Another government oversight body has just revisited the case of the QinetiQ sell-off, in which a group of business executives mounted an astonishing ten-year corporate raid on the British defence ministry. This is not, however, a commendable bit of vigilance on our behalf; it's politicians seeking limelight by attacking a safe …
Jail the buggers and take the 54million off them. If they hide it in houses for their spouses or family, take the houses.
THEY'RE THE FREAKING GOVERNMENT.
They dob over the common git quick enough.
I thought that you were actually grown up.
NO ONE is going to look to the future and stop these things happening again. If they did they would have to rat out their friends and party colleagues and that would never do. that would make _them_ "unsound". Then they would never get in to the higher (and deeper) troughs.
As long as the NAO looks _backward_ they can say "We must stop this from happening again." This gets the public used to the idea that it _will_ happen again, and so there will be less fuss next time.
I doubt whether there is anyone in parliament now who has the honesty or honour to actually stop this type of corporate / governmental theft from taking place, most of them look at Qinetiq and think "I wish that was me."
Very Good Article
(Shakes head..) Lewis, I don't know why you bother, but I'm glad that you do.
Why would they look at now or the future
There is a real risk they can be proved wrong in History and attacked by lawyers in real time - much better to attack after the event when zero risk of being wrong
Thank Orko for the journalism from our fearless El Reg staffers! Great written article!
I just hope it goes some way to changing something, somewhere, anyone out there listening? (echo, echo, echo)
No leader or person with power is prepared to actually stand up and say something. This country stinks because our politicians are spineless.
No Public Share Offering...
It was so blatant a taxpayer ripoff at the time, yet what did the parliamentary 'opposition' (that we pay for, don't forget) do? Nada.
I do wonder sometimes, cold we sue Her Majesty's Opposition for not opposing? Aren't they obliged to do so on our behalf?
Now why couldn't we have sold this bunch MG-Rover instead of those other twits that got to kill it off? The marque would probably being doing a lot healthier now even if it was based in the US, rather than having its tattered reputation sodomised in China.
The dialogue on page 2 is genius. I'm going to bookmark this and link it every time someone suggests that whenever private interests do well out of a botched privatisation, it's the fault of those greedy fatcats deceiving the poor naive ickle civil servants who don't really understand money and just wanted to do their best for the taxpayer. What nonsense. Follow the money. And in the case of government officials, follow the money, follow the power, follow the patronage and follow the photo-ops.
Incidentally, accusing a business of "profiteering" is like accusing a cat of "mouse-eating" or a human of "enjoying themselves too much".
Looking to the future
"Turn around and look into the future - or at least the present, for goodness' sake - why don't you?"
They clearly *are* looking to the future - those lucrative directorships don't grow on trees. These theiving scumbags have done a better job of dismantling our country than Tory privatisation could have ever hoped to manage.
As an infrequent swashbuckler
I object to being compared to these men in grey.
We have never been remotely as rapacious as them.
Scrutiny before the event
This kind of buy-out should be scrutinised by a cross-party committee before it takes place. Maybe a backbencher could demand that in exchange for voting yes to '42'.
@Frank Bough - a public offering is a nice idea but it would still cost more than just making the cuts. The cuts would have to happen anyway so anything else is just going to add cost.
Our democratic system focuses the party in power on retaining power and little else. Backroom deals and you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours scenarios are the order of the day. The system is broken but could be patched with more and more public scrutiny, now who'd vote for that?
Sir John Chisholm on 'Today'
@ 0750 - listen again available.
Poor old Jimmy McNaughty does his best, but lets 'Sir' John get away with endless repetitions of "we've been fantastically entrepreneurial by building robots in the US". I was shouting at the radio (sorry, it's my age): "ask him what proportion of turnover/profits this represents" - about 0.01%, I'll bet.
Where can I recommend Lewis for 'Campaigning Journalist of the Year'?
AI Colossus ...... Turing's Promised Land....... Virtualised Space for CyberIntelAIgent Use
"The system is broken but could be patched with more and more public scrutiny, now who'd vote for that?" ..... By Ferry Boat Posted Wednesday 11th June 2008 14:14 GMT
The System would AI Fool not to, Ferry Boat, for IT is Win Win if you Care to Dare.
