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It’s an old adage, and probably correct that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Thinking about the subject, I am somewhat puzzled by:

a.) The unwillingness and fight against federalism in the UK.

            ‘We don’t want it at any price’ seems to be the politicians' mantra; what is the difference between that and localising government, or giving more power to local areas, be it Manchester, Scotland, London, or Wales.

b.) Isn’t the localising government some form of Federalism?

            The positive side speculates that you bring government and decision making down to the local people and that must be better. The negative side, from my opinion, is that what actually happens. It is easier to be a big fish in a small pool than a big fish in a big pool, and so we get small, narrow minded, power hungry, ‘I must protect my insecurities by projecting power,’ kind of people who aren't beneficial to anyone.  Is that not what happens?

            Working in Social services and connected areas, I constantly come up against (maybe because it is small and local) the power hungry, insecure people who are splashing their power around, often wrongly, and with damaging results.  They love to tell me their qualifications, and who they are, pointing out that that is why their decision will stand, whatever minnows like me think, and it will not be considered if, maybe, I just might be correct. That does not matter; they have the power.

            One senior manager recently said, on being confronted about caring for the staff working under him, “I don’t care about my staff.” Great.
            I hope they don’t have the investors in people mark, and how stupid to not know that caring for staff is the best way of getting a good job done!

            I have to say that the other people I find that I constantly clash with are social workers; they always love to tell me that they are qualified. (not all; there are very good ones too) Is that coming from their insecurities? One of them reminded me why we started an agency for foster care recently.        
            Having fostered for local boroughs, observed other boroughs, and talked with many foster carers, the thing that I noted was that partly because social workers were very busy, too big a case load, the foster carers did not get looked after well.  Foster carers are very aware of that.  My thinking is you have to look after the carers as well as possible; that way they will look after the children as well as possible. The situation is not look after the children and forget the carers, or look after the careers and forget the children. It is not either or, it should be both. One social worker recently reminded me of these things. In a dispute on what should happen they said, “I really don’t care about foster carers, they are just paid to do a job.”  In my opinion that is completely crazy; it's the terrible power factor at work again.
            So these little fish have a degree. They are now so qualified, they are the fount of all knowledge, so it does not matter about anyone else’s opinion, be they good staff, or great foster carers, or just the minnows who happen to be on the receiving end of this power projection. They have the power.

            So my question is this: is it better to have the large pool where it’s harder for these insecure fish to get to positions of power, and use it badly, or is it better to have a big pool where maybe the insecure don’t quite swim to the top so easily, and therefore power is exercised with more thought and care?

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Kirsty De Paor

W. 634

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