How Would We Know Our Cops, Social Workers and Politicians Are Any Good?

Good policing was once defined as ‘an absence of crime’ – round here we have just ‘welcomed’ a long-term recidivist thieving get, his floozy-druggie and the three kids they seem to have acquired, back into the area for about the umpteenth time.  Some combination of probation, housing and social services have managed to get hold of a private tenancy for them.  Other toe-rags are already showing up after a long absence in the street.  Crime will go up – but is the is fault of police?  The house was on the market at a rent that could have got these ‘people’ into a more middle class area than this, but somehow they always get inflicted on this one, where he built up over 900 convictions before he was 15.  The guy who has rented to them doesn’t know about them yet, which is interesting given the role of the agencies.

Lots of questions arise from this about ‘the absence of crime’ defining good policing.  Doesn’t look much of a favourite.

Good social working might mean an absence of BabyPs – yet these will continue and we will hear they are inevitable, much as cops will continue to tell us violent people they have been warned about are just a fraction of all the warnings they get.

Politicians will keep lying to us through spin.  We will continue saying we hate them all, whilst saying our own MP is fine (the figures just don’t add up, do they?).

Lots of ways are used to convince us our services are “three star” – these are all bunk and juked.  The answer should be a new form of public dialogue by now – but we ain’t got that.  The key is to go about evaluation in a manner that stops those parties interested only in outcomes positive (or at least damage limited) for their interests having any control on input and access, and ensuring contributors can maintain confidentiality on identity.  The analysis phase  should be peer review.

We shy away from education-democracy based social evaluation and tend to go for leadership rather than open argument.  Hardly surprising given how dumb we are at argument – yet how dumb would we remain if we had new forms to argue in and with – in which the “dumb” had less reason to suspect what the “smart” do with Reason?  We won’t get any real answers on the state of our society until we get argument up to modern speed.  Education has failed – but maybe most can’t be skilled in argument?  I know from university teaching they can’t.  Most couldn’t build a car either, but most can drive them.  We need ‘drivable debate’.  This ain’t what we are getting, and we have to sweep away a huge, self-interested class of liars and make sure their system goes with them.

In the meantime, there probably is evidence most of our services and politics remain at crap squared minus one levels.  You can see it leaking out on Gadget and similar blogs over the public sector.  The same people rise to defend their own and fine officers doing their best in trying circumstances.  We probably need to suspect this latter more than we do, as these street-level bureaucrats are too scared to speak out to power and bloat themselves up as heroic, whilst quivering away scared they will lose their jobs if they tell the truth as they see it.  Just imagine this becoming a credibility point in a court of law. ‘Do you tell the truth to your superior officers and the public officer?’  ‘No, I’m worried about my mortgage’.  ‘So you often do not tell the truth officer, when your personal advantage may be put at risk?’  You get the drift.

Could it be that our ‘democratic’ societies are actually stuffed to the gills  with people too scared of losing jobs to speak out?  I suspect this is the case.  Too lazy to bother knowing much about their own history, let alone anyone else’s?  I know so.  We are so dumb on history that our media highlight a teenage tosser with 500 convictions – yet this teenage and recidivist for the next 30 years problem is as old as the hills.  We avoid proper recording and analysis of our problems – this is why we can’t get rid of them.

One obvious thing is that bureaucrats can’t do objective work for the same reason as Gadget-likes. Too much vested interest in earning a living.