* Posts by Big Softie

51 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jun 2009


Post Office slapped down for late disclosure of documents in Horizon scandal inquiry

Big Softie

Re: MPs on a jury duty style system


Apple cuts hundreds of jobs after ditching the car project and more

Big Softie

Re: The Apple car

Not to mention the bespoke charging cable...

Insider steals 79,000 email addresses at work to promote own business

Big Softie

Re: Safety

Don't start on the fish puns...they're never ending and just a red herring as far as the main story is concerned. There's a time and plaice for everything, this was just a sole incident

Post Office boss unable to say when biz knew Horizon could be remotely altered

Big Softie

Re: s/unable/unwilling/

"I'm slightly confused by the difference between the Parliamentary Committee and the Statutory Inquiry. A summary of the evidence for the Inquiry should be good enough for the Committee...

I believe one difference between a Statutory Inquiry and a Parliamentary Committee is that witnesses take an oath for the former once they take the stand, swearing that their evidence will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Thus if they lie they are committing the crime of perjury. The same does not apply for a hearing in front of a Parliamentary Committee and people are able to lie profusely without fear of prosecution. I believe it is correct to say that evidence exists proving Paula Vennells and her sidekick did that at a former hearing but apart from being judged in terms of character and reputation they will not incur criminal charges.

Nick Read is an utter disgrace and his public appearances continue to be widely lambasted on social media as shameful and appalling. The only thing he has said so far at any of these hearings where there is no doubt that he is telling the whole truth is that he is very well paid. Obscenely so, in fact. £800K per year of taxpayers money. One has to question the recruitment process behind appointing such an individual and the justification for such a huge burden on the public purse.

Former Post Office boss returns CBE to sender over computer system scandal

Big Softie

Re: A scandal of epic proportions

Spot on.

The consequences of people doing a job for which they lack the requisite levels of skills, ability, knowledge, training and experience to do competently.

Once you add arrogance, greed and the primal instinct to deny wrongdoing and cover one's own backside at all costs to the mix you end up with a horribly tragic disaster like this one.

I'm sure a lot of the early erroneous decisions that were made which resulted in Horizon being deployed were the result of a widespread level of ignorance. Ignorance of software technology, how a software product is specified, developed, deployed and maintained. That is understandable and forgivable to an extent. What cannot be forgiven is the fact that once it became clear that Horizon was unfit for purpose, resulting in accounting errors and people being falsely charged and convicted, a whole group of people conspired to cover it up and misappropriated huge sums of public money to do so. Which continues to this day.

UK PM promises faster justice for Post Office Horizon victims

Big Softie

The religious aspect is well covered...you only have to say you're sorry and appear remorseful and you are forgiven

Big Softie

Re: Justice should include prosecutions

Ignorance, incompetence and arrogance is a powerful combination, unfortunately quite common in Government and the Civil Service.

Big Softie

Re: Justice should include prosecutions

Yep, in the same club...

Big Softie

Re: The possibilities are infinite

No, and it is sad to see that for decades the Government and Civil Service have appeared incapable of handling these huge IT vendors who make massive profits from the public purse whilst producing deliverable which are not fit for purpose and both late and over budget.

Big Softie

Re: Hot air

No, wrong. The prime expert witness from Fujitsu whose evidence was crucial in a lot of the convictions applied for immunity from prosecution and the judge refused.

Big Softie

Re: Hot air

The fly in the ointment is the burden of proof. Many PO employees have already taken the stand and lied through their teeth. Their victims (the Sub postmasters) know it but without documentary evidence it is just hearsay for anyone to challenge and refute what is said under oath. And it has been shown that the Post Office started shredding documents once they knew that they had wrongly prosecuted people.

Big Softie

Re: No Justice

Apart from long standing incompetence and failure to keep the Post Office in check with respect to Corporate Governance, it is almost a certainty the Civil Service and UK Government were complicit in the ensuing cover up, so for sure they will do their best to bury it.

Big Softie

Re: No Justice

Yep, it's the old old story...

1) The public purse funds an incredibly expensive inquiry which drags on years longer than planned

2) All the lawyers involved profit massively

3) The outcome: mistakes were made, the culprits are very sorry, lessons have been learned

Big Softie

Re: No Justice

Vennells has manoeuvred herself into the corner on this one...or has she?

She would have returned it a long time ago if she had any hint of integrity whatsoever, and we all know the response to that one.

