That old Chinese curse

Be careful for what you wish: you may get it.

There was a cartoon, probably from as far back as the 1970s, when it was considered ‘cool’ to shoulder a Brixton briefcase (a.k.a. jam box, ghetto blaster, boom box — other offences to be taken into consideration).

The cartoon showed a couple passing an electronics shop window. Written across the window-pane are the shrieking come ons:

  • 18 wave-bands!
  • 2 cassettes!
  • 4 loud-speakers!
  • 34 transistors!
  • 37 diodes!

He is obviously taken by this modern marvel.

She caustically enumerates: ‘I reckon that’s 95 things to go wrong’.

Similarly …

Cynics, such as Malcolm, hugged themselves with delighted anticipation when the incoming ConDem government rattled off all the ‘improvements’, ‘reforms’, ‘changes’ and old-fashioned messing-about they intended to inflict on the political system. It was instantly obvious that a fair proportion would go madly, sadly, badly wrong.

Here, courtesy of Nigel Morris at the Independent, comes such another:

MPs dismayed by ‘total chaos’ of £42m lost in translation

A drive to save money on court interpreters degenerated into “total chaos” yet the firm responsible for the shambles was only fined a “risible” £2,200, a withering report by MPs has found.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is facing deep embarrassment after the Public Accounts Committee accused it of presiding over an “object lesson in how not to contract out a public service”. Its chairman, Margaret Hodge, said: “Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”

The farce began when the ministry decided to set up a centralised system for supplying interpreters for trials instead of allowing courts to hire them on ad-hoc basis.

It awarded the £42m contract to a small new company, ALS, despite warnings that it could only handle business on a fraction of that scale.

There is, of course, a silver lining in any cloud:

Dragons’ warning

Gavin Wheeldon appeared on the BBC2 entrepreneur show Dragons’ Den to appeal for financial support for his translation business ALS five years ago. The dragons predicted success for him – but told him his valuation of his company was wrong. Whitehall, however, had no such qualms in handing a £42m contract to the firm.

Last year, Mr Wheeldon earned £7.5m when he sold up to Capita, with more to come if ALS achieves certain financial targets.

Ah! Crapita! What can possibly go wrong now?

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Filed under Britain, broken society, Conservative family values, Independent, Law, Lib Dems, politics, Private Eye, Tories.

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