I have (and I apologise) bored you with moans about my divorce a couple of times, but one story about the changing attitudes in legal circles amused me no end.
I was asking my lawyer why it seems almost impossible to get really emphatic, no-nonsense advice. I found the constant request, “Can we have your instructions” without being too firm on what they should be, rather wearing.
If someone comes to me for my advice then they get it, hot and strong. That’s what I’m paid for. What if I just said, “Well, you could do this, or you could do that and this might happen or that might – what do you want to do?”
But apparently lawyers nowadays are so frightened of doing the wrong thing and getting the pants sued off them that they have nearly all turned into frightened pussy cats.
The difference was pointed up to me by a friend who was in practice for many years, but has now chucked it in. He told me about a choice letter sent by one solicitor to another in the good old days.
It read, in total: “In reply to yours of the 22nd, kindly fuck off. P.S. Rude letter follows.”
Good stuff. The world has gone downhill.
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Monday, 28 July 2008
I have (and I apologise) bored you with moans about my divorce a couple of times, but one story about the changing attitudes in legal circles amused me no end.
A driver is stuck in a traffic jam going into Central London. Nothing is moving north or south.
Suddenly a man knocks on his window. The driver rolls t idown his window and asks, 'What's happened, what's the hold up?'
“Terrorists have kidnapped Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. They’re asking for a £10 million ransom.
Otherwise, they are going to douse them with petrol and set them on fire. We are going from car to car taking up a collection.”
The driver asks, “On average, how much is everyone giving?”
“About 2 litres”.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 13:06
One of my readers who works at Seiko often fails to get his normal helping of perceptive social comment from me because the Mail Marshal there stops it dead.
Something about unacceptable language, apparently. Amazing.
So I thought I might for once, raise the tone of this emission (that’s not rude is it?) with wise words from The Economist.
They commented recently the U.S. economy is based on private profit and social debt. When the money is made all the capitalist pigs have their snouts in the trough. When it is lost, taxpayers have to bail them out.
What adds insult to injury is that the rogues responsible all waltz away with massive pay-offs.
This is true here too, only in the U.S. everything is bigger and better. They have trillions of debt where we have billions; their crooks walk away with millions, ours with hundreds of thousands.
Nevertheless, should the creep at Northern Rock have been allowed to walk away with a fortune when people lost their jobs and we bailed out the firm? And should that ex-adman be so richly rewarded for not sorting out the Royal Mail.
For that matter, should the useless head of Network Rail, a man called Coucher, have a year end pay of £1.2 million when the organisation has done such an appalling job?
Well the answer is, he met the targets set by the “Regulator”. What kind of regulator is that? The only possible answer can be a stupid, inept useless regulator. One who is blithely unaware of the concept of competence, let alone profit and loss. One who did not rise through merit but was appointed by politicians whose only skill is in trotting out tripe and getting freebies.
But then the whole show is run in a very odd way. Take the chairman, Sir Ian McAllister. At Christmas, when thousands of passengers endured day after day of misery, that little porker was enjoying an extra long Christmas break with his family at his £1.5million home saying he'd "only get in the way" if he went into work.
Amazingly, this smug, podgy twit gets £250,000 a year for a three-day week. He said his presence in the office was unnecessary. If so, why not get rid of him? He also said: "Sometimes you have to know when to stand back and just let the experts get on with it."
What did the experts get on with? Network Rail failed to finish £415 million of engineering works by December 30 as planned. And Ian was knighted for "services to transport" on the very day they got a record £14million fine for making passengers' lives a misery over New Year. How come Hitler never got a Nobel Peace Prize?
But you can always rely on one factor: Wee Gordie Broon, the mastermind behind the stupid public-private lash-up that is Network Rail, which has neither social nor private responsibility.
And today I noticed another brilliant decision.
This country is in serious financial trouble so we’re going to give £30 million to the Palestinian Government. I wonder how much will reach the poor, betrayed masses there. One thing is for sure: it will all come from the betrayed masses here.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:33
Friday, 25 July 2008
'The difference? Well Sir, the Barolo is ripe, rich and round, with lots of spicy, earth-scented black cherry and berry flavors, hinting deliciously at chocolate on the smooth finish, while The Blue Nun is more nylon underpants, skid-marks, ITV, thick crockery, hinting at being kicked all over the street by violent witless oafs for absolutely no reason.'
Caption - EJ Ruane, Dublin
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:59
Here is a quote from Rod Liddle, the leading bottle-thrower in The Spectator.
“A charity called Help for Heroes, which raises money for wounded British soldiers, asked Portsmouth City Council for a £500 donation towards a proposed ‘fun day’. The council declined the request, saying that to have given money ‘could cause offence to ethnic minority groups living in the community who may also have experience of injury/violence due to the war’. They’re my italics, by the way, not the council’s. It’s just that it made me laugh so much that wine shot out of my nose and my girlfriend thought I was suffering a seizure or an embolism and so I felt moved to endow it with emphasis and thus grandeur.”
