Wednesday 5 May 2010

Pull em Up

Lest there be any doubt that there is endemic wastefulness in the public sector look at this example today...Crown Prosecutors in Bedford drop their attempt to obtain an ASBO requiring an 18 year-old to pull his trousers up so that his pants no longer show. The CPS tells us that the ban was "no longer necessary or proportionate to protect the public from further acts of anti-social behaviour".

Who the hell decided it was ever "necessary" or "proportionate"? I wonder how much this has actually cost with the time of the Police and CPS  "professionals" and then all the layers of management this decision will have been filtered through as it was made and then unmade. Then of course there will have been the time wasted by the defence solicitor which we can be fairly sure was paid for by Legal Aid. Not to mention all the press officers employed to come up with daft quotes like the above and attempt (and fail ) to spin away the stupidity of it all.

We have all that waste to pay for before we even start to question why the way this kid decides to wear his trousers is any of the CPS's business in the first place. There seem to have been plenty of genuine offences for which he could be punished so why make up stupid ones?

For me it is a small snapshot of the evidence -- should more be needed -- that spending reviews and efficiency savings go nowhere near where we need to be in controlling the hole in our national finances. But it's not just the fiscal issue, large as it is, we should be asking much deeper questions about what public servants are actually there to do. We are not. And we have run a whole election where we could have been. We have had a once in a generation chance to talk about the state of The State and we have been denied it or perhaps denied it ourselves.

As a footnote I am of course well aware of the great generational divide about the showing of underwear in public. I don't understand it but then I am old -- my worry is how they keep their trousers from falling all the way down, I thought that was what the buttocks were for but they can't if your trousers are below them. Perhaps young people have some special extra muscles. Anyway I would rather see colourful underwear than the more "traditional" builder's bum. 

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