Pickles’ Godly Christmas Card: No Festive Truce at DCLG

After it fell to Ed Davey and DECC to provide us with this year’s political correctness gone mad Crimbo-ban story, Eric Pickles’ office have responded in characteristically pugnacious form:

“It’s been a busy year. We reversed the policies of Edward Heath; defended the right to (office) party; exposed Gordon Brown’s Big Macbill; bunked in with Theresa May to save £220 million; shelved Labour councils’ plans to hike the cost of your weekly shop; extrapolated Labour’s Jammie Dodgers bill; sent in Commissioners to clean up Tower Hamlets; did our bit for ‘elf and safety by encouraging bonfires; turned the screw on the union pilgrims; told the last one out of Labour HQ to turn off the lights; marked Europe Day by celebrating the liberation of Jersey from the Nazis; and commemorated Britain’s Victoria Cross heroes from a century past.

In some parts of Whitehall, Christmas cards are passed round like Samizdat in Soviet Russia. Not here. Have a very Merry Christmas!”

Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you…

Welsh NHS Blows £1.5 Million on Pilgrims

Frankie Maude won the Guido award for most successful implementation of an Order-Order blog post into government policy on Tuesday, but unfortunately his Pilgrims reforms are not being embraced further afield. New figures show that in the last three years the Labour-run Welsh government has spent at over £1.5 million on NHS staff undertaking trade union activities. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board alone spent over £500,000, this year blowing £184,231 on 2 full-time taxpayer funded trade union staff and 21-part time staff . Last year it had 37 trade union staff funded by the taxpayer, the year before it had 42. Elsewhere, the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board spent £210,000 a year for eight full time equivalent taxpayer funded trade union posts. Welsh Labour won’t win a Guido like that…

The Guidos:
Most Successful Delivery of an Order-Order Blog Post Into Policy

The nominees are:

  • Douglas Carswell: The People’s EU Bill
  • Andrew Mitchell: Banning international aid towards the Indian Space Programme
  • Francis Maude: Banning full time trade union ‘Pilgrims’

And the winner:

Mad Frankie Maude takes home the Guido…

Only 20 Pilgrims Left in Whitehall

Updated figures from the Cabinet Office appear to show that there are only 20 full time trade union ‘pilgrims’ still (not)working in government departments.

This is down from 200 civil servants in November 2011 who were paid not to work, but to instead undertake trade union activity in business hours.

Francis Maude is playing it as a £6 million saving per year.

Victory is almost in sight. Target zero.

1,000 Pilgrims Culled

The early stats on Frankie Maude’s reforms of trade union facility time don’t make great reading, but Guido is pleased to report the Cabinet Office is getting its act together. New figures for the third quarter of 2013 reveal the total number of Pilgrims has dropped by 1,000, saving £17 million last year. Cash wasted on Pilgrims as a proportion of the whole paybill is less than a third of what it was in 2011, with another £21 million worth set to be cut next year. Viva la revolucion…

UPDATE: Maude is kicking back on the earlier figures:

“In December, it was reported that costs of trade union representation in the Civil Service had risen under this Government. That is entirely untrue and the figures were flawed. The report was based on claimed costs for 2010-2011 of half what our rigorous mapping exercise found. The report’s 2010-2011 figures entirely excluded costs from HM Revenue & Customs, one of the biggest departments; underreported Ministry of Justice costs significantly; and assumed that the cost of full-time representatives for the Department for Work & Pensions accounted for all the costs (i.e. not counting the cost of over 1,300 part-time representatives). The 2010-2011 data was compiled from Parliamentary Questions and FOI requests, based on different methodologies. In addition some departments gave their figures from before proper monitoring was introduced, thus underreporting their actual numbers. The same report used data less up-to-date than the numbers which will be published tomorrow, thus over-reporting the ‘current’ costs.”

Well Guido is sure that has made everything clearer.

Laws: Teaching Pilgrims Crackdown

The Department for Education have cracked down on taxpayer funded pilgrims. Launching new guidance for schools, David Laws has declared that “no teacher funded by the taxpayer should work full time on union work” and “the Department for Education expects all trade union representatives to spend the majority of their working hours carrying out their school-based jobs”. “We believe that it should be possible for local union representatives to fulfil their main union duties in one day a week or less”. Gold star.

Cost of Pilgrims Up 29%
£23.6 Million Spent on Taxpayer Funded Union Officials Last Year

Guido was cautious when Francis Maude announced his reforms of trade union facility time, emphasising that they “need to be enforced across the public sector” if the cost to the taxpayer is to come down. New figures reveal the amount spent on Pilgrims – taxpayer funded trade union officials – has in fact increased from £18.3million in 2010/11 to £23.6million in 2012/13. That’s a rise of 29 per cent.


The Pilgrim reforms required government departments to guarantee just 0.1 per cent of wages would be spent on union time. 15 government departments have failed to meet the cap. Despite the crackdown, taxpayer-funded public officials are still spending their time on partisan trade union activity, wasting tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money each year. And the cost is going up, not down. A good New Year’s resolution for the Cabinet Office would be to actually enforce the pledges that it made…

SKETCH: A Pilgrim Stitch-Up

If you have pitchforks and flaming torches, they’ll come in handy. It’s not obvious where Plebgate is going to lead. If this is the level of integrity in the police, there’ll be a Royal Commission at the end of it.

Keith Vaz’s committee has quite excelled itself in arraigning the officers at the sharp end of the Plebgate scandal.

They haven’t been condemned but in the unusual words of the Chair “we have found your evidence unsatisfactory”. In English – “We think you’re lying through your teeth which is why you cover your mouth with your hands, why your mouths are dry, why you mumble furtively, why you want to talk about hindsight and your state of mind at the time, and you keep saying, “Can you repeat the question?”

Continue reading

Pilgrims’ Self-Preservation Plot

Taxpayer funded union turkeys are convening to work how to avoid Christmas. Regular readers will remember Carl Roper, the TUC national organiser tasked with spinning for Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials. Last summer Carl got into all sorts of […]

+ READ MORE +

Pickles Pilgrim Reforms Will Save £400,000-a-Year

Militant PCS union getting off from their court battle with Eric Pickles hit DCLG in the pocket to the tune of £90,000. Good news then that the department’s union reforms are saving that figure several times over. New stats […]

+ READ MORE +

Pickles Will See Pilgrims in Court

Militant PCS union fat cat Mark Serwotka is trying to legal Eric Pickles into submission over ending the automatic collection of union subs from civil servants’ salaries, the so-called check-off system.

With a straight face, Serwotka is spinning this […]

+ READ MORE +

Unison’s Role in the NHS Crisis

Another day and another report suggesting that staffing shortages are killing people in NHS hospitals. Today it’s the Health Select Committee, where last week it was Sir Bruce Keogh who said:

“Statistical analysis performed showed a high correlation between in-patient

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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