If this were just an exceptional example of how far the governors are removed from the governed one might ascribe it to the peculiar horrors attendant upon living in Portsmouth. But it is not.
On page 9 of the London Metro, I read that a man was fined by the brainless sub-Gestapo who run Ceridigion Council for smoking in his own van. (By the way, I suspect that Ceridigion is what we used to call Cardigan).
On page 15 I see a gardener was told to hire a truck by the morons at Leeds City Council because a tiny branch was too big to go in his rubbish bin. I guess that was their weekly contribution to the environment. (Query: how many town hall fuckwits could you cram into a garbage truck?)
On the same page I learned that a former policewoman was arrested on race charges for telling noisy students to go home, because two of the little pricks were Asian and might have been offended. This is what they call in the U.S. "playing the race card".
Who will benefit from all this? Step forward a beaming David Cameron. I well remember that this sort of bureaucratic lunacy destroyed the Labour government in the 1950’s. People just got fed up with the “we know better than you” attitude always associated with Labour, old or new.
Can you imagine how much good it did Cameron to be photographed the other day after his bike was stolen in Notting Hill? So much so I wonder if the devious sod arranged it all.
But what a revealing contrast with fat Gordie whizzing round the world telling the Israelis and the Arabs how to arrange their affairs when he can’t even decide which side his dick should hang, let alone run anything. Shaking hands with Obama won't help, by the way, dear.
And how much more appealing a man who rides a bike looks if you've just seen the £725,000 bill we all got after the great Bliar did his gala farewell how-far-am-I-up-my-own-arse tour of the gullible parts of the world.
If only we could imagine Cameron won’t change when he gets into office. Highly unlikely. He’s a politician. But how could he be worse than this lot?
Maybe that was unwise. Mark Twain said that the chief purpose of each new administration is to make the last one look good. But then again, could anyone be worse than Bush?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:24
I finished six pieces of copy yesterday and I'm fed up with sectarian squabbles, so time for a laugh.My friend Andy Owen just sent me a joke about these two ladies, which I have seen before, but it still made me laugh.
It also reminded me of a most amusing man I once worked for in the swimming pool business, who always said on the matter of sex. “it’s cheaper to rent”.
Anyhow, the maths on the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce are as follows:
After 5 years of marriage, he paid her $49 million. Assuming he got sex every night during their 5 year relationship (which would NOT have happened) it ended up costing him $26,849 per time.
On the other hand, Elliot Spitzer's call girl, Kristen, an absolute stunner with a body like no other as you can see at the top, charges $4,000 an hour. For anything!
Had Paul McCartney 'employed' Kristen for 5 years, he would've paid $7.3 million for an hour of sex every night for 5 years (a saving of $41.7 million).
Value-added benefits are: a 22 year old hot babe, no begging, no coaxing, never a headache, plays all requests, ability to put BOTH legs around you (!!!), no bitching and complaining or 'to do' lists. Best of all, she leaves when you're done, and comes back when you ask her. All at 1/7th the cost, with no legal fees.
Sometimes renting really does make more sense...
By the way, the man who advised me to that effect was (and still is, in his '80's) a charming, very funny New Yorker who got away with costing the Mafia a lot of money. I learned a lot from him.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:23
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
I see that my last two posts have started the internet version of a pub brawl. And I think I should say that the Mike in question is not my son-in-law, in case anyone thinks so.
I have some sympathy with both points of view - and that is what I am getting at. The best characteristics of the English have generally included some sort of tolerance - which should certainly extend as far as tolerating people who don't like jokes about religion, or have no sense of humour at all.
In fact one of the classic humorous books in the English language is "Diary of a Nobody" - all about a man with no sense of humour. And just to make the point that we all differ in our view of what's funny, I never found it funny at all. Same thing with "The Office" - it is impossible to parody the jargon-laden crap that goes on in offices.
The real problem to me is that if people are not integrated into society - which is a baleful consequence of the multicultural approach - this causes lasting and dangerous schisms.
The first awful case of this, which we live with today, took place when the British government invited West Indians to come and work on the buses and railways after the war who, expecting a welcome, were greeted by racism. Pretty much the same thing happened when many came from Pakistan and Bangladesh to work in the textile industry.
As a nation we were not tolerant; we were vile. It is the tragedy of my lifetime and our country.
The funny thing is, I predicted what would happen when I was twelve, together with what seemed to me a good solution. That was when I was first told in my prep school about racism. I vividly recall saying that this would be the worst thing that could happen to Britain and then adding "the solution is for all the black people and the white people to make love and have children."
Well, I have done my best in that respect, and ended up helping to bring up (rather ineptly, I'm afraid) a lot of mixed race children, but it doesn't seem to have helped enough. My epitaph: "could have done better if he had tried". But I certainly enjoyed trying.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:27
Saturday, 19 July 2008
My son-in-law Mike despite pretending to run a hotel outside Manchester only has one real interest in life: making dreadful jokes.
