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The costs and rewards of devolving public service functions

The Coalition has sent two signals lately around its approach to public administration if it wins government.

The first, which received greater attention, related to the warm welcome extended to UK “Big Society” advocate Phillip Blond when he visited two weeks ago. Blond visited last year as well, and on both occasions met with senior Liberals.

Blond’s “Big Society” centres around the notion of empowering local communities to deliver services, rather than government. The problem is, it’s been taken up with gusto by David Cameron’s Coalition government in the UK and used as the pretext for extensive cuts to services in the aid of meeting George Osborne’s austerity targets. Blond’s defenders argue it’s not his fault his thinking has been exploited to justify cuts in services, and his ideas merit evaluation outside the context of Cameron’s government.

Blond’s thinking appeared to inform Tony Abbott’s “Plan for Stronger Communities“ released in June, in which he emphasised “empowered communities” over “empowered government”.

The second related but separate signal came from Andrew Robb last week when he spoke about shifting oversight and administration of Commonwealth programs to the states. He spoke of a gradual process, working with co-operative state governments to hand responsibility for programs using Commonwealth money to the states, freeing up the Commonwealth to significantly reduce the number of public servants dedicated to running and overseeing programs.

This is significantly at odds with Abbott’s most strident position in Battlelines, in which he argued the federal government should override the states and take direct control of every area it turns its collective mind to, aided by a constitutional amendment that would remove any fetter on Commonwealth power. Then again, Battlelines was written while every state government was Labor and had frustrated the Howard government in areas like Abbott’s health portfolio. With all the major state governments now conservative and Abbott looking like the next Prime Minister, Abbott’s centralism has conveniently vanished.

But the Coalition, at least, appears to be thinking about public service delivery with less resources, at a point where, according to today’s Australian Financial Review, Labor is gearing up for yet another additional efficiency dividend on the public service to spare its fiscal blushes.

Apart from the obvious issue that Robb’s devolution of management and oversight is dependent on a co-operative relationship between federal and state governments, and thus prone to being overturned the moment an election changes a government, there’s a more substantial problem or two with it.

Imagine a devolved Commonwealth program, being managed by a state — or even one of Abbott’s “little platoons” of community-based service deliverers — which goes bad: say there’s a 3% complaint rate about it, or some shonky private contractor cuts corners, resulting in people being injured or killed.

In what world does anyone think it will be politically acceptable for the relevant federal minister to stand up in question time and say: “don’t look at me, it’s an issue for the XXX state government or the YYY volunteers’ association”? Or to plead they don’t have information about the scandal because state bureaucrats — who have no interest in assisting a minister in another jurisdiction unless their own minister’s office is breathing down their necks — haven’t yet provided it to her?

If it’s federal money, it’s federal responsibility, regardless of who is administering it. Federal ministers will be expected to be accountable.

That’s why, as Robb says, much of the existing Commonwealth public service primarily functions to “leave a paper trail, to cover backsides”. What he omits is that it’s political backsides being covered, not bureaucrats’, who don’t have to get up in question time or face the media when programs go awry.

Robb’s proposal thus needs a different type of politician, and a more mature public debate, in which we can talk sensibly about program implementation and accountability and politicians can resist the urge to exercise complete control over anything that may come back to bite them.

It may also afford the pretext for governments to abandon key regulatory functions that they wouldn’t necessarily want to publicly repeal. Imagine the Commonwealth handing environmental regulation to Campbell Newman after he has cut several hundred jobs from the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Environmental protection, while legislated at the Commonwealth and state level, would be a dead letter due to a dearth of anyone to enforce it.

But the Coalition, which normally talks the talk on “small government” but finds walking the walk politically inconvenient, at least is looking at the problem that 22 million Australians are hideously overgoverned and that key areas of public spending that are shared between levels of government — education and health, most significantly — are accompanied by elaborate bureaucratic structures designed to cover arses both in Canberra and in the relevant state capital.

In lieu of abolishing the states, there can only ever be partial, and temporary, fixes. But there are potentially significant rewards, especially given health is a priority area for identifying greater efficiencies.

