Professors invention for peeling potatoes

Heath Robinson via


UK general elections sometimes seem to proceed according to an elaborate choreography, with party manifestoes launched in a co-ordinated sequence and a feeling that “If this is Tuesday it must be [say] immigration”. 

Last week efficiency savings held centre stage with each main party vying to talk (apparently) big numbers and saying why the other parties’ big numbers wouldn’t work. 

Underlying most of the claim and counter-claim was a sub-text of “waste”, “bureaucracy”, “mis-management” and low hanging fruit just ripe for the plucking. 

One question has been entirely missed: 

  • what is efficiency?

 And another has never proceeded beyond the “it’s blindingly obvious – cut x” of political claim and counter-claim:

  • how – genuinely – can efficiency savings be made?

These questions beg other deeper issues and notwithstanding that better men (and women) than I have pondered them my next two posts are going to have a go at answering them.