Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Big does have some advantages, like the ability to shout louder or attract more notice than anyone else. It also allows you to bully your way into the position you want to occupy, but it isn't necessarily the best way to actually run a business. For one thing the "Management" and the "Board" seldom actually know what is happening on the "shop floor". They certainly think they do, but that is because they hear what they want to hear and the troops on the floor tell them what they believe the bosses want to be told and what they hope will get them noticed and promoted - or at least leave them in a protected position. The biggest disadvantage of "Big" is that it takes a long time for any faultlines to become apparent and for any message identifying failure to actually reach the top or anyone in fact that can actually deal with it. The Management seldom have any contact with the coalface and so are unable to identify things that are not going as they believe them to be.
The banks make a good example, the customer service end has become a "sales" service with the "customer support", until recently, trying hard to get you to borrow money or to sell you "services" which perhaps you would have been well advised to do without. Mortgage lending at 125% of value and on repayment calculations based on 4.5 times salary (Sometimes on a combined salary) may sound attractive to someone struggling to get on the property ladder, but is it good business risk? Probably not. The inability to communicate freely and quickly is strangled as soon as any organisation grows to a point in which the top management has no contact with the guy on the shopfloor. This can be demonstrated in any large organisation and both the Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service can demonstrate this. While the services were small (Say 500 employees) and run by uniformed Chiefs who knew their people and could identify a person in their service on the ground, the bottom rung felt that they could make themselves heard when they had a good idea or saw something going wrong. As the organisation around the Chief grows beyond a certain point the isolation begins to bite in both directions and more than just communication suffers, trust is also lost.
Big rarely produces the "savings" its supporters so often trumpet, the amalgamation of three Fire and Rescue Services into a single one in Wales ended up costing more than twice what it had cost to run the three independently, but this is, of course, concealed as it isn't in the public interest to allow it to be known. Again, the loss of direct communication has had its affect, but a more serious problem is that if there is a part of the organisation which is underperforming or failing to perform at all, it can be concealed by the sheer scale of the problem of trying to communicate. Once the organisation goes beyond a certain size it begins to attract passengers - people sidelined into posts and forgotten. But the astute in these positions can often take advantage and there are any number of examples of such people - who may have been sidelined for disciplinary reasons originally - using the opportunity to reinvent themselves and play the politics to advantage, emerging again in positions of power and on promotion well beyond their actual experience or ability. "Big" frequently actually encourages this. After all, the "management" only know what they are told and what they want to hear, with no contact below the "managers" below them, they have no counter checks they can run.
Look around you at the worst performing organisations in this present crisis and you soon notice that they are almost all "mega" corporations whose management have little contact with the customer other than through "marketing" reports. Look at the state of the Civil Service and you discover that there is a chasm between the Whitehall "management" and those who actually struggle to deliver the service they thought they were employed to deliver. The Civil Service subscribes to the vision that anyone with a "management" qualification can "manage" any function, no matter how technical, without any knowledge of what is being done or how it is done. This simply compounds the "big is beautiful" failures as communication becomes next to impossible between top, middle and bottom of the organisation and its branches. And the wastage of taxpayer money, the failure of projects and the frustration of the lower tier civil servants that manifests in sickleave, stress and absenteeism should tell you all you need to know.
I can identify no "large" organisation where the communication between top and bottom is filter free. I cannot identify a single mega corporation or organisation in which "savings" offset the wastage occassioned by communication failures, duplication of work or sheer wastage due to overly bureaucratic procedures. Big ain't beautiful and it certainly isn't efficient. In my view, big is bust.
Monday, 30 March 2009
W H Smith (Order at counter or online) Intriguingly Smith's have a different ISBN for the book to the one under which it is published ..... I have in front of me ISBN 978-1-906459-39-0 their version ends in a 77 which doesn't stack up ....
Amazon.co.uk - Although irritatingly again listed as "out of stock", though inviting you to "sign up to be notified when it becomes available.