Labor’s approach, meanwhile, seems to be to simply slap another cut on the public service.

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  • 1
    Migraine
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Devolved responsibility a la Blond and Abbott sounds like a recipe for atomisation and alienation, further undermining people’s sense of community and doing even less for the idea of a ‘nation’.

  • 2
    SBH
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s difficult to see how Robb’s proposal could be implemented without costing a lot more. Centralisation, whatever its ills, creates economies of scale that would start to fragment if pushed down to the states and territories to seperatly administer.

    And it’s equally difficult to believe anyone in Canberra doesn’t know that the first thing every premier, regardless of party, will ask - ‘where’s the money?’ and they’ll want more than they got before.

  • 3
    rossmcg
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Imagine a devolved Commonwealth program, being managed by a state — or even one of Abbott’s “little platoons” of community-based service deliverers — which goes bad: say there’s a 3% complaint rate about it, or some shonky private contractor cuts corners, resulting in people being injured or killed.”

    we don’t have to imagine … it only took 1 second for the case of the aboriginal elder in WA who died after being transported through the WA outback in an unairconditioned prison van by a private contractor. Ok that was a State government outsourcing but it is the perfect example of what happens when governments abrogate their responsibilities and had out the work to companies who put profit first.

  • 4
    wilful
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    All of the “pink batts deaths” could honestly be sheeted home to State OH&S regulation. All of the “school halls rorts” from teh BER could reliably be attributed to State education departments. That never stopped the coalition in Federal Parliament.

  • 5
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear … here we go again. Those of us with more elephantine memories might recall Fraser’s “New Federalism” … funneling Commonwealth funds through all those totally responsible and more accountable States and the feds stepping back from the pointy end of responsibility.

    The result: a sprawling slow train wreck of a policy with services being increasingly unequal depending on lines drawn on maps. Queensland’s schools, NSW hospitals… all different, all failing, and the notion of equality of opportunity and living standards for Australians went out the window.

    Actually having watched the NSW Public Service up close, I have few issues with O’Barrell’s plans to set to the behemoth with a chainsaw … failed managements in roads, housing, health, education and community service… a failed State in terms of meeting public expectations and dealing with challenges of the 21st century. But I suspect O’Barrell will simply grab the cash - the temptation is overwhelming. It’s what happened with Fraser’s new federalism as well.

    Pity really - something really needs to change - but I don’t think importing our recycled failed ideas from the English will really help too much… just less and less and less. Pity. We could do with some decent imaginative policies and programs here. But we’d need politicians with a commitment to delivering results beyond securing preselections.

    When will someone start talking about really solving the problem and abolishing these absurd bureaucratic fiefdoms called the States?

  • 6
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The richest suburb in Australia in terms of income per caita as per the census was in Canberra region.

    Jerrabomberra just across border in NSW.

    Wonder why?

    Public Servants nest there.

    Bet it will be No 1 in 2016.

  • 7
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    See what I mean Jimmy… just trash.

    Here’s some decent numbers: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/economy/20110729-revealed-australia-s-top-50-richest-suburbs.html

    They just make stuff up.

    I’m off for a shower now - just makes me feel a bit greasy reading this sludge.

  • 8
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy, here’s another one… slightly better: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/in-search-of-the-new-rich/story-e6frgabx-1226450654336

    Ignorant, dumb and lazy. Not interested in facts. They just “know” … it has the feel of “truthiness” to it - and that’s enough.

    Now leave them alone and let them wither away on the edges of the world they so desperately try and attach themselves to…. the real one.

  • 9
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    IT’S always been regarded as a nice place to live, but 2011 census data has revealed Jerrabomberra has the highest median weekly …

    google it

    highest median weekly earnings as they define it

  • 10
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Blond’s stale and predictable theory is simply Thatcherism/Blairism and the Coalition devoid of real ideas is bound to lap it up.

    Thatcher proclaimed local councils could deal with the homeless rather than the government. This isn’t a policy, it’s an abrogation of duty and passing the buck.

