Non aviation content. Play nice – No religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.
johnm wrote:.. the focus on privatisation and outsourcing in the UK .. repeated restructuring of the UK's local government and utilities ..
Other countries .. a more positive attitude to investment in public services and a greater sense that they're joined up and run professionally...

.. many of the areas where we observe major problems are outside the EU competences, ... Some areas of improvement..have been driven by EU regulations.


Two particular problems in UK:

a. centralised control of 'strategic infrastructure' spending, with comcomitant apparent attitude by Ministers and Treasury under some Governments that spending in, near, or for London is 'investment', but anywhere else is 'wasteful subsidy' :roll: ; very different from the devolved powers and prestige of, say, the locally directly-elected Maire in France, who has more effective clout and moral authority than the centrally-appointed Prefet; and

b. generally (there have, of course, been exceptions), a public service sector (including law enforcement and administration) with high ethical standards and motivation; these, however, are being constantly punished (outsourcing, redundancies, pay freezes and cuts, pension contributions embezzled, senior posts being appointed directly by Ministers on much better terms than a career public servant would have received in those posts, .. ) by Ministers, and belittled by hostile and frequently mendacious media, often encouraged in private and even in public by those same Ministers. This is in contrast to the vigorous and unashamedly self-interested, job-preserving and -creating attitudes and policies of the public sector Unions in France, attitudes which the UK media like to attribute without evidence to their UK counterparts. :twisted:

Having lived/worked in UK, continental Europe and North America, I reckon that in UK governance is better than most, but in some areas government is often worse (deliberately small 'g's).

I am aware that some Forumites will disagree .. :?
Last edited by kanga on Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
johnm, Charles Hunt, OCB and 1 others liked this
Going back to Belgian roads. One thing this place is well known for is its Abbeys and associated religious devotees in the Monastic beer sector.

The roads have clear parallels; are quite abbey-small, a lot of praying goes on (dear gawd, not another accident at Grand Bigard - that’s 2 hours to do 4km), and after a horrid trip along the R0 (nick-named “Rhooooo!” by the francophones), many head straight for a Trappist beer when they get home (or close to home, but let’s not go into that).

I’ve done more than 10k of driving here and about the past few weeks. The roads are better than a few years back; eg the Luxembourg road that was chosen by a politician against the advice of every engineer consulted, but they still have major issues.

If I had the time I’d compile a library of Belgian Road Signs. The majority are illegible, with trees, lampposts, graffiti, or simply faded away since they were put up in the early 70s.

It’s not due to a lack of Government. Depending on how you count them, we have at least 5 - and pay pretty much the highest tax in the Western world.
Many public sector activities in France which are there performed by direct employees of central government are, in UK, performed by other sections of public sector, eg Local or Devolved Government or 'trading agencies', or privatised or outsourced. In UK jargon, only central government direct career employees tend to be called 'Civil Servants', while equivalents in France are commonly 'fonctionnaires'. In France, most teachers at all levels and, say, equivalents of CAA or NATS, are such, but UK equivalents are not. I do not know what those UK figures do or do not include, ie only Civil Servants or all working in or for public sector.

But figures are, indeed, interesting. Thanks for posting.
johnm liked this
There are some academic papers that do a very good job of getting apples to compare to oranges.

Comparing public sector expenditure only makes sense when the countries spend on the same services, and whether they count as public servants or not.

PFI took it off the PSBR or whatever it was called. Final salary pensions replaced by index linked wotzits, another way to reduce public debt. Privitized student debt, another one off the public books etc.

The French are smart enough to split budgets down to Departments, that can then hide behind all kinds of administrative couilles. The Brits have been too honest in many respects.
John, I’m actually quite serious.
I have close friends who were victims of the CFP, and saw Spanish trawlers with hidden compartments, fishing in local Scottish waters.

The locals stuck to the letter of the law (well, mostly), but their southern brethren were running illegal nets and hiding the catch on an industrial scale.

Of course, due to CFP regs, the checks were done at the landing port...once back in Spain that somehow completely missed the hidden chilled compartment filled with fish.
Once landed, the wee frozen wigglers were fair game - and surely sold onto British supermarkets as “British” catch.

I’m, I happy to remind people, pro-European. I’d happily see the likes of Belgium, Netherlands , Luxembourg cease to exist as nation states.

When the Scottish Parliament tendered for new fishery protection boats, it went to EU wide tender. Poland won.

Not like shipyards on the Clyde knew nothing about building boats ....
Once landed, the wee frozen wigglers were fair game - and surely sold onto British supermarkets as “British” catch.

Unlikely as most of the stuff landed here actually heads for Spain in the back of a lorry!!

Actually I misunderstood your post, I don't disagree with the point now clarified and I have railed against gold plating and idiotic interpretation of procurement rules for aeons. It is perfectly feasible to interpret rules and write purchase specs that favour local customs and practice and the other countries have always done that and the Regulations were deliberately written to allow a degree of flexibility in interpretation with the ECJ the ultimate arbiter in case of dispute.

Criminality is criminality and we would entitled to root it out as indeed we do in some cases.
johnm wrote: It is perfectly feasible to interpret rules and write purchase specs that favour local customs and practice and the other countries have always done that and the Regulations were deliberately written to allow a degree of flexibility in interpretation with the ECJ the ultimate arbiter in case of dispute.

and therein lies the reason why the UK has not been able to make the best of being in the EU. I have personally (in the justice and home affairs pillar) see wisely loose wording in a legal basis being turned into constraints on the police that disempower them in this country where elsewhere they empower law enforcement agencies to use their own discretion.
johnm, kanga, Spooky liked this
WRT John, As much as I've crossed philosophical and political sharp pointy things that can't get past airport security these days, at least we debate in the way that "proper" intellectual debate in the traditional way it should be done.

More or less.

We are less strict than your Russell Group Debating Societies, but in that we allow side-shots - which are just as much, or more fun than the original post.

I'm a meat-bag, fallible and with limited experience, but as an engineer and scientist I at least make an effort to not be a complete Daily Wail shill.

Whenever someone corrects me scientifically - I have zero issue admitting I was wrong.
Most times these days it's cos I've been too long away from academia - but wtf, wrong is wrong! No harm in correcting course.

For those who think this is some kind of joke - imagine 2 kids on a see-saw.
The one with the highest mass wins, but he will play nice with the lesser kid - otherwise the game is dull.

I've studied kids for more than 30 years, and the vast majority of heavier kids "play nice" with younger kids.

Politics is no different. `The rules might say "you need a 27b/6" - but these are man made rules.

That's social science versus physics. Social science can clearly get the owner of the heavier weight to give up - but physics is physics. A traditional physicist will look only for inputs and outputs, with the beautiful maths that go with it.

A social scientist will observe - knowing he is wrong from point one, but then use regression, meta-analyses, and mathematical modelling to get some flavour of the truth.

I adore pure physics and mathematics, reality is that good old fashioned brains are still needed,
Resonates with the debacle at Northampton Borough Council. They had a plan, voted for by the councillors, that they could reduce council staff from approx 4,000 to 150 by outsourcing everything. Whilst they were concocting this bonfire of local services based on a brexit inspired lust for 'freedom' the borough went to hell in a hand cart. The desire to try and implement dogma, a la brexit and Trump, rather than focus on what can be achieved in reality for the benefit of the many is unfortunately why the EU was never allowed to work properly for the UK. It has done for France and Germany, whilst they still keep their cultural identities and local freedoms.
nallen, Flyin'Dutch', johnm liked this