Immigration: Boom or Bust (1)

Is this right?

Is this right?

Advocates of immigration see no problem with the volume of migrants entering the country. On the contrary, the majority of the people, (based on opinion polls and on support for Ukip) take a very different view. The two main strands that are in open discussion are the view of business and the Metropolitan elite that immigration is a positive for the nation. The wider populace have concerns as to the scale of numbers coming into the country and the overall effect on: welfare, health, education, housing, and roads: cars, pollution etc., on

Or is this right?

Or is this right?

culture and the values that make up the fabric of a cohesive society.

However, there is another side, a much darker hidden side and one of deep despair. We do not talk of this consequence of immigration because it would showcase just what a sick society we truly are.

As far as business are concerned, it’s a simple equation; the more the merrier. Some aspects of their logic make good sense. There are vacancies that need to be filled and if that specific skill set is not available locally then allow someone from abroad to fill the role. Otherwise the company could lose the contract which could have an adverse effect on those already employed.

There is good support for the argument of business. Tom Papworth, www.centreforum.org  suggests that there is compelling evidence that immigration is good for the country. In the same article, Peri & Davis are equally positive, “The economic question is not whether a domestic worker is capable of doing the job, but whether it is more efficient to allocate the job to a domestic or a foreign worker”. The LSE note, that there is little evidence of a negative impact of immigration. The London Chamber of Commerce likewise add a positive voice.

Business leaders and many politicians point out that the local population are not as well educated nor share the same work ethic as their foreign counterparts. While this might hold a grain of truth it also leaves open the question of why that should be so. Who is to be held responsible for the characteristics and culture identified? A mirror is a very handy tool to check out how one looks!

Why did the UK get rid of apprenticeships only to, more recently, have a sudden frenzy to re-introduce them? The former was a decision proposed by business and carried out by politicians! Now business wants to be paid for taking-on apprentices. Getting rid of apprenticeships caused a severe shortage of skilled tradesmen which lead to a mass influx of Eastern European workers who were better qualified and crucially cheaper. Many may view business ethics as akin to those of a louse. A louse does not much care on whose hair or head it lays its nits as long as it gets fed.

As for the Metropolitan elite they hide behind the mantra of multiculturalism. It is their contention that many cultures can co-exist in harmony. History would tend to dispute that assumption: Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Check Republic, and Slovenia and presently the tension in Ukraine. Thus multiculturalism has no intellectual basis but is borne of political expediency. To run without the knowledge and experience of history is to always run with blinkers on.

Even our limited experience of multiculturalism in the UK has been one of ethnic enclaves, of segregation by choice or circumstance. Behind some of these closed environments we are left to assume that all is well. However, some groups have brought cultural attitudes which are contrary to human rights legislation. Multiculturalism by its very sense envisages that the people retain their culture, their belief systems, and their definitive outlook on life. There is no room here for change either as a community or on an individual basis. That is why multiculturalism is a dodo!

The advocates of multiculturalism may point to the long established Chinese community to support their political belief. Contrary to that outlook the Chinese community can readily be described as a closed one. A community that may hide gross violations of human rights but which we are prepared to ignore because it does not directly affect us. The hypocrisy of our toleration is exposed in our other guise as living in a Liberal democracy. We may pretend that by visiting China town and having a meal we are somehow having a cultural exchange, it’s simply that, pretence.

th0HFP8Z3GImmigration and the fear it evokes is not new. The 1948 Nationality Act allowed anyone from the Commonwealth to come to the UK, some 800 million. (Wikipedia) Of course that was not practical but many did come, many on request, but such were the numbers that in 1962 the Commonwealth Immigration Act was passed. Another law was enacted in 1968 and again in 1972 and a further immigration law in 1981. In 1997, the ‘primary purpose rule’ was abolished. It is important to note that tension regarding immigration has not dissipated; on the contrary some would argue it has become more entrenched. Over the past decade there have been 83 changes to immigration legislation.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) net immigration has risen each year between 2000 & 2008. In 2006 over 154,000 were granted citizenship and a further 134,400 were granted settlement. In 2009 net migration was 196,000. The coldness of the figures on immigration disguises an enormous problem.  A new town every year! Tension increased to such an extent that in 2003 the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair promised to slash asylum seekers by 50% in just seven (7) months. In 2008 the government introduced a fine of £10,000 for each illegal immigrant found working in a business. Obviously problems had been identified.

