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back to article BT boss QUITS telecoms giant for front-bench gov job

Ian Livingston has quit the top job at BT, after being poached by Prime Minister David Cameron to take on a key trade and investment role for the government. The surprise announcement that Livingston will leave the national telco in September comes at an extremely busy time for BT - which is currently rolling out its fibre …

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Oh my. Remember that European commission investigating BT for being the only contender for all those govt grants for broadband? They're going to LOVE this.

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Big Brother

Not to mention

The EC intervention over BT covert deployment of Phorm mass surveillance.

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Re: Not to mention

It's interesting that in the last government Patricia Hewitt ended up as a non-executive director at BT and BT's CTO went to work for Phorm. Mind you, that corruption wasn't limited to Labour: Norman Lamont also served on Phorm's board didn't he?

It is a pity though that the government doesn't seem to want to do anything to stop the revolving door between public service and certain companies in the private sector.

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Anonymous Coward

Unelected

Any torries go on about unelected officials in the EU!

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Re: Unelected

Never mind that, a BT boss as head of trade and investment"?

I could understand if he were being appointed as government minister responsible for poorly-regulated, sluggish, price gouging, taxpayer cash-grabbing quasi-monopolies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Unelected

isn't that Vince Cable's job?

oh, no, sorry, he's Minister for Pointless Government Departments. My mistake.

The post your referring to must be the minister responsible for the rail industry i suppose.

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Re: Unelected

Absolutely, loathsome scum the lot of them.

Are we going to get carpet-bombed with shite advertising concepts for trade and investment now?

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The system still works!

Long live jobs fer the boys!

I think I need to emigrate again.

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Another Economist

Can't see anything too wrong with this, but it would be nice to see an engineer or two in the government. Still, at least our beans will be well counted, even if we manufacture nothing

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Re: Another Economist

I'm very sorry but who told you that practitioners of that dismal science can count? They do not have a good record (and even the ones with 1/3 of an E, having slept through PP don't remember their primary school education).

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"I am immensely proud to have led this co"

I know it's only a typo, but what was that last word meant to be : "Company"? "Coup"?

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Re: "I am immensely proud to have led this co"

"co" - It'a just an abbreviation for "Crap Offering"

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, the revolving door....

...Its no wonder us consumers get routinely trampled on.....

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Facepalm

British trade and industry to work as well as BT

Presumably with an ex-BT man helping out with Trade & Industry our trading partners can expect the same quality and reliability that BT Customers get.

"The trade deal will be set up for you in two years."

"Two years? That seems a very long time, can't you do it any faster."

"It will take at least two years to get one of our engineers round. That's just the standard set-up time. Nothing we can do about it."

... two years pass ...

"Hello, about that trade deal..."

"What trade deal?"

"The one you said was going to take two years?"

"No, sorry, we don't have any record of that. We can set it up for you now, but it will take two years for our engineer to get to you."

... two years later ...

"Now, this trade deal."

"What trade deal?"

"The one you said was going to take another two years?"

"Oh, I see, someone has set you up with an *industry* deal instead of a trade deal."

"A what?"

"Trade and industry, see, two different things. Now if you want a trade deal, we'll have to send an engineer around. It will take two years."

"Very well, you have insulted us too far. From now on our country is at war with Britain."

"War? I'll have to pass you over to our call centre at the Ministry Of Defence. They can send the royal engineers round, but it will take at least two years..."

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Black Helicopters

Re: British trade and industry to work as well as BT

spot on, this is the gentleman that has reduced engineering functions within BT to the state described, introduced off - shore call centres ( refused to apologise when many had to be brought back) just another bean counter in an engineer's world - the accompanying photo rather suits him I feel, could make a great Private Eye front page?

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IT Angle

Great choice.

He has a fantastic track record for this payback ^H^H^H^H job. His advice to start-ups will be "To succeed, all you need to do is get your mates in the guvmint to gift you a monopoly."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great choice.

What monopoly is that then? I can get a fixed line phone or broadband from Virgin and go nowhere near BT - and I can get a cellphone and broadband from any number of mobile competitors - at least one of which actually *is* a partially state-owned and funded monopoly in their home country. BT has - according to the Ofcom website - 30% of the broadband market and less than 40% of the phone line market. A monopoly would normally imply 100% - or even, stretching the definition a little, the majority share.

