When risks come home to roost

The ongoing PIP implants scandal prompted these thoughts this morning…

We should beware of situations in which a failure of private responsibility (in this case a deliberate fraud) is characterised as a failure of public regulation. This is another example of the current paradigm in which the private sector takes all the gains of an enterprise & the public sector swallows the risk if the going gets tough.

When things are going well, the profitable private companies are lauded as “entrepreneurial” or “job and wealth-creating” and regulatory bodies are seen as stultifying, enemies of enterprise, miring the private sector in unnecessary red tape. (See Cameron’s recent comments about H&S). Regulatory mechanisms are then rolled back. Funding to the “bloated” public sector is slashed (see CQC) and businesses cheer from the sidelines. Until something like the PIP scandal happens, and suddenly a deliberate fraud is described as a “failure of regulation”. Not so!

In this context, if we consider these remarks about private sector risk-taking in the context of social policy initiatives (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/10/cabinet-secretary-social-polic… we can see that they are mostly bollocks*.

(*Bollocks is an Itsmotherswork ‘kitemark’ used for Government foolishness which achieves the highest levels of mendacity and potential for causing damage to society.)


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