Naturally Hallmark Press International continue to supply through their online bookstore(See the sidebar), and I intend to keep looking for other outlets so watch this space. Not unnaturally I'd be delighted to hear that Smith's or Waterstones had sold copies over the counter so if anyone does order through them please let me know!
Sunday, 29 March 2009
All very well for our present government to blame everyone but themselves, but the truth is that it is they who changed the "rules" and allowed our banks and our local government treasurers to venture capital where it should not have gone. It is Labour who have driven through "Public/Private Funding Initiatives" against all advice and at vast cost to the taxpayer. It is there fore refreshing to see one of our MEP's, that body based in Strasbourg which costs an arm and a leg and which is window dressing for the most part to hide the fact that the EU is run by unelected Commissioners and Bureaucrats, has stood up and delivered what should have been a devastating critique. Pity not one newspaper and certainly not one TV Channel or News Bulletin in the UK even mentioned it. But then, why should they, every last one of them is a part of the Labour Party Propaganda machine.
Mr Daniel Hannan MEP deserves to be promoted by his Party, but my bet is that Mr David Cameron MP will mark him down as a "trouble-maker" and set the Goons from the Whips Office on him to make sure he doesn't threaten the Leadership in the run up to the elections. I find it astounding that I have to go to YouTube to find the speech - which is brilliant - and to hear it. I have to ask, why has the UK Media been so silent about it? Surely, if, as our Illustrious Leader Gordon Brown keeps telling us, Strasbourg is "vital to the UK and the UK's interests in Europe" the media should have picked this up and given us the full story? Or is that too much to ask a parochial and self interested media run by left wingers with their "Internationalist" agenda?
Brown's call to "spend our way out of the recession" rings hollow when his government is imposing taxes that are causing businesses to close, cancelling defence contracts which put literally thousands of jobs at risk and recruiting Civil Servants at a rate of thousands a month to consume more taxes and more tax money than ever before. Brown and Labour good at managing the economy? I don't think so - and nor do the IMF or anyone else with a modicum of economic knowledge. The only thing I will give them credit for is that it has taken them longer to destroy it this time round than in the past, but that may also be a measure of just how well the Conservatives left it when this shower of worthless PC parasites were elected.
I suppose we can only hope that we will now see them cast into the political wilderness where they and their left wing puppets in the media belong.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Ah well, it has given me the excuse to stay home and attack the housework. The ironing in particular has got a bit behind so that is next, after I have finished filing the last of another set of bank statements and related paperwork. If only those who owe me payment for the work I have done were as prompt as I am expected to be each month.
Ah well, back to the cough lozenges and the filing!
Friday, 27 March 2009
THis evening promises to be a "stay indoors" with a glass of the red wine, a book, some music, the cat and the woollies while I subside from a rather fraught week. I have some more work lined up for next week so the bank should be happy and I just hope the cold eases off with a little less running about and a lot more getting things sorted out here at home.
One good thing is that a course I was asked to pull together to be run in Ireland is now on the cards for May/June and I am looking forward to spending three weeks or more in the West of Ireland even though it will be work, its a lovely part and I'll be working with some lovely people. Lots to look forward too.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Sadly it doesn't look as if I will be in a position to join the survivors this year. The reunion is always in October and coincides with the Schools Founder's Day celebrations. It would have been nice, but in the present financial climate I can't see it happening for me at any rate. So, to Merv, Des, Alistair, Bruce and all the others, I say, hope its a great year for you guys and perhaps I will make the 50th!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Simple, a proposal that everyone in England should "turn off all electrical appliances for one hour" this coming Saturday. What will this achieve? According to the organisers, it will "send a message to the government that the people of Britain want an end to energy wastage." Really? So, will the one hour shutdown actually result in any power stations not running for an hour? No, it won't. What it will result in is a massive surge as everyone stupid enough to do this, turns everything back on at the end of the hour.