The decision by the Labour Government to open the borders and create open access was a deliberate policy between 2000 & 2008. Andrew Neather. The European statistical body, Eurostat claimed that in 2010 the UK population was 62 million of which some seven (7) million were foreign born.

 

There has been 50 years of tension concerning immigration, thus it’s generational, a point many would like to remain hidden. The tension is high because the numbers remain high. The BBC (28 Nov: 2013) reported that close on 0.5 million immigrants arrived in the UK in 2012. Official figures for net migration in that year were 176,000 a sizable increase on the 2011 figure of 153,000. The most recent numbers for 2013 are 212,000 up 37% on the previous year. (Reuters)

The question is one of sustainability, for how long can the country manage the scale of numbers? This point is given added credence when the 2011 Census revealed 464,800 more people in the country than the ONS had calculated. WOW! The politicians’ response – stop having a census! Bury the truth: the first stage in Stalinist rule! No politician has of yet come forward to explain the cost of sustainability or to allay the fears of the people in any sensible way.

Is it all about economic efficiency? After all we do live in a capitalist world; therefore should we not logically serve the one God? Perhaps we are hoodwinking ourselves by promoting the notion of community, of social cohesion, of society. Capitalism is a dominant force in our lives and maybe we should accept this and bow to the inevitable: let the dogs out and fend for ourselves.

What I find enigmatic about the whole thing is the political shallowness and shadow-boxing of the proponents. In support of mass immigration we have the ‘Left’ in UK politics, the Liberal party and the business community. In the opposite corner we have strong elements of the ‘right’ in UK politics and the working class. Note that it is the working class who suffer most from mass immigration and their erstwhile political leaders of the Left who are the main advocates. Intriguing! 1960s again!

BBC: Flagellation

thWJV4BAFAAnother catapult attack on the walls of the BBC has begun. The siege is gathering momentum. For how long can Castle Beeb hold out? The latest salvo is caused by the long running saga of the Digital Media Initiative (DMI) and the huge losses incurred by the BBC as a result of poor management. The most recent report by the National Audit Office (NAO) is a serious condemnation of the management at the BBC. Has the tarnished reputation of the BBC been self-inflicted or just the right-wing media venting spleen?

The gross outlay on the DMI project was £126 million, of which £99m was written off. Obviously in any other business, heads would have rolled. As of yet, senior management at the BBC have been spared the axe. Some have moved out but with suspiciously high inducement deals, which I assume, was to make leaving the sanctuary of the Beeb that much more palatable and, with silence guaranteed.

One of the key criticisms was that the project had “no single person in charge”, no line management but a committee of interested departments. Anyone who has served on committees will be aware that it functions on a host of personal interests and cliques, who shirk responsibility. According to the NAO, the executive, “applied insufficient scrutiny”, and did not have a “sufficient grip” on the project overall. Therefore it stands to reason that, “Reporting arrangements were not fit for purpose”. This catalogue of deficiencies clearly points to incompetence!

Who at the BBC decided to bring the project in-house? Was it senior management or a committee and, why was the contract with Siemens ended? The true ineptitude at this juncture was that no cost benefit analysis was carried out. I can’t get my head around the sheer naivety of the decision making at the time. It must have been a committee decision, that way no one person can be held accountable. Was the latter a purposeful rationale?

An earlier report commissioned by the BBC Trust carried out by the respected group PwC, concluded that problems should have been identified two years earlier. It appears that no one has a kind word for the BBC. Sack the bloody committee!

thCLZKC92PFurther assaults by two longbow archers, who reputedly have a very accurate aim, are busy taking pot-shots at Castle Beeb. First in line is, John Linwood, a former manager, sacked in July 2013 without any golden handshake. (not one of the ‘boys’ then?) He may be described as somewhat bitter or as a scapegoat. His evidence will determine which one describes him. He suggests:

  • That the BBC made ‘inaccurate statements’ to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC). Very Serious!
  • That management via committee changed the ‘vision’ of the project.