You are looking for the Paul Foot award:
Although this is a comment piece, it's a good summary of the events.
The system and those within the system are not best placed to make the choice. Whoever the system is there to serve should be making the choice.
God i'm bitter about these two W******
They are both little short of corporate vandals. Systematically over a number of years they ripped the heart out of British defence research for their own greed. Not only did they make a killing on the formation of QinetiQ but also the formation of Comax. In short they have undermined the research and support of our defence industry at the worst possible time. And in the process destroyed the life and careers of many hundreds of world class scientists, just to line their pockets.
Bet you didn't guess that I'm bitter about it.
missing the point?
"Such profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer is not something this Committee would expect from former public servants,"
Probably not. Most of it is done while theyre IN office, so it can be kept secret for 'security and privacy', ironic since thats the one of the things the population has lost under this government ...
I think they are also forgetting -
The house of lords
Honorary board memberships of big companies
Paying babysitters to answer the phone once a month
Freebies from international jaunts
Money from books telling us how they f*cked us royally
MEPs stealing expenses
Re:God i'm bitter about these two W******
Great article Lewis - especially as you point out that the folks that are screaming loudest about this rip-off now were strangely silent at the time - when exposing this nest of cockroaches may have made a difference.
I'm an ex-employee, (I left of my own volition before anyone accuses me of sour grapes), and it made me sick to see how they wasted the talent and dedication of the staff they had, and all the time porking it out large.
Gets me that, despite the undoubtedly fatal damage that they've inflicted on UK Defence R&D, that they're rewarded with honours etc. When, if I had my way, a televised flogging should have been organised for the lot of them. This is the kind of lesson that should be taught out of this debacle - try and rip off the tax payer and we'll get payback - eventually.
In my time there I saw an org with a lot of dedicated world-reknowned experts doing great R&D at a good cost to the taxpayer, degenerate into a totally demoralised bunch of hangers on producing meaninglessly wordy and expensive rehashes of work done in the pre-Chiselem days.
But, as you sadly point out, no lessons will be learned, and us UK taxpayers will continued to subjects to these kind of corporate muggings. :(
Excellent article. Better than anything I've yet read on the subject (the QinetiQ enquiry) and the behaviour of successive governments over the last 20 years.
And 'our former captains now indulge in such hobbies as collecting life-size elephant sculptures made of solid gold' is absolutely priceless!
Now - what are, what CAN we do to change things?
@ Frank Bough
"I do wonder sometimes, cold we sue Her Majesty's Opposition for not opposing? Aren't they obliged to do so on our behalf?"
Well, there's nothing to stop you trying. Me, I could see the case being dismissed on the grounds that HM Opposition is, by definition, not the Parliamentary majority. This makes it sort of difficult to actually STOP any Government decision - unless of course a fairly substantial number of Government MPs are prepared to defy the party line...
The current system of 'debate' is largely antiquated and irrelevant, intended as it was in wresting power from the Royalty and placing it more in the hands of 'the people'.
However, in this day and age the Royalty has been replaced by the currently dominant political party - which ever of the two it happens to be at the time.
And the method of election, based as it is in a virtually medieval system of 'popular' voting doesn't even represent the 'popular' vote accurately.
Change is required. However, there's a narrow line between the current line and flipping over into a 'taking shop' mode, where popular choice is more accurately reflected and nothing much ever gets done, though everything gets talked to death.
In an ideal world, a wired world, decisions could be actually made by popular vote by the population. However, given the governments track record at implementing any and all IT based projects that's simply not conceivable. After all, a direct voting system would have to be, secure, reliable and especially, not open to abuse or manipulation.
And those are three boxes that the government - any UK government is simply incapable of ticking.
So, come back Guido Fawkes - where are you when we really need you?
<waits for the heavy boot applied to the front door with interest>
Argh! No! I was only joking! Hey! Please don't jam that thing so hard against the back of my head....
<sound effect of Glock magazine of 9mm hollow points being fired into 'terrorist's' head>
The MoD does have an /army/ after all..
So it's simple. Send in a couple of squadrons, seize the embezzlers, forcibly re-nationalise the organisation and their assets at gunpoint, trebles and life-sentences all round! Hooray!
Pratchett has it right!
this is worryingly like the plot from "going postal"
where is the Patrician when you need him