Today is said to be the hottest October day since Eve offered Adam a Tesco apple, and it feels that way. Sounds daft I know but in such heat we feel resentment at the hens which stand around like people in the Post office queue whilst we old geezers scuttle and sweat. We were a man short this morning for Alan has headed off early for the Conservative Party Conference, something he has attended as regularly as others do Wimbledon or Raymond’s Review Bar. His advance press release told him that he was in for a treat, top feature will be “modern compassionate Conservatism”. Frankly I would rather lie in a cesspit but everyone to his own.
We did point out to our departed delusionist a poll published only yesterday which showed only 27% believing that the Tories are “on the side of ordinary people”. Mind you, only 45% say the same of Labour so there are 28% out there who think neither of them is. We fogeys identify with them!
Apparently George Osborne is going to speak out for people who create wealth, hardly surprising perhaps since he has created quite a pile of his own. But we’ve no quarrel with poeple who work hard and succeed, however we do baulk at those who rake it in at our expense thanks to some rather handsome hand-outs from their friends at the top.
If you fancy making a fortune you could do worse than have a go at making electronic tags. We have learned that the companies handed this lucrative task charge the taxpayer £1,100 for a 90 day version. The cost to them is £400 to £500 depending on the number of call-outs to the offender. Not a bad little earner for G4S and Serco, the current suppliers. The contract is due out for tender again shortly and it seems probable that donations to the Conservative Party are climbing rapidly right now. Why? Because not only is the profit margin enormous but the number required is about to go through the roof!
Ministers are preparing for a massive expansion in electronic tagging of offenders, with private security companies being invited to tender for more than £1 billion. That’s right, a billion quids worth. This is part of Kenneth Clarke’s campaign to close down prisons and monitor criminals in the community. His sentencing and punishment bill, which is now before parliament, will give the courts powers to extend the tag curfew limit from 12 hours per day to 16 and will double the length of sentence to a full year. So from now on most villains will suffer no geater punishment than staying with ‘er indoors for longer periods that they would normally envisage. I guess Fletcher and the other inmates of Slade Prison would have settled for this.
Such prisons as survive are being handed to private companies to manage. Yes, you’ve guessed it, G4S and Serco are again the chosen. The former is about to take over the Victorian inner city prison in Birmingham, and Serco is about to start “payments by results” services at Doncaster prison with similar schemes to follow at eight more prisons. Hot on the heels of all this will be invitations to tender for nine more major prisons.
It seems that this is likely to be just as lucrative as making tags. Private companies pay much lower wages (and presumably employ much lower quality warders) and earn huge bonuses for preventing escapes. Presumably they achieve this by making life inside so comfortable that no one even contemplates leaving early.
If Ed Miliband ever gets around to understanding all this he would be ill-advised to claim that we are not only going soft on crime but are dishing out fortunes to private companies into the bargain. Should he do so the media will have even bigger headlines about ‘Red Ed’.
And quite right too. Only a rabid left-winger could suggest that violent criminals should actually be punished, or that their soft treatment should not provide rich pickings for entrepeneurs!
YOUR WEEKEND GENERAL KNOWLEDGE QUIZ; 1. In the music world what did NKOTB stand for? 2. Hartley was the fictional town setting for which TV police serial? 3. Variola is the proper name for which killer disease 4. Who competed against Messala in a literary chariot race? 5. Where did Laika, the first dog in space, die? 6. In which musical did “Pop Idol’s” Darius Danesh win a coveted prize? 7. Which sheriff killed Billy the Kid? 8. What was the first Madonna hit not to mention an item of food? 9. Which Liverpool top scorer in 2004-2005 was rewraded with a transfer? 10. Is a piri-piri sauce sweet, or hot and spicy?
ANSWERS WILL BE INCLUDED WITH TOMORROW’S BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!