Government loses more records

The wonderfully efficient government here has managed to lose even more confidential data on citizens, just weeks after losing sensitive information on some 25 million people (and taking quite some time for Alistair Darling to actually get round to telling citizens and the House) – now they’ve admitted losing a hard drive with information on some three million candidates for the driving theory test. While not as potentially sensitive as the HMCR balls-up (which included losing data such as children’s details, bank accounts and national insurance numbers) it is astonishing that civil service departments can continue to be so bloody incompetent. Sure, mistakes always happen, but repeated mistakes of such magnitude?

If any of us in a private sector job screwed up on that scale repeatedly we’d be fired. Unlike in the civil service or government – the HMCR head Paul Gray who resigned over his department’s almighty screw-up was back working in a government post – the Cabinet Office no less – a few weeks after resigning at a salary in excess of £200, 000. That’s 200K paid from our taxes, boys and girls, so we work away in jobs where our bosses would fire us for this level of ineptitude (and rightly so) yet folk earning many times more than us (with far better pension and holiday rights as well, plus Honours thrown in regularly) get another extremely well paid job as a reward for mismanaging a major public service. And naturally no politicians are resigning or taking the rap for it, despite the fact their reforms of the civil service contributed in part to the system failing in the first place (and repeatedly). And then our ‘leaders’ wonder why increasingly we are a nation of people who seem selfish and unwilling to accept personal responsibility when they set these kinds of examples time and again…

Secret service spied on Scottish politicians

A long standing rumour that MI5 and Special Branch spooks spied on members of the Scottish National Party in the 1950s appears not to be paranoia but fact according to documents discussed in Scotland on Sunday today. Perfectly legal political parties and democratically elected representatives of the people seem to be fair game for these shadowy bastards – and we’re not talking about intelligence services keeping an eye on extreme parties such as the BNP with many potential hidden links to secret agendas or links to even less savoury (and illegal) sub groups but to a party following a publicly espoused campaign to move for encouraging Scottish independence. Given the intelligence services also spied on Labour ministers and even the prime minister in the 60s and 70s it illustrates how much of a law unto themselves such groups can often be, how little real oversight there is from parliamentary committees and just why we should oppose the present government who want to use Fear to make us agree to an ever expanding range of new powers for them ‘to make us safer’.

And given the SNP recently humiliated Labour in its heartland of Scotland to take control of the Scottish parliament this must be even more humiliating for the government, especially since there are still rumours of dirty tricks and spying to this day. Of course, such rumours are rubbished as paranoid conspiracy theory nonsense by Westminster government spokespersons, but since that’s what they said of the 50s dirty tricks ops against the SNP who the hell believes a word that comes out of their mouths? As they used to say in the X-Files, “trust no-one”