Thursday, 28 August 2008

Because they're worth it

I have heard some stupid internal carping about the high salaries now being offered to key employees of SouthWest One. The new Chief Procurement Officer, for example, will command around £90,000 a year. This is a perfectly fair rate of pay given the responsibilities - developing and delivering the provision for collaborative strategic procurement and providing thought-leadership of leading edge procurement strategies.Tenacity, drive, personal acumen and persuasion will be required. Give Eileen Hill a bell today on 07740639930 if you want to apply - its your last chance. And as for the carpers - well I know who you are. There are middle managers at SCC doing very nicely thank you. Some of them drive expensive German motor cars. One or two have personalised numbers plates. Let's cut the carping. We are all better off in the SouthWest One family.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Wherefore art though Romero?

The images of my nation's success have cheered me greatly in recent days. None more so than the brave feats of Rebecca Romero. Her origins, like mine in Kirkby, were humble. Her achievements, like mine in Somerset, have well exceeded everyone's measure of excellence. Some may mock the efforts of Team GB, just as some have mocked the efforts of Team Somerset, but she and I have a great deal in common. And frankly who cares if Rebecca chooses to advertise a sports drink by riding naked with her firm thighs pulsating for the cameras. It is no worse than me championing an international computer company by lecturing delegates on the wonders of business partnership at the conference they sponsor. If only they'd allowed me to get down to the buff

Thursday, 14 August 2008

My Right to Know

I am delighted at the courageous decision of the Home Office to give Somerset County Council new powers to access e-mail and internet records. A great deal of precious time is being wasted attempting to deal with the rash of fictitious blog sites that have suddenly appeared. My personal intervention with the Home Secretary has borne fruit quickly. It is only fair to warn the perpetrators of such cyber crime that I already have significant power and influence and am quite prepared to use it. Desist, in other words, or you will face the fearsome consequences.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Likely Vlads

At fifty-five I am just running in, ticking over, flexing my muscles, gently stretching my huge cubic capacities. Like my good friend Mr Putin I cut a lean figure in the field and we share the same age and several of the same ambitions. Should the time ever come for me to relinquish my role as Somerset's Chief Executive I would cheerfully accept a quasi Presidential office in the county. But with such power inevitably comes great responsibility. The future communities over which I may one day preside will need to be not only well governed but intelligently managed. This is where global partners are so valuable. I commend Vladimir's decision to call a halt to the current armed struggle. I will post a message on his My Space site and send warmest greetings to his charming lady wife. But, of course, Georgia is always on my mind.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Who needs Councillors?

Gordon Brown has ventured to the East Anglian coast for a family break. But along with his pilates teacher there will also be a large team of advisors and officials. Prime Ministers are never off duty. How different things are in local government. County Hall manages quite well thank you very much without any of the politicians present. Much as I respect the fervour and input of Mrs Shortland and her colleagues our machine of state whirrs quietly and efficiently in their absence. I told my loyal staff in a recent newsletter that it was probably time to open a political dialogue about the future direction of representation at county level. Are councillors necessary? Do they add anything to the sum total of human knowledge? Could we survive without them? These are important questions to address especially when considering the ludicrous furore about SouthWest One. Like most things in life the truth is cunningly concealed somewhere between the extremes. You cannot group all councillors together. A small handful have, in my opinion, ideas way above their station. Some are so patently lacking in the necessary brain cells that it is a wonder they are able to place the appropriate footwear upon the appropriate feet. But most are satisfied to do the sensible thing and leave all the decision making process to the experts – the officials who know best how to manage affairs. Councillors are there to make weight and make the right noises at the right time on cue. The intelligent ones realise their lemming-like limitations and leave us all alone during August. I wish they all would.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Pulanamic Penetration Profiling

