Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Labour's excuses on data don't wash

More details have emerged on Labour's data disaster we have had a mix of abject apologies and excuses. The worst of it is that the data was lost a whole month ago, with days lost while officials hoped that the envelope would turn up and then prevaricated before calling the police or telling the banks. Apologies are fine, but the basic excuse appears to be that a junior staffer is responsible for the whole mess. So, they are trying to reassure us on the basis that junior staff at HMRC have access to their entire database, to the point that they can put it on a couple of CDs? Are they having a larf? If this happened low down the HMRC food chain than it actually makes it worse, not better. A straightforward security breach would at least mean that the internal processes were circumvented. The government's story implies that it was business as usual up to the point that the envelope was licked. That makes HMRC a shambles and let us not forget that this department was run by Gordon Brown for the last 10 years. If there a structural problem, and a combination of savage job cuts and reorganisations are suggested as a cause, than the bony finger of blame points straight at the Prime Minister.

Politically, this whole business is poison. Everyone is either affected or knows someone who it. My wife's data has been lost for example. People remember things that affect them personally, and no-one is going to forget this. Think Black Wednesday when the political ground shifted in an afternoon. This lot are on the way out.

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