Do you get what you pay for or do you have to fight for it?

(Berthold Featherstonehaugh-Cheems is our bureaucratic correspondent. He grumbles like hell about the designation and wants to be the ‘bureaucracy correspondent’, but I think the other term suits him quite well. He’s got to put up with it since we’re paying his salary.) (One bottle of Sauterne every time he hands in an article.)

A White Paper released yesterday revealed the government’s intention to abolish queues. A spokesman for the Department of Employment said this would be one of the principal measures in a programme with the overall aim of making the population more resilient and less inclined to depend on what are too often seen as advantages and privileges to be claimed as ‘rights’, with no need for any effort or commitment in financial terms on the part of those who claim them. The new measures would thus follow in the footsteps of valuable reforms initiated by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Ian Duncan Smith) and other members of the government, to reduce or abolish state financial support for those out of work, in order to incentivise them to seek employment, and with the same objective to eliminate any form of subsidy for single parents attempting to stay out of the workforce merely to look after their own children. As one among many instances of the need for action, it had frequently been observed that at crowded bus stops in wet weather many waiting passengers allowed those who had arrived earliest to board the vehicle first; but this discouraged the spirit of competition so vital for national economic progress. It was entirely reasonable that a parent with a sick child arriving at a hospital, knowing that his child’s condition was probably more worrying than the minor ailments of the majority of those waiting, should be able to receive immediate attention and treatment for the child on payment of a suitable fee. The spokesman described the new proposals as ‘bringing the efficiency of modern market practice into everyday life’ and promising benefits for the community as a whole, and he pointed out that they were broadly in line with the acknowledged principle that a population will value what it has to pay or struggle for.

            The changes may not be brought in immediately since it is anticipated that there will be a need for concordant legislation to modify the present laws concerning affray, assault, and riot. This aspect will of course be dealt with by the Ministry of Justice.


Monty Skew writes

Greece has provided a vivid demonstration that (to adapt Mr Ford) austerity is bunk. In obedience to the Troika Greek taxes have been raised year by year between 2010 and 2015. Tax receipts of the Greek government have however diminished year by year between 2010 and 2015. Reasons are thought to include increased evasion (no surprise), increased emigration (no surprise), increased co-operation within families and volunteer groups (no surprise), and simply reduced consumption of things costing money (no surprise). As a result of the obvious effect of the lower tax receipts on the Greek government’s budget, Brussels has asked Greece for further cuts.


Sephelia has asked permission to set up what she calls a ‘linguistic corner’.  I’m rather inclined to think we have quite enough language here already, with Greek from Manos, French from Simon’s adopted mother, South American Spanish from Isabelita when she comes in, and Croat from Karela (not to mention the language I use when things get more confused than usual). On the other hand, one should encourage the young in such good habits as may occasionally surface. I shall mull this over.  But her request has prompted me to pull out something I prepared a week or two ago, namely evidence that even if English is still a living language, it is well past its prime; to put it bluntly it is in an advanced state of senility. List to appear soon, I hope.


Puzzle of the day: than which well known prime minister is Donald Trump more civilised and more truthful?