If she had returned it in the early days of the inquiry, it would be interpreted by some as her admitting culpability of wrongdoing, which she continues to vehemently deny.

But now the strength of public opinion on this gives her the copout of returning it under protest that she has done nothing wrong but is bowing to public pressure since she is such a good person and has the wellbeing of the nation and the Post Office in her blood.

Manchester's finest drowning in paperwork as Freedom of Information requests pile up

Big Softie

As would a few P45s issued with no chance of re-employment elsewhere in the force. The same approach should be applied across the whole Public Sector

California commission says Cruise withheld data about parking atop of a pedestrian

Big Softie

Dressing Up

Ye gods, I saw plenty of BS during the 4 decades I spent working in the high tech industry. The executive guys with plenty to say who usually deliver very little beyond talking up their own capability; "...the glass is permanently half full.." brigade who reclassify and redefine every problem or disaster as something great and wonderful. But "anti pedestrian dragging" as a feature????

Biotech exec sentenced to eight years for COVID-19 testing finger-stick fraud

Big Softie

And the band plays on

Lessons will be learned....apparently not

City council Oracle megaproject got a code red – and they went live anyway

Big Softie

The fundamental issue with all the public sector disasters we see is that the people appointed to manage them are incompetent. They lack the skills, knowledge, ability, experience, track record, and training to do the job they're doing yet somehow get appointed to the position anyway. So whilst they are the immediate cause of the cock-up, the solution lies in tackling recruitment in the bigger picture. The same happens in the private sector of course but there corrective action has to occur within otherwise the enterprise will go under. In the public sector it's always the taxpayer who takes the hit whilst the mess continues by putting out the message "We're sorry, we made mistakes, we know have to do better, lessons have been learned...." And the band plays on. It's high time that society stopped treating the public purse as a bottomless pit to make the chosen few rich and failing to ensure cost-effective and successful delivery of the projects it bankrolls.

Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

Big Softie

Re: Easy win but challenging keep.

The problem is top down as always....

It appears at the top of the Civil Service you get obscenely rewarded, a job for life, a gold-plated pension and no accountability whatsoever. When you screw up big time there's an enquiry funded by the taxpayer which is a complete whitewash. The key summary is "yes, we made a mistake, we are deeply sorry, we know we have to do better, lessons have been learned..." and then on we go. If you are high enough in the pyramid and manage to screw up on a consistent basis you can eventually be sure of an honour in the New Years List...

Japan's digital minister surrenders salary to say sorry for data leaks

Big Softie

Re: The UK is the opposite

People paid on the public purse are in a no lose job for life. When they ####-up the organisation says "We sincerely apologise...we know we have to do better...lessons have been learned...". Then the organisations get fined, which is also paid from the public purse. Onwards and upwards...

Cumbrian Police accidentally publish all officers' details online

Big Softie

Re: Human Error?

Then you can expect lifelong salary increases far beyond your value whilst consistently claiming you could earn even more in the private sector. No-one will challenge this and call your bluff. If you're really lucky you belong to one of those special public sector clubs allowed to collectively set their own rewards. Like MPs for instance.

If you screw up really bad, you will be promoted and moved sideways so that you can screw up in a whole new area.

Ultimately you can get a reward in the New Year Honours list for serial failure.

What's not to like?

Big Softie

Re: How?

And also there needs to be personal consequences for those responsible. What on earth is the point of the ICO or anyone else fining a public funded organisation where the taxpayer is footing the bill.

I am sick of hearing the "We sincerely apologise...mistakes were made...we know we have to do better...lessons have been learned..." rhetoric. It's just a catch-all for the freedom to repeatedly screw-up without accountability.

UK voter data within reach of miscreants who hacked Electoral Commission

Big Softie

Re: How was this made possible?

He also said ""We regret that sufficient protections were not in place .."

So that's alright then. "We apologies...we sincerely regret our mistake...we know we have to do better...lessons have been learned.." Off to collect my bonus....yawn...etc.

It is truly stunning how widespread incompetence is becoming. It must be one of the fastest growing Corporate attributes in the modern world.

Post Office Horizon Inquiry calls for compensation to be brought forward

Big Softie

Re: BBC investigation

All are well worth reading - there is much which simply isn't being reported by the media in general, and even where they are doing so, they are not going into sufficient depth to really convey the full horror of it all.....

