Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Between a Rorke and a hard place

History was kind to Lieutenant Chard VC. Probably too kind. He didn't live happily ever after. That is the price we heroes have to pay. Tonight in Chart Beauchamp the feather-headed numbskulls who claim to be protecting us all from malpractise and wrongdoing among elected councillors let everyone down. Instead of convicting the loathsome Paul Buchanan for his consistent outbursts of rudeness and vulgarity the useless Adjudication panel let the felon go free. I have rarely witnessed such a miscarriage of justice. In fact I was unable to witness it in person but Cathy Bakewell sent me endless panic-stricken Blackberry messages as the afternoon progressed. The loathsome Buchanan is now hell-bent on having my scalp (what is left of it ). Wishful thinking. His early study of theology and philosophy should have taught one essential lesson: people like me never give in. And some people, surely, do like me....... Don't they?

Friday, 27 March 2009

Hatch Beauchamp

This feature, about the lovely village of Hatch Beauchamp was scheduled to appear in today's "ProperGander"

Those of us fortunate enough to have studied Somerset's rich history will know of the valour of Lieutenant John Rouse Merlot Chard of the Royal Engineers. One hundred and thirty years ago he was left in command of 150 brave British soldiers at Rorke's Drift. His opponents were 4000 zulus. Outnumbered ten to one Chard fought on bravely. His mortal remains are buried at the fine little church in Hatch Beauchamp. All who know the area that still bears his name will understand why the name Chard is synonymous with courage. Chard South is political home to the very able leader of our County, Jill Shortland. For Jill and her predecessor Cathy Bakewell it has taken Rorke's Drift-style determination to face the enemy this week at a brutal battle of words in Hatch Beauchamp itself. Dear Cathy suffered insult and verbal bruising at the hands of a cornered reprobate in a hearing that is still unfinished. She showed the mettle of the Chard breed, however, and kept me informed via her trusty Council Blackberry of all the blood-curdling developments taking place in that most attractive of venues - the splendid Farthings Hotel. A strange place for a trial, you may think. But life is strange. If only Blackberry had been available to Lieutenant John Rouse Merlot Chard. As the 'last man standing' it is always my difficult duty to bear the weight of responsibility for prosecuting such actions. I stand by everything I did in taking on what my name-sake Corporal Jones would have called the rebel "fuzzy-wuzzy" from Chard North. Lieutenant Rouse earned the VC. I am sure that when the full transcripts of these hearings are available my efforts will also deserve intense scrutiny and public recognition of some kind.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Ouch its Crouch!

The man on the left supposedly penned these words. He takes my dictation very well indeed. Readers will recognise the style:

"I would guess that very few of us would have recognised how important the financial 'system' is to us in life. Yes, of course, we understood its financial relevance, whether in trade, in investment, in borrowing or whatever, but I bet there weren't many of us who realised how much the financial sector served as the bedrock to things not quite so financially driven, which included our whole social system. The conclusion that everyone seems to have come to is that the World's financial 'system' is broken, but the question is how many other 'systems' that rely on this financial bedrock are also broken? Take local government as an example. We have exactly the same problem as the man or woman in the high street, in that there are expectations placed upon us which are well above what can be afforded within the present 'system'. A lesson from the economic recession has been that our citizens' high standard of living was a sham and completely unaffordable as they relied too much on borrowing and not enough on good old fashioned Victorian values of spending only what was earned and nothing more. The trouble is that the same is true in local government and we know full well that within the present 'system' of delivering local government the finances available to it wont be nearly enough. So, as with the financial sector, if the money isn't available to furnish the current 'system' then it is the 'system' itself which must change and many councils, thank goodness, are already contemplating this. One of these changes has to be a step change in the way we conduct our business and even with all the good work we've done on multi-agency working, partnerships etc, there is still one fundamental flaw which is that we, as a sector, continue to be too organisationally centric, when we need to be far more place centric, community centric or even citizen centric. And the trouble is, all of our internal 'systems', whether they are financial, ICT or employment based are light years behind where we will need to be to achieve the type of extra-organisational flexibility we will soon need. There is much to be done!"

Thanks Richard. I couldn't have put it better myself

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Well Done Sue!

My very good friend and much maligned colleague Sue Barnes - who helped us come to such a fantastic financial arrangement with IBM and SouthWest One has just picked up a prestigious award. She earned it for hard work in the County of Buckinghamshire on similar strategic projects. I have no doubt at all that it was well earned, and I have no doubt at all that Sue will be the recipient of other awards when the success of SouthWest One is more widely recognised. Her husband, Colin, would avow to the huge effort she put in. It is extremely fortunate that Colin takes a close interest in these matters. Somerset can be proud of them both.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Left-wing lackeys

As everyone knows I am, above all, a fair-minded and decent individual. I always play by the rules and defend those who have been subjected to intimidation. That is why I resent the campaign being waged on the left of politics to undermine people like me in our quest to ensure level playing fields in the workplace. For we cannot allow blatent breaches of data protection laws in the name of union representation. That would be wrong. When the union man named in this article was caught out by my loyal lieutenants we treated his case in the same impartial manner that all such miscreants should expect. We did not hurry to pass judgement upon him. Instead we suspended the man deliberately and delayed his trial for four months in order to allow hot tempers to cool and common sense to prevail. His full displinary hearing was conducted in accordance with the rules and the decision of that hearing will be announced shortly. These wicked Fleet Street hacks describe such action as "blacklisting". This is nonsense. Any suggestion that delays were instituted to instill fear among staff is ridiculous. Those who spread such rumours can expect justified harsh punsishment.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Three weeks and counting......

Everything is going SO well! As you can see the new SAP system is already on target for complete installation. The links to Warwick are coming on a treat and all that remains is for me to persuade Ministers that Warwickshire should be part of Somerset so that my original promise that SouthWestOne would provide local jobs for local people can be realised. I am on the case. The arrival of the nice young men from Bangalore to assist with training has also encouraged my dedicated team to think outside the box. There are indeed many boxes outside of which to think. I am confident that we will show those idiots in Parliament how excellent we are

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Tremendous news from the Audit Commission! Somerset has at last gone way beyond excellence and achieved five stars. You can see them displayed in the photograph taken outside County Hall. Do not be disturbed by the men in white coats on the left hand side of the photograph. They were simply on hand to keep the staff in order. I don't know how the Viking warrior got into the picture (he is wearing a horse blanket and carrying a pole) I believe he may be a senior IBM executive. I have commissioned a film to celebrate this wonderful event. All staff were invited to participate. The late Peter Sellers would have been proud. I know you will all enjoy it. Sit back and watch my loyal team forming a star for the cameras.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Spike Jones

A few days ago, when I attended that most important conference in London about transformational change, a young man in nerdy glasses who said he was from Computer Weekly canvassed my professional opinion about the progress of SouthWest One. I was bullish, but not brash. It is never good to brag even if bragging seems the appropriate reaction. I told the man - and I watched his biro scribble my comments into his notebook - that SouthWest One was definitely going to succeed even if, as yet, its customer base was small. I referred to the "spike" - a sum of money extracted from potential new clients to allow them to join us in this most exclusive joint venture club. It is not a derogatory term. The spike is the traditional iron fastening for railway tracks. It may be a humble hero of the industrial revolution but it has become a small cash fee for membership of the international digital society. The spike may have deterred some clients but I confidently predict that as soon as the new dawn of IBM's SAP computer solution begins to prove SouthWest One's mission on April Ist the clients will be flooding our way. Mark my words.