The second longbow man is Bill Garrett, former head of technology. He suggests:

  • That four years ago a number of staff falsified estimates of financial benefits of DMI to secure more funding. WOW! And thus:
  • That the investment case for further funds for DMI was ‘fundamentally flawed’.
  • Challenges evidence given by Mark Thomson, (previous Director General, April 2013) to PAC.
  • That NAO was misled during their 2010/2011 investigation.
  • That the PAC was also misled.
  • Told the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten in May 2012 that DMI was doomed.

The project was finally scrapped in May 2013.

If the evidence presented by the two reports and the accusatory pieces by the longbow men prove accurate then the decision is straightforward. The Chairman of the BBC Trust should go immediately without compensation. Several senior managers should likewise be so terminated. I am not au fait with employment law, so my ruthless use of the axe may not prove appropriate. However, people can be identified and told there is no future for them and that there will be no settlement beyond the contractual one. Incompetence should never be rewarded!

One executive, Dominic Coles, Director of Operations, admits that they got DMI wrong (????) but did better with BBC iPlayer. Absolutely, iPlayer is a smash and anybody who is anybody is trying to emulate or improve upon it.  He is quoted in the Guardian newspaper 28/1/2014 as saying that the BBC took swift action to overhaul other big projects. I have several problems with this response:

  • The drawbridge had been left down.
  • The PwC report said they should have been aware 2 years earlier.
  • This is tantamount to admittance that many other projects lacked ‘sufficient grip’!
  • A whole lot of mismanagement!

In the same Guardian article, Mr Coles is quoted as beginning a sentence, “DMI aside,” he continues with how well the BBC is doing in other areas. But let me rephrase Mr Coles words, ‘99 million pounds aside’: as if to imply that a loss of £99m is of little consequence. He should have attended a committee meeting before he spoke.

The BBC is beset with one public relations disaster after another. Bias is another long term one; the more recent Savile debacle, large pay-outs to departing executives and, most recently, workplace bullying. It would appear that the BBC defence strategy is to adopt a siege mentality. I assume that the hope is to be showered by dust which can be brushed off at some later date. Somehow, I don’t think it will be that easy. A siege only occurs when the enemy is determined to expunge the inhabitants. The sanctimonious thBZBVRS53appraisal of their position shows the BBC lack the wit to understand, that their walls of Jericho are more likely to come crumbling down, due to the act of blowing their own trumpets. The siege they endure has been self-inflicted.

Politically, the BBC may consider themselves, alongside the Guardian and Independent newspapers as a bulwark against the dominance of the right wing media. However, whereas the two newspapers have an audience to maintain and their niche market to cultivate; the BBC is duty bound to reach out to the population as a whole.

It would seem that the BBC and its management team have set themselves up as Gods of opinion, no longer reporting the news but directing people’s attention to a specific belief system. The BBC must serve all the people all of the time and, with clarity and with an objective mind.

You cannot fight bias with bias; it leads to a degenerative society. It can only be fought with a strategy the enemy cannot fathom, objectivity.  Millions may read the right wing press but will turn to the objective speaker to learn and to come to a better understanding of events around them. Objectivity is the only defence that will withstand the test of time. Perhaps if the BBC had continued on the road of objectivity they wouldn’t be beating themselves up so regularly.

 

 

Europe: The Great Big Money Pit! (1)

map-eu-member-countries-14142535[1]The Leaders of the three main political parties in the UK are in favour of remaining in the EU. They have yet to entertain us with credible reasons for doing so. Their play ‘The Benefits of the EU Rock’ is a mishmash of characters spouting dialogue in a meaningless fashion. It involves lots of finger pointing and shouting at each other that has left the audience puzzled as to the plot. Is there a plot?  This little piece of theatre is bound to be a flop. Rating: *

“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his are the same”. Stendhal.

Obviously there are strong biases on either side of the debate and a considerable amount of emotion is exerted. However, it is incumbent on our politicians, who are our leaders, to ensure that we have the arguments presented in a clear and unequivocal manner. Transparency breeds trust: that should be the mantra of our leaders; unless their bias cannot be controlled.

What the electorate must demand is answers to pertinent queries:

•             Why has there been no secure audit?

•             Why has there has not been a ‘cost benefit analysis’?

•             Why has the Common Agriculture Policy not been overhauled?

•             Why is the Human Rights Law allowed to override democracy?

•             Why is there no cost cutting exercise being undertaken?

