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15 March 2010
The world of local government
Filling in application forms is a soul destroying activity, especially where the work involves the Magical Kingdom of Localgovernmentland. This is a land where the concepts of profit and loss do not apply, and where someone else has to produce the monies that the elves and pixies who make up the Magical Kingdom's population spend freely.

So for instance if you are a lecturer seeking work in the further education sector, having degrees from Russell Group universities and a modest list of publications to your name is not enough to even get an interview these days. You must be able to demonstrate "a commitment to diversity," and prove that your belief in the council's policy of "working towards the eradication of sexism, ageism, racism" is total. Presumably you do this via the two-minute hate, thought your friendly old Exile. Alas that is not the case - what you have to do is know the buzzwords that are in vogue at the moment and make damn sure that they go on that application form. Then a committee will spend a whole day going through those forms and will only invite for interview those people who have met the complete person specification.

Being a cynical old sod who had lived far too many years in Mexico, I decided that the system must work the same as it does in that country. Namely the issue is not what the papers contain, rather that there be lots of them with lots of writing on both sides of the sheets. Then the papers go into a file which goes into an archive and everyone feels that they have done their bit for the day. And the job goes to someone's cousin, or to the person who stumps up the biggest bribe.

However in the Magical Kingdom of Localgovernmentland that is not the case. This is because the kingdom's administrative elite, the polyocracy, really do go through all this drivel line by line. Let's face it, if you had a third from some scratty old poly that John Major allowed to degrade the name of university, you would feel pretty bloody insecure as well, wouldn't you? As part of the process of self-justification you would take old tosh like this very, very seriously indeed.

Neither this blog, nor its writer, will be supporting the Tories at the coming general election. That said, wouldn't it be nice if Prime Minister Cameron decided to send an army of troglodytes into the Magical Kingdom and reduced it to ashes?



It's not just would-be lecturers who get this. A few years ago I worked as a kitchen porter in a council-run establishment. So delighted were they with my carrot and potato-peeling abilities that they asked me to apply for the job full-time. I took a peek at the application form. It made no mention of the above skills, however, nor was I to be examined on my superlative pot-scrubbing or floor-mopping. Instead, I was required to express my total commitment to diversity, anti-racism and anti-sexism within the work environment.

15 March 2010 at 08:35  

Well that's just fuckety-doodle-dandy, isn't it? The point is thta I have no objection to any bugger earning his buttie in any way, shape or form. What I object to is when that buttie earning impinges on other people who are just trying to do the same thing.

Do your hours, pick up your wages and pore the beer down the neck to get the taste of the week out of the gob. That's the sensible way to live.

15 March 2010 at 11:04  

But not only does this particular brand of buttie-earning probably deter proper, well-qualified people from applying for jobs, the same mindset now threats your beer-down-the-neck. "First they came for the smokers ...."

15 March 2010 at 12:25  

Sure, and sadly I think that you are right. However, the point that I was making was that people should basically leave others to get on with their lives, pretty much as they do in Mexico. Once you have got the cushy little number in government that is no reason to use it to create problems for others. At the end of the day you are just a jobsworth, so accept it and leave me, you and Uncle Tom Cobbly alone.

15 March 2010 at 13:37  

The saddest thing is that Cameron and his cronies is likely to just make things worse, as his pitch is that he is more Blairite than New Labour, just as Blair's was that he was more Thatcherite (or at least, transformational) than Major. Britain seems to be trapped in a downward spiral ...

15 March 2010 at 15:18  

Cheerful bugger, aren't you? To be fair, yeah, it's a logical point, but don't forget that the pixies and elves do not vote Tory. Ergo they can be done over with glee by a Tory ministry.

15 March 2010 at 16:22  

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