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bazookabob

Tories To Sell Off Met Office

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8312999.stm

Just came across this article, not sure if its been posted on here already or if this is the right place for it so apologies if not. I'm sure some people on here will have an opinion on it... hey maybe if we all club together, we could buy it and issue a long range forecast for an "umbrella summer"!

bb

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Yay! No more global warming spin from them if they do get sold off. rolleyes.gif

I'm sure they won't be though...closedeyes.gif

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an interesting idea but I wonder what he ACTUALLY said?

you can find that out by going to this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nfpp7

and moving the cursor to about 38m45s out to around 39m30s.

to find what he actually said

rather different from the headlines suggesting they will do it.

For one UK Met does have a front line impact-fighting will occur whatever the weather, visibility, cloud bases, wind speeds etc etc. However, having an accurate assessment of weather out to several hours ahead and a fairly accurate idea for the next 24 hours does help with troop/air force efficiency.

UK Met, via Northwood for RN and HQ Strike for RAF and Army involvement provide that direct into theatre and also via what is called Mobile Met where met staff with military training and allocated military ranks and discipline provide front line data in all major theatres of operations, Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq, each time, and Afghanistan.

so its not all of UK Met not involved but part of it is and its very difficult as Margaret Thatcher found to separate it entirely, hence why the media/civil part of it is charged with making a profit but not the MOD part. neither can you provide the full computer system without the MOD involvement, at least not unless UK Met is stripped of its ICAO commitment as one of two major airline forecast centres, which incidentally bring in many scores of millions each year.

So its a complex process any parliament/government would have if a decision was made to privatise the whole lot. Doing bits of it is very very complex but I suppose it is possible if there is a will to do it, indeed some in UK met might prefer to be free from government direct control.

hope that is seen as a balanced approach from my knowledge of how it works.

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Is the UK Met a profitable organisation on it's own?

If it was privitised, and it is not profitable as things stand, then it will need cutbacks. Probrably a bad idea for the general public if that was the case.

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an interesting idea but I wonder what he ACTUALLY said?

you can find that out by going to this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nfpp7

and moving the cursor to about 38m45s out to around 39m30s.

to find what he actually said

rather different from the headlines suggesting they will do it.

For one UK Met does have a front line impact-fighting will occur whatever the weather, visibility, cloud bases, wind speeds etc etc. However, having an accurate assessment of weather out to several hours ahead and a fairly accurate idea for the next 24 hours does help with troop/air force efficiency.

UK Met, via Northwood for RN and HQ Strike for RAF and Army involvement provide that direct into theatre and also via what is called Mobile Met where met staff with military training and allocated military ranks and discipline provide front line data in all major theatres of operations, Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq, each time, and Afghanistan.

so its not all of UK Met not involved but part of it is and its very difficult as Margaret Thatcher found to separate it entirely, hence why the media/civil part of it is charged with making a profit but not the MOD part. neither can you provide the full computer system without the MOD involvement, at least not unless UK Met is stripped of its ICAO commitment as one of two major airline forecast centres, which incidentally bring in many scores of millions each year.

So its a complex process any parliament/government would have if a decision was made to privatise the whole lot. Doing bits of it is very very complex but I suppose it is possible if there is a will to do it, indeed some in UK met might prefer to be free from government direct control.

hope that is seen as a balanced approach from my knowledge of how it works.

I'm sure the Tories will find a way to do it and then watch it go bust. I don't think it's a good idea.

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Privatising the Met Office is very unlikely to help the situation regarding any AGW spin. Most universities, which are private organisations, have exactly the same stance on AGW as the Met Office, and act in much the same way whenever politics gets involved (i.e. preach the "the science is reasonably settled and AGW is a serious problem" stance to the public)- so I'm afraid it's hard to see how privatisation will address that.

