Author Archives: Nick Hollinghurst

Opinion: Can Local Government really cope with outsourcing?

 

Council Officers have a strong public service ethos and some are excellent managers. But does their experience give them enough insight to negotiate outsourcing contracts? They have, after all, chosen a career pathway other than that of private sector business. They inevitably lack a deep understanding of the very different attitudes, styles and pressures of work and management in the private sector.

During the procurement process, these rather sheltered public servants are faced with slick teams of well-resourced professionals adept at putting on a good show and armed with as much carefully selected evidence as they need to demonstrate their company’s capability and good standing.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Opinion: An Unlikely Defender of the Faith

Eric Pickles recently sent forth an encyclical and counterblast to the “illiberal and intolerant secularists” seeking to overturn “the right to worship  a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty” and reverse “the fight for religious freedom in British history, deeply entwined with our political freedom”.

Our Town Clerk at once e-mailed us all a copy – on the very day, as it happened, that I went to Hertford for a County Council Meeting.

As usual, the meeting started at 10 30 a.m. And as usual those councillors who wished to pray met in the Council Chamber a little earlier at 10 20 a.m. Nothing wrong with that – their Prayer Meeting is not part …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: A healthy chamber in a healthy democracy?

Well, last week Liberal Democrats had a good week in the House of Lords. Our peers played leading roles in attempts to mitigate the more regressive effects of the benefit changes. And on Thursday, with Labour supporting us effectively for once, Shirley Williams led our peers to a signal victory on the NHS Bill.

There has been a long campaign to rescue the NHS from some of the harmful changes in the Bill. One of the most fundamental and, in the longterm, the most dangerous change was the removal of the duty of the Secretary of State “to provide or secure …

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Opinion: Brown was deceived by his “friends” – let’s hope the Coalition is more careful!

In days of old, when Brown was bold (well, in 1992 anyway) he gave a stirring speech, as Shadow Chancellor, calling for a “powerful alternative to free-market thinking”. He clearly explained why regulations and strong institutions were needed to bring the City under control. Then, five years later he was catapulted into power by the Labour landslide, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in Tony Blair’s government.

Tony Blair naively developed an undue admiration for what he romantically saw as the swashbuckling and flamboyant world of supposedly successful entrepreneurs, whose company he found flattering.  Gordon, alas, similarly fell for a charm offensive launched by the very people he once …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 14 Comments
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    @Peter Hirst We need a constitutional convention of constitutional experts and senior politicians not a citizens' assembly. And no referendum....
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  • Lorenzo Cherin
    I agree with David Raw. Nothing heroic about breaking a law or trashing a guidance, in a pandemic. I agree with Paul Holmes, it is all inconsistent and ty...
  • Lorenzo Cherin
    Laurence You make a good job of refuting your own view, that we do not need a debate, for you are engaging in one, and make the points you make with vigour, ...