Climate change is a very complex issue, we are not even completely sure which way its going. Yes, glaciers and ice caps are melting, but parts of the oceans are cooling and the "Atlantic Conveyor" the return flow of cold water to the tropics which balances the Gulf Stream, is slowing. We have just had the coldest few months in 15 years in Britain and parts of Europe are still getting snow, again, the first time in many years it has stayed on the ground this late. In the Southern Hemisphere a heat wave has affected Southern Australia and Southern Africa, but selectively. In the atmosphere, the Ozone hole is closing and probably also contributing to the heat build up the Green lobby are so fond of screaming about.
So how will another little overage hippy "gesture" reverse this trend? Simple answer it won't, but it will give a lot of airheads a nice warm fluffy feeling as they all settle back into their electrically dependent lifestyles, gas heated of course and put on the kettle for another cup of something that has to be shipped to their local supermarket so that they don't have to waste time growing it, drying it and all their other foodstuffs themselves. This is why I am totally opposed to these gestures. They are usually made by people gullible enough to believe that they "make a difference" doing it, yet never actually consider what they really need to give up in order to really make a difference. My short list of things the "developed world" would have to give up completely to cancel the "carbon imbalance" includes -
- All electrical goods,
- Central heating,
- all manufacturing and revert to "cottage" and homemade goods,
- frozen foods, tinned foods
- pre-cooked foods
- clothing bought from stores as finished goods and revert to make your own after spinning and weaving to find the wherewithal,
- Clean drinking water,
- flush sanitation
- cars, trains and buses which use internal combustion engines,
- travel to anywhere you can't walk,
- All plastic goods and all synthetic goods,
- bathing regularly,
In short, we would have to revert to grow it yourself, make it yourself, no modern medicine, no modern conveniences. Fend for yourself. And even if we did, attractive as it might seem to the 1960's hippy generation and their equally stupid offspring, the climate would continue to change.
Gestures are stupid and pointless, what we really need is some positive and sensible ideas to adapt ourselves and make our technology less demanding and damaging. Even in the stone age we were changing the environment - look to Africa and South America and what you see is landscapes denuded of trees and shrubbery to provide fuel for heating and cooking, land for growing food or grazing that most damaging of all livestock - goats.
No I will not be joining in this stupid gesture!
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Ce la vie, at least tonight I'm pretty sure I will get some sleep - once I have calmed down after the meeting - mainly because I'm absolutely exhausted.
My students don't give me a tenth of the trouble some of the people at the meetings do. I loathe meetings, they tend to be forums for those who always expect someone else to actually do the work while they bask in the glory when it goes well and point fingers when it all goes wrong. Without ever having to take responsibility themselves. Somehow I'm glad I'm shortly retiring from this role.
Monday, 23 March 2009
Mind you, it could be worse, I could have the Press trying to make a storm in a teacup out of nothing as the Conservative Party now has. Its fascinating how much noise the Press are able to make over a simple musing. The Conservatives are not the government and may not be elected, so what the blazes is wrong with the Shadow Business Secretary using the words "an aspiration" in relation to a tax they want to change? It will be an aspiration until they are in a position to change it - but the left dominated press have had a field day trying to make political capital for their paymasters in Labour.
Its tiresome and its a sham. Crocodiles do not weep and the Press itself has nothing whatever to be self-righteous about. Now, I'm knackered, so its off to bed.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Friday, 20 March 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Do go and have a listen to what he is saying though, he is right, globalisation, corporatism and "libertarianism" have all become new words for dictatorial control of the wage and salaried classes. I have long considered myself a liberal conservative - note the small "l" and small "c" - yet I find more and more that I am losing my liberty, losing my mobility and losing my right to think and speak as I see. That cannot be right. That is the very antithesis of "libertarian society", yet, the politically correct politicians now infesting our institutions argue that in order to "uplift" minorities I must have my liberty restricted - in case I cause offence to some minority member who wants to live in my cultural sphere, but change to the one they have escaped from.
If I choose to live in another society or another culture I must adapt myself to their customs and mores, not the other way round. That is where I find myself at odds with those who now call themselves "liberal" or "libertarian". They are neither. I am grateful to Little man; What now? for bringing this lecture to my attention.
