Bending over backwards

In the latest case of life imitating art, Britain’s civil servants have been told to stop using meaningless jargon that only confuses people about what the Government is doing. While it may serve the public interest, no doubt the writers of such classics as Yes, Minister, and In the Thick of It will feel all the poorer!

It seems to me that people in high places of Whitehall might have been taking a page from my protagonist, George Aloysius Brown. In his role as municipal manager of Putney & District, he made it his mission to outlaw such incomprehensible bureaucratic jargon as ‘double devolution’, ‘holistic governance’, ‘inspectorates’, ‘place shaping’, ‘blue sky vision’.

Following his lead, Whitehall has instructed its employees that they must hitherto address the public in plain English. While it would seem to most to be a fairly straightforward assignment, they’ve had to produce an online style guide to assist them in this task.

I don’t know about the personal lives of Whitehall civil servants, but such a radical change in policy certainly worked for George—readers of his exploits can find out exactly how!

And to those in the bureaucracy struggling with this ‘bold’ new approach to policy, might I suggest Spank be required reading for civil servants? Just please don’t refer to it as “manual posterior remediation”.

 

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