    The result is what we see today in Britain : a massive decline in community housing (where the opposite is happening throughout Europe) and the transfer of taxpayer’s money to private hands, landlords housing the homeless for profit, an inevitable boom and bust cycle in housing costs.

    Exampled by how Britain now hands out billions$$ in housing subsidies even to the working poor, thus supplementing a generation of would be property developers and a problem they cannot solve : cut back on housing subsidies and property prices will collapse.

  • 11
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    …and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen.

  • 12
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Here comes the BIG Billy Goat Gruff to frighten the troll away!

  • 13
    Jonathan Q
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Google it? Don’t know why, but I just did.

    IT’S always been regarded as a nice place to live, but 2011 census data has revealed Jerrabomberra has the highest median weekly …”

    Sorry, but what is the next word in that sentence? That little snippet you quoted, comes from Google’s listing of an article in the Queanbeyan Age. The link is conveniently dead. I guess you didn’t quote the article directly because you couldn’t and didn’t read it.

    The only other place I can find info on “highest median weekly something” for Jerrabomberra is the ABS. And it only ever mentions highest median weekly RENTALS. Not quite the same thing is it?

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/19CE63E530C25F04CA257336001E254B?opendocument

  • 14
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    More new ideals pushed by the “free marketeers” give the public less services so they can achieve more. Full monetary control given to the likes of Campbell Newman so he can create more little family owned niches to funnel not millions but billions of taxpayer money into.

    It seems that Queensland residents have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
    I would rather see the State Governments abolished than let them run riot with the nations wealth.
    The privateers would love to bypass public scrutiny of a federal authority in favour of State run Ponzi-scheme that has just that little hint of pork barrelling about it.

    Don’t you just love the terms the entrepreneurs of the NWO come up with (Big Society=Less Funding) they always amount to the exact opposite of the term used in much the same vein as the neo-cons like to use (i.e.) Workchoices.

  • 15
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Owen,

    George Orwell got it right with the Ministry of Truth … everything is transformed into its opposite…. So Work Choices strips away choice, The Big Society makes us the less , the “empowered” people are impotent …. on and on it goes….

    Marketing slogans make poor policies I reckon. Bit harder than it looks doing this policy stuff well.

    But with empty slogans it all depends how many folks one can fool at a time, how short our memories are, how gullible we have become.

  • 16
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    OSCAR JONES

    …and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen.”

    Yes indeed Oscar & as that pie grows bigger as does that army.

  • 17
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Oscar Jones - “and needless to say, an army of ‘consultants’ will be employed to make this happen” I would say what will happen is the will make the public servant rendundant, pay them all nice big severance packages then hire them all back as contractors paying twice the hourly rate they used to, but tha number of public servants will be down, yippee!

  • 18
    Bultaco Metrella
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I was an IT Consultant lured to Canberra by the then Howard Government scheme to “privatise’ the IT services to the Australian Public Service in Canberra. It fell flat on its face after a few years as it failed to achieve any objectives apart from making the consultants rich especially the Americans who planned the thing.

  • 19
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Peter

    ” The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Yes Peter the public has got so apathetic that it has entrusted it’s future to a hegemon that seeks to destroy them, very sad times indeed.

  • 20
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Public servants need to be on pay-for-performance based contracts. It’s time to route the unions from OUR public servants just like what the most popular premier in Australian history, Campbell Newman is doing here in QLD.

  • 21
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Bultaco

    Yes we must look like such an easy blood donor to that great yankie “vampire squid”

  • 22
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    SB -
    ROXBY Downs is home to the wealthiest people in South Australia.

    In the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, which reveal median weekly household income, the mining town topped the list with an income of $2756.
    “The data shows Jerrabomberra’s weekly median income to be $2,690

  • 23
    Mobius Ecko
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Peter Ormonde touched on it. Inequality.

    Look at what’s happening with this model in the UK and the thing that stands out is the gross inequality it is engendering. And with that comes growing resentment and discontent.

