Decisions can be as simple as ‘when to go to bed’ right up to ‘Should we go to war?’ A little way up the list we have to account for our decisions, like ‘was it wise to have thumped the scrum half when the Ref was looking?’. I read that Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, was alleged to have decided to spend over £21,000 of public money, on personal, legal battles with the press. It concerned printed libellous statements, which he wanted redressed. I was under the impression that if one was libelled and went to court, your assertion was either upheld or was thrown out. If it was upheld you were given damages, unless the matter was specious. In this case I would have thought that long before a sum of £21,000 had been reached, somebody in charge of the public purse would have asked questions. The prime one being, ‘Why was it a public instead of a private action.’ If damages had been received, to whom would they have been paid?
The man in the street is worried about much wider ramifications, where decisions have been made in the public arena, that to seem unnecessary. A prime example was the introduction of managers to the Health Service, when Matrons had been the backbone of the hospital system, and successful.. Old duffers, .who have worked in large organisations, carrying high responsibility and handling large sums, think in any technical situation, the professionals are the people to make professional decisions, The outcomes of almost all problems in a technical environment inevitably have a high technical bias, not merely bookkeeping, so technical decisions take precedence.
It is my experience that promotion from outside an organisation, rather than selection from those in house who have had on-the-job training, is counter productive. It is then, that promotion from outside and the employment of consultants must become the rule’ because the pool of experienced technicians has dwindled with time. The Civil Service is a case in point.
In industry serious mistakes are not tolerated, but It seems that in government circles, public employ, and government management, anything goes there is little or no accountability, until the press gets hold of it. It is demonstrated by the current cases, concerning, the managers responsible for hospitals that had a high number of terminal cases from some alphabet diseases. Initially the managers were to be paid golden handshakes when they were forced to offer their resignation, and it was only rescinded after public acrimony. This is only one instance of many, where mismanagement, inefficiency and bad decision making, including repeated U-turns of policy, have gone without more than a smack on the wrist from the Accounts Committee.
Who is given the powers to make such idiotic decisions? The electorate is probably facing years of rising taxation, falling equity and, financial instability, which to some extent is as a result of, and the general outcome of, the questionable decisions to open two fronts of battle, against professional advice. Where is the accountability? I don’t think Britain, for many years, has been anywhere in the International good-guy league, and the bombers only needed an excuse to change our whole way of travel, and in some cases life expectancy.
We, as individuals, whether we think it or not, are usually accountable for our own decision, registered by the outcome, in both material and social ways. Why, on the larger stage, where people think in billions of our money, is this not required?