The second thing is the way the system decides where your pictures are going to appear. Guess I can live with that, after all, it does give me several options on this, so hey, what difference does it make. Having access to all the tools and settings is interesting, especially as I am not that technically competent (yet!) at this and so am probably not reading things correctly and so have to play around until I find something that does more or less what I expect it to. Possibly not the best way to do it, but it works for me!
As the famous Cecil John Rhodes, the man whose vision was to have a British Empire controlled railway line from the Cape to Cairo all on British territory said on his deathbed - "So much to do, and so little time!"
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
The grave is situated to the south of the little cathedral which is itself the restored remains of the Quire of the medieval monastery. To me, this is without doubt the holiest place in Ireland.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
The Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus is in every sense of the word an Excommunication issued by a man moved by horror and grief, a man who knew what slavery meant to the men and women of his flock who had been seized by the Soldiers in his letter. A man who railed against the practice of slavery in an age when it was considered normal to enslave anyone who could not resist your force of arms. The second is more telling because it is his Declaration of Faith and exposition of his ministry. It is from that that we learn of his own seizure and six years as a slave in Ireland, of the misery he suffered during those six years and of his resolve which saw him overcome opposition from the Church itself to become the first Missionary Bishop since St Paul.
Patrick, the man, awed the Irish who had held him as a slave. They gave him the nickname "Naofa buachaill" or "Holy Boy" to mock his faith and his prayers, but he turned that into a weapon, one they could not overcome with violence or blandishment. He saw himself as God's slave and laughed at anyone who threatened to deprive him of his freedom with the answer - "You cannot, for I have none, I am the slave of God." Through this he won the respect and then the hearts of all who encountered him. Patrick, the Bishop, wasn't popular with his fellow bishops in Britain or in Rome. He was a maverick, one who refused to play the political games and got on with tending the people God had entrusted to him.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me -
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Patrick was not a Monk, nor did he found monasteries, those came after his death. The monastics claimed him, yet he founded churches in villages (Duns or Raths in the Irish of his time) and gave communities Bishops and Presbyters to lead them and minister too them. After his death these gradually became monastic communities with Abbots taking ascendancy over the Bishops and the tradition that he was a monk grew to support this take over of the church by the ecclesiastics. If you went to look for Patrick in his own time or in a service you would have to have him pointed out as he never wore a mitre (They came much later - around 1100) or carried a crook or crozier and dressed in the ordinary clothes of the people he worked amongst. This is supported by one of the legends that speaks of a would be assassin being unable to tell the Saint apart from his charioteer.
You will not find Patrick in any list of those beatified by any Pope, nor will you find his name among those appointed Bishop by the Popes of his time, most likely because his patron was St Germanus of Auxerre and not Celestine of Rome. Patrick was declared Saint by those who knew and loved him, by those who carried on his work for the gospel with unswerving love and loyalty and one day I hope to be permitted to sit at his feet and thank him for the inspiration he has given me and millions of others. Yes, I am wearing something green. No, I will not be parading waving any national flags, nor will I be drinking any green beer. I may raise a glass of fine Irish Whiskey to the man I would like to meet more than any other in this life or the next. I am celebrating his feast in prayer and worship as he would wish me to.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Still a lot to learn and to do, obviously.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Why have I moved? Put simply, so that I can have a bit more control over the site, the way it looks and how it is laid out. MuNuvia has been great, but I was actually there on the back of another blog which is now inactive. Unfortunately that means I can't get at the templates, sidebars and layouts so material I wanted to change or things I wanted to put up simply can't be done. For the time being I plan to run this blog in parallel with my original, and see how things work out. I'm still struggling to figure out how to organise the sidebar and one or two other things, but so far, it looks good. Features I really like include the fact that there is a comment screening system built in. Some of my older readers will know that comment spam is a constant problem on my old site, though it has been seriously reduced in recent months since some fairly drastic measures were taken to deal with it.
Now all I have to do is find a way to import permissions for Mausi and The Postulant to post here as well. Oh, and sort out the sidebar!