It's clear that the media has been soundly threatened into near silence over the course of this travesty by the Post Office's thugs [expensive lawyers] funded by the taxpayer

Big Softie

Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

Not just PO Management and Fujitsu...it's a safe bet that individuals in Government and the Civil Service knew full well that Horizon was a pile of pooh, the prosecutions were unsafe, and were complicit in mis-spending > 100M of taxpayers' to cover it up. There are many keeping their heads down and hoping for it all to go away...

Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill

Big Softie

Re: I'm a bit torn

It doesn't exist, she spent it on expensive lawyers to keep people from telling the truth, and a lavish lifestyle befitting such a successful CEO...

NHS England spends £8M to extend Microsoft deals by a month

Big Softie

" ..a full procurement process which will also save money in the long-term for taxpayers"

Never seen this strategy working in my lifetime...so far

Brit cops rapped over app that recorded 200k phone calls

Big Softie

You are spot on and sadly this happens all the time...

People employed to ride the publicly funded gravy train rarely if ever face the consequences of their misconduct and/or incompetence.

In cases where there is a lot of public dissatisfaction the response is to launch a public which takes an inordinately long time and again costs the taxpayers a fortune. And the result is usually:

- we're very sorry for the inconvenience

- we know we have to do better

- mistakes were made

- lessons were learned

Jobs are kept, bonuses are paid, and on we go...until the next ****-up

Brit civil service claims there's enough money for mammoth ERP refresh project

Big Softie

Re: my B.S. dector just exploded

...with fax machines

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in prison

Big Softie

Scale of the fraud

"The feds estimated losses at $804 million while Holmes's team insisted the number is somewhere between $40 million and $48 million..."

Her lawyers must have confused the losses she created with the bill they will be presenting to her current stooge/husband....

Oracle extends share options plans, no bumper payday for execs... yet

Big Softie


Effectively putting taxpayers' contributions into selected individuals' pockets...

Larry Page's flying taxi startup Kittyhawk calls it a day

Big Softie

Don't worry about the detail, this will be big, give us your money

You have to admire these big-time visionaries with grandiose dreams usually backed up by poor track records of having actually achieved anything. They still manage to pull in huge investments from people who should know better to fund wildly optimistic ideas that many an engineer or anyone with a large dollop of common sense would say "that'll never fly..."

My observation of working in tech for many decades, and I may be wrong and stand to be corrected, is that investors appear to be doing even less due diligence now than in the past, and certainly far less than they should be doing. Is this a natural consequence of our species and society become ever more affluent...we can afford and accept huge losses on the basis that one of these projects might just deliver?

Update your Tesla now before the windows put your fingers in a pinch

Big Softie

Autonomous here we come...

So, it has taken them until now to find and fix a straightforward bug in the window control code, decades old technology. And these guys really expect us to believe they'll be producing cars that can safely drive themselves anytime soon?

Outsourcing firm Serco wins £212m UK Test and Trace deal

Big Softie

"The advertised cost of the contract is the maximum that can be spent, the actual cost is likely to be much less"

And when has that ever happened?

UK's largest union to Arm: Freeze job cuts now

Big Softie

Re: "the right thing to do"

Spot on !!

Nominet is back to 'the same old sh*t' says Public Benefit campaign chief as EGM actions grind to halt

Big Softie

Re: "No, Virginia, ..." [Nominet's handing of EGM voting data to a market research agency, Savanta]

You are so right in your observations and analysis. The older and wiser you become, the more evident it is. But why does this happen…? Because our species is fatally flawed and, in any situation, “looking after no.1” and greed enter the picture. And the more affluent, rich, civilised, and successful we become as a species, the more extreme the behaviour to lie, cheat, and cover-up the screw-ups.

Nowhere is it more visible than in the Public Sector where incompetent buffoons head up the activity and are handsomely rewarded for failure on the grounds “I could earn much more in the Private Sector….”

When I share this with other people, I often get labelled as cynical. However, it was the great George Bernard Shaw who famously said, “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven’t got it.”.

UK's Government Digital Service extends contracts with Post Office and Digidentity for wobbly Verify ID system

Big Softie

Re: Another UK Government IT Procurement

True, but when it goes horribly wrong in the Public Sector it's our taxes which are constantly footing the bill, and nobody is held accountable. So the rhetoric about "...mistakes were made" and "...lessons will be learned" is complete garbage and nothing ever changes

Just when everyone thought things might be looking up, Dido Harding admits interest in top job at NHS England

Big Softie

The Public Sector has a good track record of appointing special kinds of fuckwits to massively overpaid positions.....

