Never before has IT has played such an important role in budgetary affairs as in austerity Britain.
How else could we hope to sack a million workers, ask those few still with jobs to do thrice as much, and then watch everyone
very closely for the first signs of dissent? Surely, the CIO’s day has truly come!
Our aristocratic Chancellor’s Spending Review did initially sound like a load of
. As though we could really expect the private sector to fill the civic
left by £81bn of public spending cuts, and not merely profit as luxuriously as possible on the backs of the chumps it employs on poverty wages to nurse the sores of other chumps it already worked to the bone.
What the IT community made of all this sounded like hokum too. IT, you see, will
government to improve
even as it
costs. It’s like saying you can have a fat-free Chocolate E’Claire.
What on earth can they mean? It can’t be the
. That does promise to miraculously cut costs while improving services. But it’s years from reality. It’s as far away as the end of the rainbow for all austerity Britain may care.
It’s not shared services either. Councils will huddle. But they will combine their services about as energetically as a mating herd of heffalump: one copulation is a probability, a threesome quite a contortion, but an orgy is just wishful thinking.
All that leaves is what we had already, only with a different colour rosette. The ConDem cuts will put the finishing touches to Labour’s e-government and Transformational Government programmes, which will mean more back-office
consolidation, outsourcing, job cuts, CRM systems and interactive websites.
That’s the vision: lots of unemployed people being quieted very efficiently by the computers that put them out of work.
Those staff left on the public payroll will be given handheld computers that tell them more efficiently what their outsourcing
stipulates is more than their job’s worth. The hand-held computer says no.
And after all the Conservative hoopla about an end to Soviet-era IT projects, the Chancellor promised £2bn for the DWP to create a
of Universal Credit.
Same old story
The more governments change, the more they stay the same. If there were any doubt about this,
Labour’s Interception Modernisation Programme. The coalition government promised it would run no such Big Brother project to retain records of everyone’s emails, telephone calls and web activity. They were
Aside from shameless poverty, the dynamic new, new Britain will have one crucial difference. That is the release of tens of thousands of prisoners onto destitute streets: Blair’s chickens come home to roost.
Osborne’s promised repurposing of police funds from
to technology may ensure there are drones enough to watch they don’t land right back in the slammer when they discover what few opportunities there are for honest graft.
If only there were more money to go round. We might have technology
and jobs. As members of the Birmingham chapel of the Public and Commercial Services Union remarked on hearing the news that the Queen was having her pay frozen for a year: “It’s two years for the rest of us”!