Although most people I have talked to about Suffolk County Council’s undemocratic, incoherent, and – worst of all – unbudgeted plans have been very keen to express an opinion, a few timid souls feel it safer to stick their heads firmly in the sand and hope everything will just go away.
“Its not happening,” they say. “They’ve not told us what they’re going to do. How can I do anything, when they haven’t told us what they are doing?“
This reminds me of that Foreign Office strategy of masterly inactivity described by the great Sir Humphrey:
Stage 1: There is nothing happening.
Stage 2: There may be something happening, but we should do nothing about it.
Stage 3: Maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing that we can do.
Stage 4: Maybe there is something that we could have done, but it’s too late now.
You can see the massive flaw in this, can’t you?
Unless we press our point firmly enough – it WILL be happening. And the tragedy is, they HAVEN’T told us what they plan to do, In fact it is clear they haven’t the foggiest.
DESPITE THIS, the first tranche of ‘divestments’ are planned to happen in April: in SIX months time! That is, the planned ‘divestment’ of:
- Independent Living Centres (these provide advice and information on equipment which can be used by disabled people)
- Highway Services
- Youth clubs, and Integrated Youth Support and Outdoor Education
- Early Years & Childcare, including Children’s Centres
- Home First (this is a social care service)
- Country Parks
- Transactional property
- Suffolk traded services
- Employment enterprises, learning and careers advice
- A record office
- Economic Development
- Home Shield Plus
- Hate Crime Service
And what happens if this unplanned, uncosted, unbudgeted, unhinged piece of ideological claptrap fails, and we lose (for example) our highway service? Thats right, the one people love to moan about – the one that (unheralded and unsung) trains all its staff to man gritting lorries so we can have a 24 hour service over the winter?
We suffer, that’s what happens. And we lose people , teams and services that took a long time to train and which will be impossible to replace.. We are, in short, a lot worse off!
Though, come to think of it, thats everybody except for the Chief Executive herself. She doesn’t live in Suffolk!