Given straightforward, honest, credible and verifiable answers the electorate may be willing to give politicians the benefit of leadership.

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has been scathing in its criticism of the EU budgets. As recently as Nov: 2012 the ECA chairman Victor Calderia wrote, “EU financial management is not yet up to standard”. There has been eighteen (18) years of critical reports on poor spending by the EU and yet it’s allowed to continue. Take my breath away! In the same report it was highlighted that the auditors did not give a clean bill of health to €89bn of spending because it was, “affected by material error”. For ‘material error’ read unaccounted for, lost, fraud or add your own interpretation.  Telegraph Nov: 2012.

Looking back to 1999 and the Jacques Santer Commission set up because a serving official made allegations of fraud. The Commission accepted that there had been ‘irregularities’. In patois, this means we ain’t got a clue mate! A few steps forward to a BBC report of 2006, “auditors have found some EU spending has violated regulation and/or contractual conditions”. Fraud!

Moving forward to June 2013 and the New York Times (NYT) report that a sum of €600m or $800m of direct aid from the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) “could not be properly traced because of the lack of an adequate audit trail, according to the European Court of Auditors”. The report also stated that a budget of €5bn in aid which had been agreed in Nov: 2012 was under scrutiny. That Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Policy Chief and Stefan Fule, Commissioner for the ENP were severely criticised for a failure to keep a grip on the spending even when ‘irregularities’ were known about. No one sacked-surprise, surprise!

In December 2013, abcnews.go.com/international quoting from the European Court of Auditors that €1bn had been agreed to support 61,000 civil servants and security personnel in Gaza since Hamas had taken power. The civil servants are kept on ‘gardening leave’ on full pay so that they are not tempted to work for Hamas. The ECA has argued that the payment should cease but Peter Stano of the EU executive wants the payments to continue otherwise those affected may have to go without.

The story is developed further in an article in the www.dailystar.com.lb   a Lebanon daily newspaper who quote Hans Gustaf Wessburg of the ECA, “The payment of civil servants who do not work does not meet one of [EU’s] main objectives to provide public services to the Palestinian people”. The paper quotes further from Wessburg, “Auditors could not establish what happened to €90m that was meant to pay fuel taxes and keep Gaza’s only power plant running”. In consequence, half the people have no electric power supply.

A further dagger in the torso of the EU is that over the past twenty (20) years the EU has poured nearly €6bn into the Palestinian territories. This is a vast sum of money and, apparently a gross amount of waste. It is not a question of aid per se as I recognise that aid has a powerful political underpinning. It’s the sheer volume of the waste. Who is getting the money? What of the ordinary folk of this desolate landscape? “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”. T.S. Eliot The Waste Land.

It is also recognised that a €1bn package to help Egypt has been mismanaged between 2007/2013. What a sorry mess! If they can so readily and easily screw up aid money, what control do they have over all other spend?

Bias – Management at the BBC

Over the last week or so (Nov: 2012) there has been an avalanche of criticism levelled at the BBC management and in particular on the structure of that management. Yet, no one seems to know who is in charge or who is making the relevant decisions. In an organisation so large that is mind boggling to get your head around. It makes me think of bubble wrap, a series of small pouches held together; you can pop one bubble and it doesn’t affect the others. Incredulous! The other hammer blow has come on the Corporation’s propensity for political bias.

Not only has the BBC been criticised by outsiders but internal attacks by presenters, past & present has brought a fanfare of astute observations:
• Jeremy Paxman – “timeserving and biddable managers”. I bet Paxman caused a stampede, and a few spilled cups of tea, in a dive for the dictionary to find out what ‘biddable’ meant.
• David Dimbleby – “bonkers at management level”.
• Libby Purves – “bloated and ineffectual upper layers”.
Jon Snow, interviewed on Sky News found it difficult to describe the management structure. It came across almost like a management ‘maze’. Obviously it’s a maze in need of some serious trimming, so that people can get an idea where they’re going. Others, John Simpson, Peter Sissons and John Tusa added their weight to the clamour for change at the top. These are all stalwarts of the Corporation, well respected journalists and known celebrities, therefore their voices get heard and people pay heed.
Q. Where have they been till now?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a ……….

