Sunday, 24 July 2011

Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?

No, is the short answer.

One of the problems with writing critically about the public sector, especially an element of the public sector that happens to be a Labour administration, is that you can end up attracting the attentions of and being linked to a range of rightist wingnuts.

Examples I've had include being followed by Grant Schapps on Twitter, my Freedom of Info trials and tribulations being featured by the Taxpayers Alliance (I'm not linking) and finding myself uncomfortably close to Eric Pickles' views on NCC's (lack of) transparency. However, my views on Eric Pickles are in fact much closer to JoCo's i.e. he's a pie faced buffoon.

The TPA is particularly opportunistic and hypocritical because, although JoCo has repeatedly exaggerated the costs of FoI, it's a fact that openness does come at an extra cost, not something the TPA is known to be in favour of. They get round this by claiming to be 'transparency campaigners' but they're particularly selective on that front. For example, we haven't heard much from them about the government and Prime Minister's links with the Murdoch empire. There are several million other ways in which they are full of shit but space is tight.

For that reason I should perhaps let people know that I write from a left/liberal point of view and I am very much in favour of and believe in a strong public sector. If you're looking for an ally for your market based pro private sector 'solutions' you won't find one in me. On the other hand I'm passionately against abuse of power in any form, wherever it may be.

The flipside of having a strong belief in the public sector is that I get very unhappy when I see it being abused and that's my motivation for writing the blog. I'm not really that interested in the fact that NCC is nominally a Labour council and I do in fact support a number of its policies, particularly those around transport. My criticisms tend to be organisational rather than policy based and, unfortunately, organisations that claim to be of the left tend to be just as susceptible to such problems as those of the right.

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