lurk in the 'real' civil service?

Tower Hamlets Homes: A Waste of Energy (and mass)

In the last few days, I've received (apart from the putrescent East End Lies 'Press Pass Porky Benefits Borough', haha):

  • Open Door: A pointless publication containing THH spin
  • Leasholder Focus: A pointless publication containing nothing
  • Repair Newsletter No2 (No 1 is missing collector's item?)
  • Invitation to a 'Residents Fair'
  • Another leaflet for the 'Residents Fair'
  • An Invitation to a 'Repair Day' (chance for EPS to do make-work and overcharge everyone)

Smart Meters, Dumb Politicians, Greedy Energy Companies

So, to distract us from expenses row, we are all to get smart meters, and life will become so much better. Hopefully, these smart meters will march on Westminster and Whitehall and conduct citizen's arrests of the confused, arrogant and lazy people that 'work' there.

Meanwhile, I asked Energywatch about this in 2004 and received a Sir Humphrey style letter (I'll put the scan up in a couple of days) saying that 'it was not cost effective for suppliers' (of course, the consumer is not in the equation at all, even at Energywatch indolence rules).

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