Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some good ideas

One of my greatest bugbears is translation services. Most local councils provide such services with many documents being translated in all sorts of foreign languages from Gujarati, to Polish, Chinese (few kinds) to Lithuanian. All in a country in which English is the dominant language and should be the main media of communication. Scotland and Wales have their own native language minorities so they can provide other documents in those, but in England, the only language on any official public service document should be English...
COMMUNITIES Secretary Eric ­Pickles has drawn up a list of money saving tips for town halls as he prepares to confront councils over spending.
Authorities should stop translating documents into foreign languages, “cancel away-day trips in posh hotels,” cut out first class travel and close subsidised staff canteens, according to his “Fifty Ways To Save” guide.
He also wants them to find innovative new ways of raising money, including renting out advertising space, leasing out art works, putting “pop up” shops in empty council offices and opening coffee shops in local libraries.
The Communities Secretary has published the guide as he prepares to do battle over this week’s ­local ­government settlement. Labour-run councils fired the first salvo by warning ­that another council tax freeze and further cuts would hit frontline services.
Some of those cuts and savings could be well applied to national public services too. There simply is no need to provide half of what councils and governments do. It is not the job of the councils (or government) to provide language translation services for anyone, they can't speak English, it's their problem, not ours, they provide their own translator at their cost, not mine or yours. Same with councils providing support for any 'ethnic' groups or other minorities, their problems are their own and self help builds communities far better than everything being handed to you on a plate. We don't need Gay pride funding, support for mosques, gender awareness campaigns, diversity co-ordinators not if it's coming from our pockets. They can pay for such jamborees themselves out of their own pockets and collections and see how far that goes.
For years government at both local and national level have been taking the piss with our money, spending it on their own pet projects designed more it seems to ensure votes rather than actual quality services. It's funny how they always threaten the frontline services when the money tree looks like being threatened too.
Someone needs to take a chainsaw to what the actual duties of local and national government is expected to provide, then and only then do I suspect we'll get back on the road to economic reality...

6 annotations:

Anonymous said...

It looks likely that we will be losing our village branch library.It seems that the funds cannot be found to run it.The irony of the situation is that the council can afford to employ a "Community worker" to help us overcome any difficulties that the closure may cause.

Antisthenes said...

I lived in France for many years and I found that they did not give any translation services except in law courts. They also took umbrage at any suggestion that they should make any concessions towards non French speaking foreigners in their communities and treated the whole idea with contempt. I must admit I admired them for this stance even though I never really came to terms with the French language and struggled a bit but eventually through my own devices found ways to cope. I have now debunked from France. The French have many admirable traits but they also have many that are not desirable to one who has been brought up as an Anglo-Saxon capitalist libertarian.

English Pensioner said...

A friend of mine went to work in Germany and took his family with their two children. He wanted to place them in a German school, and was told that whilst the school would be happy to have them, the school had no provision for teaching those who could not speak German. It seems Germany doesn't consider translation services are necessary, why should we?
We're all in the EU and I'm told all working to the same rules.
(The children ended up going to an American Services school)

Anonymous said...

The only way to clear out all the dross in local government, would be to send in independant management from the private sector, with a mission to weed out all the supernumaries and get the overheads down. They would need to be given absolute authority to inspect every aspect of LA expenditure. And once those clipboard pilots have been flushed out of the payroll, some kind of legal framework would be neccessary to prevent them drifting back in again.


Frank Bottle said...

I agree with all of Mr Pickles' proposals - but it looks as if he could benefit from the closure of the 'subsidised canteens' in the Houses of Parliament too!

Highland Cooncil said...

Here in the Highlands, Highland Cooncill are always translating into bloody Garlic even the new street nearby is in bloody garlic.

Wits fuck in garlick?