Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Losing the Battle on Two Fronts

The scandal involving our Chinook helicopters, supplied by the Americans, without the software to run them, should come as no surprise. I think I've known about this since a Computer Weekly story in at least 2002. I can't be exact but it all comes down to the Ministry of Defense not wishing to pay £40 million or so for the vital avionics software, instead, being the victim of some alcohol-filled delusion, thinking that the likes of British Aerospace could write the program more cheaply.

Wrong of course! A decade later the Chinooks are out of date and expensive lumps of tin and the software bill to replace what Boeing could have supplied for £40 million is reportedly over £200 million and you might like to read this Computer Weekly report on concerns surrounding the Chinook's FADEC (Fully-automatic digital engine control) system.

I'm surprised BBC's 'Top Gear' haven't done their own comedic sketch of this farce. "Buy the latest BMW 5 series but save a few bob and leave out the advanced engine management and navigation software, instead ask your teenage son to write it for you after school!"

While the search for our missing or elusive Prime Minister, continues, Labour continues to slump in the polls, the latest of these being from the Guardian/ICM which shows the party continuing its direction of steady collapse, much like the implosion of a dying star in the stages of becoming a Red Dwarf!

Even The Guardian, the most loyal of socialist rags, now reports that the Conservatives have gained ground on key policy areas and: "Are now the overwhelming public choice to form the next government.

Despite a month of policy attacks from Gordon Brown's summer stand-ins at No 10, and controversy over the Conservative commitment to a state-funded NHS, the opposition has extended its lead to 16 points."

The newspaper adds: "Labour has lost the August battle on health, with more voters thinking the Conservatives would improve the NHS than think the party would make it worse. While 48% think healthcare would be better under a Tory government, only 41% agree with Labour warnings that it would be worse. Even 24% of current Labour voters think the Tories would improve the NHS.

The Tory lead on other policies, including education, is bigger

Faced with great challenges yet to come, the policy of any incoming Government seems like a moot point. We have had over a decade of forced centralisation and the elimination of both public policy common sense and personal freedoms that even Josef Stalin would be proud of. The result is a broken society, badly in need of repair in terms of education, legislation, personal responsibility and more.

Imagine it's day the day after the next General Election. With a can of Red Bull in one hand and a telephone in the other, where would you begin?


Anonymous said...

I don't think you can lay the Chinook thing at the feet of the Labour government. I seem to recall that the bill for rubbish government computer systems that were never going to work came in at something like £5bn a year even in the mid 90s, when a certain J Major was prime minister! And surely the choppers were originally procured by the outgoing Tory administration, not the incoming Labour lot?

A combination of incompetent/corrupt politicians and empire building civil servants will always produce this sort of outcome in my experience. You only have to look around Thanet to see that!

DrM. said...

Quite right but with more wars taking place than at any time in recent history the present Government has lacked excuses for not fixing the problem!