    So are Abbott and co planning to devolve national security down to the local level as well so he can abrogate the large costs that will ensue as unrest grows.

    Also States at the local level are amalgamating councils and areas into super local authorities, now a Federal government wants to break them apart.

  • 24
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    The costs and benefits of capitalists following their interest to deceive and oppress the public?
    The public want service ? Let them serve themselves!
    Count Otto Von Bismark noticed the public serving themselves to a orgy of property destruction during the 1848 depression and consequently set up the world’s first welfare state as insurance against the public serving themselves again in such a manner whenever capitalism stuffs up.
    Capitalists should be careful what they ask for.

  • 25
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Troofie says

    Public servants need to be on pay-for-performance based contracts. It’s time to route the unions from OUR public servants just like what the most popular premier in Australian history, Campbell Newman is doing here in QLD”

    Another quote from insignificance!!

    I would rather a poorly run public service than a cash cow for private enterprise, which amounts to nil service in the long run.

    Your mate Campbell Newman is already beginning to smell like a freshly laid dog turd in the garden, he wont last long but while he’s there I bet he raids the public coffers like there’s no tomorrow.

  • 26
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy & Owen : and that is exactly what’s happened in the UK. Civil servants taking huge redundancy packages and then re-employed by the private corporation that has purchased a government entity at knock down prices.

    One inevitable result is that, as in the UK the railways run at a loss (as they did before) but the owners take a huge profit and the taxpayer still subsidizes them.

  • 27
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Oscar

    Yes unbridled corruption between the private sector & their contacts in government to get the ball rolling at the expense of the taxpayer (again)

    Campbell Newman setting up shop for this one very nicely in QLD.

  • 28
    Clarke Steve
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    A starting point is to accept the reality that there is not a snowflakes chance in hell of the States being abolished.
    Even minor changes to Australia’s constitution are difficult to implement because the inevitable scare campaigns against change work very well on the general public.

    That said, there are examples of federal systems around the world that are reasonably successful (e.g Germany and Canada). It is frustrating to watch the slow pace of reform between the states and the federal govt, but realistically it is the only option available.

  • 29
    CML
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    My understanding of the UK “Big Society” is that the government uses existing “voluteer” groups to take over much of the public services currently operated by one of the three levels of government. Especially in the social services sector, and particularly in existing community groups.
    I would be surprised if these volunteers would be stupid enough here in Oz to play along with such blatent exploitation.

  • 30
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    20,000 public service jobs gone in a blink of an eye, I wonder if Campbell has thought up enough names for his new companies yet.

  • 31
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It is said the coalition plans to sell and privatise the major highways to toll road operators. The Hume, Pacific, Newell and New England highways arte being looked at. Wait till you have to pay toll on roads we taxpayers already own, what fun. Ha, ha,ha!

  • 32
    Riley Calaby
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    @Clarke Steve: I’d hardly call a federation in which one federal partner is constantly threatening to secede a roaring success.

  • 33
    Clarke Steve
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    @Riley: No it is not a roaring success. However it is all we have got to work with.
    WA will not secede, it is just talk that has been going on for decades. It has become a bit louder of late as Wayne Swan stirred them up with his handling of the taxes ( RSPT, and MRRT).

  • 34
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be too despondent re the abolition of states … just needs a few more like Campbell Newman and a Federal Government that refuses to bail them out when they hit the asphalt. Once people realise what they are getting for what they are paying I think the notion of states might be seen for what it is. Might need some examples - a few object lessons in modern economics and service delivery - a few slabs of red ink on the budget … but we’d be much much better for it.

  • 35
    Patriot
    Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    My understanding of the UK “Big Society” is that the government uses existing “voluteer” groups to take over much of the public services currently operated by one of the three levels of government. Especially in the social services sector, and particularly in existing community groups.
    I would be surprised if these volunteers would be stupid enough here in Oz to play along with such blatent exploitation.