Conservative Party fined one-third of a luxury food hamper by ICO for nuisance email campaign

Big Softie

Re: "the relevant employee left shortly afterwards and there are no available records."

Mistakes were made...lessons will be learned...


Parliament demands to know the score with Fujitsu as Post Office Horizon scandal gets inquiry with legal teeth

Big Softie

Re: At last!

Let's hope Jenkins and Chamber were smart enough to keep copies of any documents which reveal the pressure they were under. It will be contrary to their employment agreements and possibly inadmissible in a court but it'll make great reading in the public domain.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

Big Softie

Re: Why opt out ?

Exactly...we need a policy of zero tolerance on this.

Anyone, absolutely anyone found accessing records they shouldn't be, or leaving USBs on trains etc. should be dismissed instantly with no chance of re-employment in the health system ever. Applied to all, from the lowliest support staff up to the best brain surgeon in the country.

39 Post Office convictions quashed after Fujitsu evidence about Horizon IT platform called into question

Big Softie

Re: And still...

But it's ok...God will forgive you if you are sorry...

Trustify CEO gets eight years for lying to investors, spending millions on homes, private jets, sports tickets

Big Softie

Re: How is he going to pay that back?

Good question...here in the UK they would simply deduct £1 a time from his jobseekers allowance until the debt is paid.....

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy

Big Softie

One of my favourite lines has always been "Ignorance and arrogance is a powerful combination that is challenging to deal with, increasingly so the higher up the greasy pole the source is..." It can be a career limiting statement if voiced...

UK watchdog fines two firms £270k for cold-calling 531,000 people who had opted out

Big Softie

Re: The scams will continue until things change....

But banning Directors doesn't work....

I came across someone who was kicked off the Directors List and banned from starting another company and then went straight ahead and did it with absolutely no problem.

You only have to look on companies house and search for this guy Roberto Milanesi to see that he has multiple profiles on there, and a history of repeatable failure. The database is a shambles....


150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'

Big Softie

Re: Records, permanent removal thereunto

I believe you could argue long and hard about whether it's their job or not. There is, however, no debate that it is what they do....and lie about

Bad software crashed Boeings. Now it appears the company lacked a singular software supremo

Big Softie

...or he's one of those smoke & mirrors guys who only last until the people who work for him twig their new manager is completely inept, wonder how on earth he got hired in the first place, but unfortunately by their own heroic efforts hide the awful reality until he moves on (again)...

Autonomy founder Mike Lynch's US extradition hearing will be in February 2021

Big Softie

Re: Lynch isn't the criminal here.

It's clear all parties involved are culpable of misdoing in this sorry saga, although in different ways. Lynch unsurprisingly pumped up Autonomy’s perceived value as much as he could with the usual smoke, mirrors and possibly even falsehoods that many in his position do daily. But, blatant lying, dishonesty and spouting BS are not in themselves criminal offences which is just as well as the jails would be bursting at the seams.

For their part, it seems incomprehensible that such a supposedly professional company such as HP could make such an abysmal mess of the due diligence process. However, I've personally witnessed and lived through similar occurrences close-up before. It’s because large organisations consistently operate with people in senior positions who simply shouldn't be there. They lack the skills, the experience and the knowledge required for the position but somehow still manage to get magically appointed. Usually their incompetence and cock-ups are hidden or compensated for by the marching army below them in the hierarchy, but every once in a while the chickens will come home to roost. Cue massive embarrassment in a case like this.

Deloitte’s part in this was woeful but they have already been handed down justice for “serious and serial failures” in auditing Autonomy prior to the buyout.

It would be unfair in the big picture for Lynch to carry the can for the whole lot, but such is life. All too often the winners are the guys with the deepest pockets to pay for the most expensive legal representation.

Now, let’s check what’s happening with Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos….

Director of nuisance-calls company ordered to cough up £114k after ignoring £40k fine from UK data watchdog

Big Softie


Disqualification means nothing. He can just set up again with a new persona at Companies House; maybe spell his name differently or add an extra middle name, change the address etc. The number of people "owning" different Companies House records with multiple personas is unbelievable.

After banning Chinese comms bogeyman, UK asks: Huawei in this mess? It was a failure of capitalism, MPs told

Big Softie

Re: Obvious

Spot on...