Greetings blog viewers


I’m reporting from Seattle, Washington State on the west coast of the United States, watching the Pacific Ocean roll by; some 6000 miles away from home.  Before anyone gets the wrong (fat cat) idea, I’ve paid for this trip to the American IPMA-HR conference myself – reflecting our current age of austerity.

However, we’re clearly not alone in experiencing an age of austerity in the UK. Idly flicking through my Seattle Times this morning, Sunday 3rd October 2010, I stumbled across this attention grabbing headline by local reporter, Richard Seven ‘Budget pain just keeps spreading’. The report sets out painful measures being taken by Seattle Mayor, Mike McGinn, including 200 redundancies, a recruitment freeze, reducing grants for non-essential ‘arts’ and raising fees on residents parking. Neighbouring King County, another part of Washington State is also reported to being going through the mill – having just negotiated a fractious one-year pay deal with the trades union. The State’s Department for Health and Social Services is slashing $281 million from services for older and mentally ill people – not exactly a vote-winning measure.

The Washington ‘State’ seems to me like it could also be much closer to home – in particular when Comprehensive Spending Review announcements are made in under three weeks. May be I won’t come home after all?!