I don't really get the 'gift' thing either. The company doesn't belong to him, it belongs to shareholders who *bought* the company and its assets when the government sold it. Taxpayers benefited from the sale through lower income tax bills for a few years, at least until the loss of the net contribution that telecoms made to the exchequer every year became a problem. But hey - people voted for a government that promised to privatise the utilities - they got what they asked for.

I've no particular axe to grind - it just strikes me that the 'monopoly' and 'gift' statements are easy to trot out but aren't really supported by the facts. If I wanted to complain about monopolies I might point at the Spanish owned water company that I have no choice but to use or the train company owned by the French government that I have no choice but to use. In fact I pay for the latter even if I don't use the train thanks to government subsidies that mean, in effect, that I'm subsidising French taxpayers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great choice.

AC @ 16:19 I have lived all over the UK and never had the luxury of being near a Virgin Line (and I always live in large towns such as Bury St Edmunds my current residence). Yes I can go with BT, Sky, TalkTalk but I am still lumbered with that bit of BT copper from the BT cabinet to my house which is maintained and rented from BT. If you get a line installed, its almost guaranteed to be a BT engineer or a contractor working on behalf of BT. So I would argue that they are still very much a monopoly.

I agree with you about the privatisation of BT. Personally I cant see its any better now as a private company from a customer performance point of view but thats because no matter whether a Monopoly is state owned or not it still won't work. For a Tory government they did a spectacularly terrible job as they failed to realise you need competition for private companies to be driven forward. They did it with water too.

Your trains example, the franchise system is just plain ridiculous. In my area Greater Anglia who currently own the franchise have a Monopoly as they are the only company that runs passenger trains. They had to pay for the franchise but are then re-subsidised (which is crazy). Why not just have train time 'slots' that train companies can run their own trains on which they pay a fee for. Each company can then run their own trains and actually have competition.

Basically BT man should not be there as he won't help bring the usefull end of the business world into politics

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great choice.

"I am still lumbered with that bit of BT copper from the BT cabinet to my house which is maintained and rented from BT"

Ahh. I think the point that the OP tried to make is that there are four mobile operators. If you want a phone in your house, it doesn't have to be via a fixed line. The same is true for broadband. Virgin also have 30% of the fixed line market so a lot of people do get to have a choice.

The next line of the argument is usually someone trying to argue that BT is simultaneously far, far too expensive and yet somehow pricing so low that there's no hope of competition.

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Coat

God he looks slimey...

(Choose which one).

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Black Helicopters

Re: God he looks slimey...

he is - the one on the right, just another pea in the pod.

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Re: God he looks slimey...

They both do.....

I think i'd check my pockets if either of them came near me.....

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Re: God he looks slimey...

That Livingston guy looks like someone you'd see getting out the back of a windowless van with his pants half undone. Why is he walking like that, like Golum?

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Anonymous Coward

Jobs for the boys.

Yet another advisor who will put the interests of big businesses first and screw over the electorate.

BT (the Big Thief) will carry on its virtual monopoly on non-cabled areas for the foreseeable future that's for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm

Those big businesses that provide jobs for the electorate you mean? I think he's actually going to be a minister rather than just an advisor. Who would you have do the job - a career politician who has never held a job in outside industry, or the former CEO of one of the country's biggest companies?

I'm not sure how BT has a monopoly in non-cabled areas given that I can get a phone and broadband from one of four mobile networks - but leaving that aside, what would you have them do? Isn't it up to other companies to compete with them?

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Bolleaux

>BT (the Big Thief) will carry on its virtual monopoly on non-cabled areas for the foreseeable future that's for sure.

Yawn, this old one again. Just to inform you that as an Openreach engineer I do more work for SKY than all the others put together (which shows that a lot of people really are THAT dumb). I see we've already had the 'gift' myth trotted out already so I won't bother asking if the poster understands the difference between 'sale' and 'gift'.

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Big Brother

Ian Livingston, the man responsible for Phorm

Simply, unbelievable.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Ian Livingston, the man responsible for Phorm

Phorm never happened. We strongly suggest you remember that.

See icon, we aren't kidding.

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Trollface

Re: Ian Livingston, the man responsible for Phorm

Bite me :)

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