    How awfully cynical to equate community volunteer activity with stupidity and exploitation. What happened to helping others being its own reward? I’ve loved the concept of “big society” since I heard of it because I believe that the prevailing character of Australian society is one of decency and generosity. Many commenters here obviously don’t agree.

  • 36
    CML
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    @ PATRIOT - My point was that people who volunteer would not take kindly to being “used” as a replacement for paid workers currently employed by any/all governments. If you think that is a good idea, then you are the type of individual who wants to exploit people, not me. To that end, I think it is a stupid idea.

  • 37
    Steve777
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Tony Abbott’s attitude to federalism is probably like his attitude to action on Climate Change. It depends upon which way the political winds are blowing.

  • 38
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The London Riots had something to do with this “Big Society” drivel surely?
    The era of British Australia where the settlers under the tyranny of distance were left to their own devices resulted in the co-operative movement, a British phenomenon, being used by British Australians in the British colonies which became the States, being used to undertake many of the tasks now undertaken by the “Public Service”.
    Given that conservatives consider co-operatives to be communist and the right wing religious dementoids (the Sons of Santamaria) believe anything British to be both protestant and “evil” then there is not much chance of the settler community self reliance being replicated eventhough this could be enhabced quite easily by the NBN.
    So get ready for a re-run of the rioting that inspired Bismark to set up the world’s first public service delivered “Welfare State”. Bismark, another evil protestant.
    The question is; is all this premeditated for some sinister hidden purpose or is it all just complete idiocy?

  • 39
    izatso?
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The Ciaaolition is not thinking on this, it is taking it on board. Who did Wormtongue visit last month in London ? See guardian uk on enforced volunteerism, selling school sports fields, privatising (monetising, putting a price to,) National Parks ! &,& etc ….. all enacted in sly, under the radar, and swift fashion and with more than the usual willfull thoughtlessness…….

  • 40
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Ah yes “Big Shopping” in the Big Society … a help yourself sort of strategy - works in the City innit?

    But

    British???? What is this bizarre notion Mr Hill?

    Irish, Welsh and Scottish co-operatives yes but rarely very rarely English.

    Those folks who made it over here looked back home with nostalgia and bloody relief. They were free of the accursed English caste system with its proper values and its laws. And they made somewhere that would be different - where there was a fair go and the law did more than just protect the rich and their assets. An experiment of a place… where the courts sorted out industrial disputes rather than bobbies and bayonettes.

    But not British - never British.

    A myth of a place this Britain - always was and always will be a little English Empire built on the sweat and resources of the Scots, the Welsh and always the Irish. Sooner it falls apart the better.

  • 41
    Liamj
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The Torys have been pillaging the State for decades now, Mr Blond is willingly or not just this years camoflage pattern. Local communities will never be handed any significant power, because central govt (and the codependant banksters) need ‘growth’/ever faster liquidation of the commons, which simple local selfinterest resists.

  • 42
    David Hand
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Bernard, when you say, “What he omits is that it’s political backsides being covered, not bureaucrats’, who don’t have to get up in question time or face the media when programs go awry.” you omit Senate Estimates, a forum where public servants regularly take a grilling. Backside covering is mostly about that forum, as politicians can’t escape the forum of an election but public servants can.

  • 43
    David Hand
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    When a public servant in NSW is earning over $200,000 a year and still gets a rostered day off, there’s plenty of room for efficiency in the public service with no reduction in service delivery.

  • 44
    izatso?
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    code for ‘replace experience with subservience’….. thanks for the undermining of our P.S. …… works well in Qld ay ?

  • 45
    Paddy Forsayeth
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Sorry Geewizz…Newman is far from ‘the most popular premier’. He is generally feared and loathed by even the conservatives I mix with. Newman is a slow moving disaster. He cancelled GoPrint, which used to print all the Gov. forms etc. Who is going to do it now?? I doubt that private firms will do it any cheaper. He has emasculated the dept. of mines and natural resources. No doubt to give more freedom to his mining mates. The Wild Rivers scheme is to be recinded. The list of destruction grows longer by the day. All predicated on an economic fudge concocted by Peter Costello.

