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The Daily Shame | September 23, 2014

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House on Fire? Call Capita, the do-anything, get-paid-for-anything arm of government

House on Fire? Call Capita, the do-anything, get-paid-for-anything arm of government

Do you remember the old days? You remember… the old days. When businesses did just the one thing and they were good at it? Butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. Ahhhh, the good old days. You knew what you were getting in the good old days.

And when your house was on fire, you’d call 999 and you’d say “I’m awfully sorry to bother you” (for you ARE British after all) and then “I’m afraid I may have a fire in my house, would it be too much of me to ask whether you could, possibly, I don’t know, pop round and have a look at it? I really hope I’m not disturbing you.”

And they would say “Yes, indeed, we could pencil you in for – erm – let’s say in 5 minutes’ time?” and you would nod and say “let me check my diary…” before pausing, and looking at an empty page, say “well, I was due to meet Doris for a cup of tea but I suppose I could put her off, if you could be quick…” and they would acquiesce.

The good old days. When a fire was dealt with. Well, Brandon Lewis, who apparently is an MP, and also government minister for Local Government, whatever that means, is calling for new laws that would “enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider.”

<cough> Capita </cough>

He had the audacity to KEEP ON SPEAKING:

“I appreciate that the proposals are not without controversy. However, these changes will help remove barriers and to increase choices that fire and rescue authorities have to contract out their services.”

Let us translate this for you, because we fear that it’s come through in Tory-speak…

“I know I’m a cunt, but what we really want to do is give Capita the chance to earn more money from tax payers.”

Because we all know it’s going to be fucking Capita, don’t we. The company that managed to FUCK UP the court translation services by, erm, well basically NOT OFFERING court translation services, much as they say “oh we’ve leveraged improvements and efficiencies and maintained a yadiyada percentage increase in the number of satisfied court clients for event horizon leveraging operationalization.” Or something like that. I don’t know. They speak another language.

Yeah, Capita. The company who took the 999 service itself, and the National College, so you’re talking to them now, which means when you’ve got a fire, you call up and say:

“Oh hello, I’m afraid I might have a fire in my house, so sorry to disturb you.”

“Good morning, madam. Your call may be recorded for training purposes. How could we help you potentially operationalize the out-putting of this fire in a leveraged, efficient manner?”

“What?”

“Well, if you could four-box that for me, what we really need to do is a SWAT analysis of the fire – what are its strengths, for example? Do we let the fire spread throughout the house in order to improve it? What are its weaknesses? If you could pop that over in a powerpoint to us by, erm, let’s say, some time NEXT QUARTER, we’ll think about convening a meeting by Quarter 3 and maybe action that next year?”

Perhaps. I don’t know. This is Capita, after all, the great “do-all” and “get-paid-for-any-old-shit” company the government turn to when it can’t be bothered to do anything.

Like putting out fires. Brandon Lewis seems to think that helping people stay alive is something that should be handed over to a company who do things for profit. Their aim is to make more money to keep shareholders happy. And before you go all “oh you lefty” on us, we think that’s fine. Making money is fine. Keeping shareholders happy is fine.

But doing so comes with certain restrictions. For example, how do you make more money? Employing fewer people and making them work harder, for a bit less. That’s how businesses stay alive. And that’s fine. We have no problem with that. In business.

But in the fire service, do we really want our firemen and women to end up with rubbish pensions and employment rights? No, we want them to be happy at work so that they put out fires.

And let’s be frank – your record with outsourcing and privatisation is shit. National Rail? Bollocks. G4S? Fucking shit. The list goes on. If you cared about the end consumer, you’d stop. But you don’t. You care about Capita and your other friends.

So Mr Lewis, we’re talking directly to you. Putting out fires and rescuing people is NOT something that you can hand over to people whose primary interest is making money for shareholders. Or making money at all, in fact. Putting out fires is something that WE, the electorate, would like YOU, the government, to sort out yourselves. We want you to do it well, and we’re happy to pay our taxes so that you do it properly.

We don’t want you gaily skipping through the meadows hand-in-hand with your buddies from Capita, Serco or whoever else you’re sleeping with this month. This is a democracy, not a business plan, you daft cunt.

You may or may not be financially involved with these companies, we don’t know and we don’t care, but when it comes to safety, you’re responsible. Now, off you pop, and come back with a sensible suggestion instead.

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