THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
The state is not your friend
Incompetence is not a bug, it's a feature

Who pays? What a naive question.

Has any one lost their job over half-billion pound waste? | Grassroots | The TaxPayers' Alliance.

This is so naive. Of course the answer is 'No.' It's not even a sensible question. The job objectives of public 'servants' are so much more complex than in the private sector, as is their relationship with their bosses. No doubt some politician signed off this scheme; probably to make political capital by publicly 'caring' about such popular front-liners as firemen.

Perhaps the civil servants knew from the outset the project would fail, but did their level best? Perhaps. Or perhaps they didn't give a damn. After all, why should they?

Even to discuss it is to make the false assumption that efficient government is possible. Even in the private sector, when all economic interests are aligned, humans find ways to foul up. But spending limitless supplies of other people's money obtained by force on 'services' no-one would choose to pay for guarantees it. Why do we continue to be (or pretend to be) outraged when the inevitable happens? After all, this particular failure is quite minor compared to the £6 billion of materiel lost by the Ministry of Defence. Yet that story passed in minutes, with no political (or employment) consequences.

For these are failures only in the banal terms by which those of those of us outside public 'service' live our lives. Neither of these massive cock-ups was a 'failure' for the civil servants or their bosses. The former got their salaries, pensions and honours. The politicians remained focussed on the only thing they care about; winning a popularity contest in the next 1-5 years to allow them to get money the market would never pay them. To hope for different outcomes is to assume there is a 'right' form of this legalised, but still evil, gangsterism.

The state is inherently inefficient. The only way to avoid such colossal waste (both of taxpayers' money and of lives in politics and the public sector that might otherwise have been productive) is to scale it down. All else is dangerous delusion.