Thursday, September 20, 2007

Throwing some light on bureaucracy

Over at Iain Dale's, Shane Greer asks how long it takes to change a lightbulb in the Houses of Parliament.
Well let’s have a look at the process as recounted by a friend who spent over two works working in the dark in an unnamed office:
"Day 1: Place the request for a new bulb with the Parliamentary Works Directorate.

Day 3: Ring up two days later to complain at the lack of action. To my surprise the guy on the end of the phone replies that he has 14 days - yes 14!! - before the work has to be completed.

Day 4: Receive an email stating the work had been completed. I stare at the wall and the broken light bulb. More phone calls.

Day 16: 16 days and 3 phone calls later one doddery looking handymen/random guy off the street turns up, takes one look, shakes his head and decides he needs a ladder. Returns with ladder and chum in tow. More deliberation. With live current surging through the fitting he proceeds to take out a screw driver and start prodding. The two men disappear. Return with new light bulb and fit it. Cue 'and there was light jokes' from both. Job well done boys."

Another example of effective service delivery brought to you by parliament – how reassuring...

In the mid-70s, both of my parents worked at the MoD and, believe me, this kind of this was happening back then. I mean, 16 fucking days to change a lightbulb! And how much does it cost? Anyone care to estimate—or, better, have proper figures?

And these clowns think that they can run the education, health, benefits, housing, and all the other accoutrements of a Welfare State for an entire fucking country of 60 million people!

The state does things very badly—and by "the state", I don't just mean the politicians (in fact, in some ways they are the least of our problems); I really mean the smug, fat-arsed Civil Service bureaucracy—and so it should do as little as possible.

I would ask if there are enough lamp posts in the country to string up every MP and civil servant, but the request would probably take a year and then they'd conclude that they hadn't got a fucking clue anyway.

Christ on a crutch...


Mark Wadsworth said...

Why didn't the civil servant change his own fucking light-bulb, they're only 50p or so?

Caractacus said...

@ Mark Wadsworth

That'll be elf'n'safety, innit.

Can't have untrained people attempting such a dangerous task

the doctor said...

D.K., There are enough lampposts ,so do you want 4,000 metres of rope ?

Mark Wadsworth said...

The Doctor, "yards", in this country we hang people with "yards" of rope, those newfangled "metres" are slightly too long and the condemned man (or woman) ends up standing on his tip-toes, which is always an anti-climax.

Mark Wadsworth said...

his tip-toes

oops, I meant to say 'his or her tip-toes'.

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...