I am not necessarily against some aspects of the MetO being privatised (I was, at one stage, in favour of cutting its tie with the MoD before I saw John's post about the computer systems' dependency on it), but think it would be extremely risky to privatise the lot. Funding will be harder to secure if government funding ceases, and there is even a risk that funding could end up coming from sources that have stronger vested interests than the UK Government- there is no shortage of cranky companies out there with axes grinding at both extremes of the climate change/AGW belief spectrum. Privatising the MetO might result in their Crown Copyrights being relaxed but also brings about a risk of them being more stringent with their existing copyrights if they feel that funding is insecure- many private companies will charge extra for things that used to be free for as much as they can get away with.

Privatisation works well when there are competing companies aiming to deliver the best service to customers, but it can be problematic when mass buyouts and monopolies occur and when companies are tempted, across the board, to provide the minimum service they can get away with for maximum profit, as is often the case with the privatised public transport companies. I have a feeling that privatising the MetO risks having the effect of lowering overall standards of weather forecasting and research.

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an interesting idea but I wonder what he ACTUALLY said?

you can find that out by going to this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/b00nfpp7

and moving the cursor to about 38m45s out to around 39m30s.

to find what he actually said

rather different from the headlines suggesting they will do it.

For one UK Met does have a front line impact-fighting will occur whatever the weather, visibility, cloud bases, wind speeds etc etc. However, having an accurate assessment of weather out to several hours ahead and a fairly accurate idea for the next 24 hours does help with troop/air force efficiency.

UK Met, via Northwood for RN and HQ Strike for RAF and Army involvement provide that direct into theatre and also via what is called Mobile Met where met staff with military training and allocated military ranks and discipline provide front line data in all major theatres of operations, Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq, each time, and Afghanistan..............

hope that is seen as a balanced approach from my knowledge of how it works.

well put John. a concise explanation and fairly put.

i am at a loss as to why some people have such a downer on the MetO :lol: it is beyond me.

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Privatisation works well when there are competing companies aiming to deliver the best service to customers, but it can be problematic when mass buyouts and monopolies occur and when companies are tempted, across the board, to provide the minimum service they can get away with for maximum profit, as is often the case with the privatised public transport companies. I have a feeling that privatising the MetO risks having the effect of lowering overall standards of weather forecasting and research.

You've neatly summarised the ethos of privatisation there TWS.In all the privatisation of local authority services with which I've had direct involvement over the years, and there have been quite a few instances, I've yet to experience competing companies aiming to deliver the best servie to customers; it has always been delivering the minimum possible service for the maximum possible profit.

Privatisation of the Met' Office smacks of a knee jerk reaction to the huge national debt; let's find something to sell even though we don't understand what we're selling or the implications of selling it.

An abysmal idea in my view.

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I think what often happens where consumer products are involved is that it's often difficult for companies to get away with minimum service for maximum profit because competing companies may not follow suit, giving them a competitive advantage. So they end up aiming to give the best possible service so as to maximise market share. But for whatever reasons it never seems to work that way as far as local authority services are concerned. Perhaps it may be because offering better services would require a lot of forethought and planning and short-term investment for no definite immediate gain, as opposed to simply creating a superior product, and so it ends up more cost effective for companies to offer cheap sub-optimal services even though it means they get less custom than they could.

One thing that comes out of the above is that the main thing that can make privatisation and free markets work is increased competition. But the Met Office is an unusual case in that it doesn't stop competition as there is a growing array of independent weather companies that people can go to- and they compete both with each other and with the Met Office itself. Thus, privatising the Met Office probably wouldn't help increase competition at all, so it's difficult to see any advantage in privatisation other than saving the government a bit of cash that they can spend (probably far less efficiently) somewhere else.

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Considering that climate change is now a huge industry, privatising the met office into a totally commerical company would possibly encourage it too be too pro warming and would introduce a bias to any forecasting that it does.

Also possible increases in charging could mean that the bbc goes elsewhere for it's forecasts and the public ends up getting a poorer service.

Considering the Mod have already slashed the budget to the hadlee centre selling the Met office maybe closer to reality than we think.

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it's a bad idea: the met office needs to be independent from political interference but I see no benefit in privatising it (other than a very slightly reduced deficit) and plenty of drawbacks, including possible political and commercial interference.

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They have got my vote now! Maybe Mr Cameron has been reading my threads!! good.gif

Yep, a good idea

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