Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Common Purpose

I left the army in 1987 and at the time I thought that I was returning into a reasonably sane world. In an attempt to cover all avenues I sat the Civil Service Open Entrance Examination for Executive Officer. The other candidates were generally 'A' level students and the exam was really quite tough. For the record I passed but opted for a better paid opportunity working locally.

Ten years later I opted for an enhanced pension and retired at 55. It was much too early and after two years of walking the dogs I re-entered the Civil Service after applying to join the Department of Employment (Job Centre). The test I took barely assessed if I could read and write even though it was for the Admin Officer grade. The simplicity of it all shocked me.

I soon realised that in 1997 the Civil Service had changed dramatically. Women, many of them part-time mothers, were totally in charge of the middle management structure. Their lack of any kind of man-management experience coupled with a dearth of an organisational and administrative background spelt calamity! Now I realise that I was really rather old to work being 58 at the time and I also realise that my military background where self discipline, professionalism and attention to detail was ingrained meant that I was rather out of date and a bit old hat. No matter how things change however the old brain instinctively tells you whether a person is up to the job.

The staff were routinely abused by their 'clients' but management steadfastly refused to ban anyone from the premises. People were clearly working as well as drawing benefits but nothing was in position to catch them. Foreigners who could not communicate in English were allowed to apply for jobs and we even assisted by issuing temporary National Insurance Numbers thus legitimising their presence in the country. After 18 months I transferred to the then Court Service to process asylum appeals. I just thought that my experience at the Job Centre was unfortunate but in fact I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

It soon became clear in my new job that only about 15% of the staff were male. Now don't get me wrong because I have got nothing against working with professional women but what I met in the Civil Service really shocked me. I had some lovely colleagues at desk level but above us it was chaotic! I soon realise in the 21st century English Civil Service it was possible for a recruit to enter without proven qualification and move up through the ranks without any real check on their ability and aptitude. The levels of literacy and numeracy were abysmal and planning was non existent. During my time at the Asylum Appeals centre I witnessed appalling neglect regarding the immigrants. If you think that the Home Office seems 'unfit for purpose' then you don't know the half of it. The type of person you get sorting things out at desk level and working the computers is paid about £13/14,000 per annum AND lives in London! No wonder discs got put into envelopes and disappeared!

All around me I witnessed incompetence at such a level it was difficult to ignore and I often wondered how our Civil Service could possibly have sunk so low between 1987 and 1997 . Now I think I know why.

In 1985 an organisation called 'Common Purpose' was formed. Why it was formed I can only hazard a guess but part of its remit appears to be imposing the doctrines of a United Europe on us. Its other aim appears to be to circumnavigate democracy so that the results of elections do not really matter.

I can only tell you what I have read on the Internet because I have never read a word about this organisation in the press. All these crusading journalists who will expose all manner of political corruption and not a word on an organisation which appears to be subverting our law enforcing bodies. It reminds me of the immortal line in the film 'Fight Club' you know the one; "The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club".

Just for the record though, it has members in the NHS, BBC, the police, the legal profession, the Civil Service, many of Britain's 7000 quangos, and Parliament. Now which bodies have changed the most in the last 20 years? All of the above are well in the running to be nominated for the organisation which does the least to meet what the public demand. All waste money at a phenomenal rate and all make decisions which are regarded by the man in the street as being beyond all reason.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society, the Head of the Civil Service Commission and many of the heads of the Regional Development Agencies are reputedly members. So is Cressida Dick, the high ranking officer who according to press reports was responsible for the order 'Stop Him' prior to the killing of the Brazilian Jean de Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station.
Members were also behind the new Millenium Dome project during which project millions of pounds were diverted into a web of quangos set up by Common Purpose. So the next time you see something totally stupid being reported in the press you now have some idea of who is behind it. I tell you what though this is very serious and very, very, scary. I am beginning to believe that it won't matter who we elect from now on because we will still get Common Purpose - no wonder so many are getting out of this country.

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