My new interest – like all my interests – is gathering pace rapidly. What I am particularly interested in is what I describe as the penetration profile. That is the variation of pellet penetration within the shot cloud and whether one could thus estimate the potential penetration profile for a given load.It has been demonstrated by Compton & Giblin3 that individual pellets within a shot cloud travel at varying velocity, and thus there will be a difference in the terminal velocity and energy of pellets within the shot cloud. Examples of differences in leading and trailing edge velocities and energy are shown in their report.Where Compton and Giblin illustrated a shot cloud profile as “a side-on view of the shot cloud in space”, I wanted to show a side-on view of the penetration of the shot cloud.They went on to say “The shot cloud profiles offer unprecedented detail in the quality control information that it can give, particularly with regard to the pellet energy variation within the shot cloud. They also made the point that their studies showed that there was no single value for the flight time of a given load to a particular range and that there can be significant differences between flight times of leading and trailing edge pellets in the shot cloud. Thus there can be no single velocity for a given range. They went on to show large calculated differences in the kinetic energy between leading and trailing edge pellets.In one example at 40 metres they calculated a difference of 20% in pellet kinetic energy between leading and trailing edge pellets. This possibly making part of the shot cloud ineffective.Unfortunately, the significance of shot cloud profiles and the variability of pellets within the shot cloud appears largely to have gone unnoticed by the great majority of shooters. Most shooters, probably unconsciously, assume that each and every pellet within the shot cloud has the same velocity and energy value at a given range. I know better. Ducks and geese beware.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Big Bang

I used to be against the use of guns. Coming, as I do, from the city of Liverpool where drive-by shootings are now all too frequent, my delicate sensibilities were ingrained early. But now, as I settle back into the lifestyle of my adopted new home, I can begin to see some sense in the sport. Shooting requires great concentration, real physical strength, dogged determination and - not to put too fine a point upon it - something of the killer instinct too. I have previously assuaged my anger at stupid individuals in a repressed but harmless way. However Penny's advice is to vent my ire with force in future - and where better to do so than on my own doorstep. Thankfully Morebath sports one of the best shooting venues in the region. I have a number of targets in mind!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Life is a beach

I have long been an admirer of the Tudor historian Eamon Duffy and was delighted to acquire a copy of his excellent tome The Voices of Morebath. It will take pride of place in my saddle-bag as I traverse the lanes near Dulverton during the summer vacation. It is the story of how the tiny local parish of Morebath functioned in the 1520s, and how it survived the vicissitudes of the mid-Tudor period. In many ways this is the biography of one Christopher Trychay’s working life. He was the priest - a uniquely powerful figure. Indeed they called him "Sir" Christopher. What an excellent tradition to confer an honourary knighthood upon the leading figure in any community. How I wish it could be thus in this day and age. Sir Christopher was really Morebath's Chief Executive. He emerges as a strong, sometimes pedantic, occasionally difficult man, with a pithy and powerful turn of phrase. He had definite ideas about how his parishioners should behave, and he encouraged them to cooperate, not least by being as meticulous in his records of those who failed to contribute to parish expenses as he was in recording those who were more generous. It must remain questionable whether his parishioners followed his wishes out of devotion or constraint. But so what. To encourage allegiance it is sometimes necessary to cajole and threaten. I should know. I heartily recommend this book. Relish the detail as you read. It will massage the mind just as another element of Morebath life can also massage the soul. So if you spot my familiar handlebars leaning up against the railings at Whitehall Farmhouse don't be too surpised - a bit of therapy for the old energy field never comes amiss!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Leakers will be dealt with

The passing of information to outsiders is not only morally wrong it undermines the health and welfare of our efficient and excellent organisation. There is a strict policy of zero tolerance towards those who convey gossip and ill-digested facts to person or persons with motives that are, at the very least, dubious. Only the other day I was with a group of senior managers and made it absolutely clear that leakers will be dealt with severely. Even when I am not in the office I keep watch. Vacations make no difference. My influence reigns. There will be no hiding place for those who transgress my rules. FIFO is the rallying cry to colleagues and the abiding professional yardstick. Fit in or f*** off.