I wonder what will happen...
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I wonder what will happen...
- Integrity – putting the obligations of public service above personal interests
- Honesty – being truthful and open
- Objectivity – basing advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
- Impartiality – acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving governments of different political parties equally well
- ignore inconvenient facts or relevant considerations when providing advice or making decisions
- act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I've met my assessor, Barry, and done the mandatory literacy and numeracy tests. And that's my first concern. The picture shows one of the sixteen numeracy test questions, indeed, one of the more difficult ones.
Remember, I'm a tax official, working in an organisation that requires academic evidence of numeracy as part of our recruitment process. I have an 'O' level, two 'A' levels and a degree in Mathematics. I do find myself wondering why I am obliged to take a test that I would have been upset at failing when I was five. It appears to be 'education by box ticking', something that I don't really approve of.
And, to be blunt, it doesn't appear to be particularly rigorous. Keep the answers short, I am told, avoid detail. There I was, thinking that this might offer an opportunity to give some serious thought as to the way we function, and whether or not we provide a service that meets the actual needs of our customers, rather than one that fits with what we're willing to provide. Clearly, I am being naïve.
Once upon a time, we had proper, rigorous training, where you were taught not only what to do, but why you are doing it. But that's expensive, so instead consultants are brought in to break down our work into simple bite-sized chunks that a slightly slow gibbon could master.
That's fine, so long as you have a basic knowledge of the job. However, if you don't, as soon as something unusual crops up, you're floundering at the end of a long rope, with managers appointed on the basis of managerial competence, rather than any knowledge of your job.
And that, my friends, is why bureaucrats become jobsworths. If in doubt, stick to the letter of the law...
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
And, alas, I seem to be sliding into the same trap. Blogging here has been a bit light of late, partly caused by my being on holiday, partly because my other responsibilities are keeping me from the blog.
Ironically, most of what I write for Lib Dem Voice is not what I have included on my own blog and, in truth, I haven't written that much for the site. It is a bit of a distraction though, and I really need to start managing my time a little better, so that I can keep up.
So, we'll see what can be done here, but in the meantime, it's my day today on Liberal Democrat Voice so, if you have any comments on how it's going, feel free to add them here...
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Last week, I blogged about an Indian chartered accountant turned standup comedian. So far, so commonplace. However, in my inbox is notification of a comment, reading as follows;
"For your peace of mind, Gordons Knight www.gkcadvice.co.uk offer a 100% Guarantee on our chartered accountant london services in the UK."
Now, I don't know the firm myself. However, their action in spamming my blog gives an impression that they are a bunch of opportunists, rather keener to attract clients than to worry about ethics. That might seem unfair, but it annoys me. They clearly don't know me too well either, as the chances of an HMRC official needing an accountant are, I would suggest, fairly small.
So, to those 'nice' people at Gordons Knight, might I offer a piece of advice? Spamming people is annoying, regardless of how well meaning you might be. Indeed, it gives the impression that you might not be that well meaning, something that I look unkindly upon.
Luckily, they're in South London, so I'm less likely to encounter them, but if you're looking for an accountancy firm in South London, don't ask me for a testimonial...
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Saturday, January 07, 2012
We had been part of a shopping exhibition to Phoenix Mills, a rather chi-chi mall in Lower Parel, and the existence of comedy was noted. As, to my knowledge, stand-up comedy is not a traditional Indian artform, and having noted that one of the comedians was a local ex-chartered accountant, when the idea of a night out was mooted, we thought, why not?
So, on Thursday evening, we set off from our hotel, an edifice so vast that you can presumably see it from space, and so over the top that Graham Norton would claim it to be tasteless - just what purpose does the young lady wishing us a good morning actually serve? - in an air-conditioned taxi to the mall, where we were joined by Dylan and Arlene.
And yes, it's that 'Comedy Store', transplanted to South Mumbai for the benefit of a young, almost painfully hip audience. With a Geordie compere, who rapidly alighted upon a young man isolated on the front row, and kept coming back to him with some quite concerted advice on how to make friends, and made a series of suggestive comments about the sexuality of the guys further down the row.
I was intrigued, because homosexual acts are still punishable by imprisonment here, and somewhat surprised by the reception he was getting - uproarious laughter.
He was, it must be said, very funny in a 'thank God he hasn't seen me' sort of a way, and he had evidently made a real effort to research a bit of Mumbai culture first, with gags about biscuit adverts and Amitabh Bachchan (the Big B, as he is known).
Now I know that Will Howells has taken up stand-up and, whilst I haven't seen his act yet (so, when are you playing the Regal, Stowmarket, Will?), I sense that Karun Rao has given me a hint of what I might expect, as he delivered a set of jokes about being a chartered accountant and about how difficult it is to get laid when you are one. Geek humour at its very best.
Our last act was a black comedian from Greenford, near Southall, called Nathan Caton. As a West Indian kid at a mostly Indian school, he'd learned a pretty impressive number of Hindi swear words, which he tested on a fairly receptive audience. I have to say that I was least impressed by him, as he seemed to think that doing a bunch of gags about his mother would be enough.
The beer flowed, and the sushi was good too, and all in all, it was a really pleasant evening. But somehow, I can't see me getting into the Comedy Store in London for less than a fiver...