A few more questions come to mind:
• How much does this ‘ineffectual’ management structure cost?
• Should that money not be spent on better programming?
Observation:
Was the management structure created to satisfy a – jobs for the boys/girls culture?      Or more candidly, a conscious disregard for all outside the honeycomb?

Sir John Tusa interviewed on Sky News, hinted strongly that internal candidates and those already considered for the job as Director General (DG) should not be added to any new shortlist. This suggestion should be adopted by the Government and the BBC Trust as a no-brainer!

“No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew”. Albert Einstein.

John Tusa raised another interesting point during his TV interview, when he argued that 99% of journalists at the BBC go about their work in a professional way. I would have to take that with a large pinch of salt. It seems to me that many, too many at the BBC suffer from a mindset.

It can get too much

Mindset creates a neurosis of thought that leads to blind spots in critical thinking. It stems from an idea that has gained some momentum and gradually pervades the minds of those who have no alternative vision; and so becomes the prevailing thought process of the group/organisation. This in turn allows the actors to go about their roles without any sense of guilt or reference to their critical faculties. Within that mindset a new parameter is formed and within that parameter certain practices that might otherwise have been deemed questionable, untoward or irresponsible become accepted norm. Some will then attempt to add to the new norm for self gratification (innate selfishness) to gain promotion. What Paxman would describe as biddable. What us common folk would describe as lickarses!
Mindset grows inconspicuously into a paralysis of the thought processes, hence the blind spots. People may appear perfectly sound in other aspects of their lives and rational in most instances. However, when they walk through the door to their workplace, where mindset is a contagion they adapt to the new environment. They may experience a niggle at the back of the conscious mind but that is quickly dismissed as their reality is their job. They go with the flow! Being trapped in a mindset denudes you as a person. It deprives you of your essence, your thought processes.

In all probability it was the ‘maze’ of the management structure that led to the Newsnight fiasco that later had a leading Tory castigated as a paedophile. Of course, political bias played a serpent’s role in the haste to poison the Tories. Yet such devilish behaviour is not new:

“It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself.
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
Othello, Act 1 – S1 – Iago

Without the bias and the haste that that engendered, integrity may have broke through and prevented what followed – a sham of journalism. And thus the pack of crass hacks would not have pounced like laughing hyenas. Twits indeed!

We must expect the highest of standards from a publicly funded institution such as the BBC. Many depend on the Corporation to keep them informed. They watch the news, Newsnight, Question Time etc:. If the information or sentiment of any of those programmes is tinged with a degree of bias then subliminally it helps to form the thinking of those watching. The latter is especially true if those viewers are not regularly provided with an alternative viewpoint.
Under the Society of Professional Journalists – Code of Ethics, it reads:
• Test the accuracy of information
• Seek out subjects….to give them the opportunity to respond.
In a blog by Rob Edwards, he posted a talk he gave to the NUJ Edinburgh Branch; in his list of priorities he highlighted:
• Honesty = No 1 – Check and re check the facts= No 3
It would seem that some BBC journalists have lost their little red book of ethics.

“Information is the currency of democracy”.           

Thomas Jefferson, 1743 – 1826

If we can accept Jefferson’s statement as a foundation stone then we must build upon it. We could consider adding: honest and guarantee the integrity. You may have your own idea. Press play. There is no prize for the winner.
Every educated person must know that bias stalks you like a dark shadow. It engages you in sword play at every turn; you are duty bound to defend against it. However, that is only possible if one is not flying through the imaginary air with your secret mask on.

‘Political correctness and a pervasive Left – of – Centre mindset have infected much of its news agenda, writing and reporting’. Peter Sissons. Daily Mail Nov. 12, 2012.

Sissons, does not stand alone. We know of Mark Thomson, ex. DG at the BBC who admitted to a ‘massive’ left bias. Other instances are too numerous to mention. Surely, it must end this sadomasochism at Auntie Beeb’s? The BBC cannot be allowed to treat; its profession, the viewer, the electorate, democracy, with such contempt.

“…and the manner in which Lord McAlpine has been pursued by the Corporation bears the hallmarks of political bias that must threaten its independence”.                                         Peter Sissons, ibid.

So many great shows, so many voices remembered on rugby, cricket and football. So many belly laughs – “Don’t tell him your name Pike”. So many, so manies endangered by a gang of political hacks!