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October 27, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Truly, an excellent piece of news:

A key Labour law and order pledge to set up a national non-emergency number to divert calls from the 999 system is to be shelved.

Ministers have decided not to extend the programme beyond pilot areas where it has been running over the summer.

Now this isn't snark and it isn't actually anything to do with the idea for the phone number itself. But it is very good news indeed. You see, someone had a bright idea. So then there were some pilots set up. Unfortunately, the pilots pointed to the fact that it wasn't a very bright idea: the volume of 999 calls didn't go down.

Idea, experimentation, failure, can it. That's exactly the process we want to be used when people are spending our tax money. So all good stuff, truly, hats off to the people with the courage to actually back away from something not working.

Unfortunately, here comes the bad news. The mental pygmies who actually rule us can't quite bring themselves to state the facts in those terms:

The retreat has been signalled in confidential briefing papers leaked to The Daily Telegraph. They include guidelines to press officers on how to sustain a line that the scheme, which has cost millions to set up, has been a success. They are told to deny to callers that an election promise has been broken because phase one of the network has been introduced.

Until Westminster's Village Idiot Convention (VIC) can actually bring itself to a realization of the truth, that ideas have to be tested and the failure of one is just that, the failure of an idea, not the loss of political virility nor full blown proof that every other idea is a failure, then we'll continue to have idiocies like this:

The briefing also tells press officers to deny any waste of public money and to say the £1.84m spent so far on preparing for the second wave will ''help inform the wider evaluation process."

Nearly £ 2 million to be spent to save face. Jebus, we'd all respect you more fellas if you'd just agree, OK, bad idea but we had to try it, didn't we?

October 27, 2006 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink

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