1 thought on “‘Pragmatic centrism’: a dodgy ideology”

  1. Posted 11/10/2016 at 09:21 | Permalink

    The Government has resuscitated the idea of sponsoring an Industrial Strategy by including these two words in the title for its newly created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

    To avoid repeating mistakes of the past, a modern Industrial Strategy should make sure that there is a clear separation of roles between the State and its favourite partner for the provision of public services, the Private Sector. This is especially applicable to the relationship between the Ministry of Defence and defence equipment manufacturers.

    As the Buyer, it is the job of MoD to set the Requirement whilst as Sellers, defence equipment manufacturers come-up with the fully engineered Technical Solution, plus its associated Support Assets which will satisfy the Requirement – within the context of a multiple-phase winner-takes-all, loser-gets-nothing competition.

    That is to say, Contractors raise invoices in respect of work completed and MoD pays against them, using taxpayers’ money. To put it another way:

    (a) MoD is in the Public Sector bound by the terms of a departmental objectives document agreed with the Treasury based on demanding performance targets, at the same time as being obliged to submit to external auditors like the National Audit Office, not to mention cross-examination and ridicule in public, by Select Committees of the House of Commons.

    (b) Contractors are for-profit organisations in the Private Sector set-up in business to sell goods, services and labour at the prevailing market rate, in the face of competition from other Contractors – at the same time as being lent on heavily by Shareholders to deliver ever increasing dividend returns. They are completely reliant on MoD’s equipment budget for their continued existence.

    So, contrary to the proposition that some people beholden to industry interests are advancing about collaborative working and/or cosy partnerships, there can be no alternative type of relationship between MoD and defence equipment manufacturers other than the conventional, no nonsense, Buyer/Seller relationship – at arm’s length, based upon a legally binding contract.

    That is to say, a straightforward, uncomplicated relationship between a willing Buyer and a willing Seller.
    @JagPatel3 on twitter

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