  • 46
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Peter Ormonde. The Rochedale pioneers of the co-operative movement were in Rochedale, England in 1840.
    The Declaration of Arbroath referred to seven Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, which did not extinguish that cultural heritage even after two hundred years of the Norman “Investment of Englishry” or suppression of Anglo-Saxon culture, not to mention the failure of the Conqueror to extinguish the Scandinavian heritage in Yorkshire.
    So, Peter what are you on about with your “English” identity fixation?
    The Norman French invaded under a papal banner and destroyed the Church , schools and colleges of Alfred the Great. The original “Anglican” church.
    They then invaded Wales and Ireland under the same papal banner destroying the Celtic churches.
    Yet you call these Norman French Catholics English?
    The Scottish National church was able to argue to the pope that the Norman French had no right to conquer the Scots as infidels because the Papacy well knew that the Celtic Christian Scots of Ulster had, as missionaries to the Franks, taught Europe how to read and write.
    So the Norman French Catholic ploy of reducing all of Britain to serfdom under the false accusation of being “Infidels” failed. So British, Peter, British, British, British whether you like or not.

  • 47
    Owen Gary
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Yesss those bankster elite forever finding new ways to chip away at the federal pies of all countries, will always find devoted followers from the neo-right under the guise of “free marketeers”, just like the spivs that bankrupted a smooth running Icelandic economy that previously had no debt. Their system completely hijacked by the slick talking banksters. I suggest you watch the following:-

    Inside Job:- narrated by Matt Damon

    The question remains; is all this premeditated for some sinister hidden purpose or is it all just complete idiocy”

    Yes Hamis this pattern of coincidence is certainly widespread around the globe & is still in motion as we both know. In fact we all know what it is yet some like to pretend it’s not happening easier to stick your head under the blankets in the hope that it will just go away. Unfortunately it will not, instead the juggernaut of the NWO must rape & pillage all economy’s to usher in the dawn of that brave new world, & you will need to be brave to survive in it.

    Can Humanity rise up & put paid to this monster or will we seek longer shopping hours & watch more reality TV??

  • 48
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Nothing to do with churches, papists, Rome and the like Hamis… pure politics and economics.

    My lot were knocked off by the Normans when they swept across Ireland and up into Ulster… even made themselves “Earls of Ormonde” and built themselves a nice little castle. The modern Earls of Ormonde are in fact Butlers… But they weren’t knocked off by Churches - but by armies Hamis. One shouldn’t confangle the ideological rhetoric - the “divine mission” - with the reality … this was an economic land-grab. Britain was always an economic land-grab. Pure and simple. God just watched. As he always does.

    Depends a bit how one defines a “co-operative” … I think you might be looking at retail co-operatives … essentially in Australia a substitute for the lack of a capitalist class in mining and rural communities - no one would open a shop or extend credit. But there were predecessors… production co-operatives - that interfered in the market and improved prices and most importantly - extended credit to producers - mostly agricultural. Quite common amongst Australian farmers … common storage and milling facilities for example - no one had the money to build their own.

    Fenwick Scotland 1761 - first co-operative … the Fenwick Weavers Society. As usual the English pinched the notion. At least the English working class did - which is fine. The Owenites (a Welshman) established copoeratives as part of the utopian self managed worker owned socialism he espoused. That is the 1820s.

    As for here I grew up surrounded by co-ops on the Hunter Valley coal fields - Abermain, Pelaw Main, Kurri Kurri, Aberdeen, Cessnock, Wallsend, Aberdare …. full of co-ops, brass bands and eisteddfods…. a few Geordies about - I have an old mate who didn’t hear “English” till he went to school… but barely a plum accent-wise. That was the bosses’ accent. Still is.

  • 49
    izatso?
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    hey you pair, this is all good stuff, but what about the new norman leaders laying waste to whats left of old GB ………….? them tory gobshites are selling the turf from the schoolyards !

  • 50
    izatso?
    Posted Saturday, 1 September 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Its the enclosure of the Commons all over, and Australia needs to know !

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