He has not let me down: I got a message yesterday morning congratulating me on my Sunni disposition.
Nice one, Mike; though my favourite current religious jest, is about the difference between God and the well known tax dodger Bono. The punch-line is “God doesn’t walk down O’Connell Street wearing dark glasses and thinking he’s Bono”.
Meanwhile, Peter Hobday has suggested that poor English stands in the way of making good jokes. I don't agree. Two of the best joke tellers I know are from Bombay and Vienna. Come to think of it, another who makes me laugh regularly is from Ljubljana; and last month in Warsaw a Polish presenter managed to make me laugh even though I didn't understand a word he said.
Anyhow, by coincidence, The Spectator ran a piece last week by two Muslims attacking the suggestion by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Little Witless in the Myre, that the institutionalisation of unspecified aspects of sharia law is ‘unavoidable’.
Which bits he means, I don't know. Stoning women (but not men) accused of adultery to death on the say so of men? Now that stabbing seems so popular here, maybe that would go down well as a spectator sport in some quarters.
Anyhow, as I am in the toils of an insane divorce which so far has cost an alarming amount of money – and will certainly mean my soon-to-be-ex-wife gets about £300,000 less than she would have if she hadn’t wasted so much time I deeply appreciate what a mess the law is in.
Four different judges could even agree on how I had to swear a particular document, and the court even forgot to issue my decree nisi. But I didn’t realize the top law man is a such a complete twat. Maybe he reflects the ineptitude of the entire system. Mind you, when you have a government that comes up with new, generally unworkable laws every twenty minutes, then withdraws them it's probably hard to say sane.
What is interesting about the Spectator article is that survey evidence shows that Muslims themselves dislike the idea of sharia being introduced here. It is only dumbos in the British Establishment, so committed to multiculturalism and as usual going to the wrong people (bogus, self appointed Muslim “representatives”) to get bad advice.
The article reveals that when his followers were persecuted in Mecca and fled to Christian Ethiopia Mohammed said they must accept the laws and customs of their new homes, and not try to change them in an Islamic direction.
And apparently Ayatolla Sistani of Iraq, one of the few voices of reason in that sad country is also a leading sharia authority. He says if you have agreed to accept the laws of a country, you must either do so or leave.
I like that approach a lot more than that taken by our government and the European legislators. This seems to be if you flout the laws of our country and even encourage murder, don’t worry, we’ll pay to keep you here as long as you please just in case the people where you came from find you as detestable as we do.
Meanwhile, people who really deserve asylum and help, poor black women with sick children for instance, who have no braying lobby of the liberal brainless to defend them are shipped back to misery and in the case of the children, death.
All this is another obscene example of the way those with the biggest mouths in any community not only have the least sense; they are utterly out of touch with the rest of us. More to the point, they always end up by landing us in the shit.
In this case the extremists have made life difficult for the moderates; and the government has, rather than ameliorate the problem, sown discord between communities and, as usual, managed to make life worse for all of us.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:06
My friend Rezbi got a bit excited about the last post, and my response is this.
I like the joke.
I also like Irish jokes, Jewish jokes, Polish jokes, English jokes, Scottish jokes (except for a few in Parliament), Australian jokes - in fact all jokes, not to mention ones about the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is a Welsh joke, and jokes about priests and rabbis.
Catholics and Jews love jokes about priests and rabbis, but do Muslims like jokes about their religion? If not, they should learn to if they plan to hang around here, because in this country we love jokes. And I like it that way. I would like England to remain English, jokes and all.
Like Rezbi, I detest extremists, and they do indeed give you a bad name whatever community you belong to. For instance I think all members of the National Front or whatever it's called should be shipped to the South Pole.
But although I know that ordinary Muslims detest extremism (because, guess what, I have Muslim friends) the voices of those who think this have been relatively quiet.
But I do not agree with his comment that the government or the authorities have encouraged anti-Muslim sentiment; for the most part they have done exactly the opposite. In any sane country the rabble-rousers who have been allowed to stay and be subsidised as they have here would have been thrown out.
But going back to the joke, those of any background who have had a sense of humour bypass operation may find the atmosphere better in a country where people are more serious. Germany springs to mind. They have had a few extremists there now and then, but you can't have everything.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:14
Friday, 18 July 2008
A friend sent me this, and I just couldn't resist it.
In deference to The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Royal Commission for Political Correctness, it was announced today that the local climate should no longer be referred to as 'English Weather,' but rather than offend a sizable portion of the population, it should be described as 'Muslim Weather.'
In other words, 'partly Sunni but mostly Shi'ite.'
For those of you not blessed with the holiness of the entirely ludicrous and irrelevant Archbishop of Canterbury, I should explain that he is a clerical buffoon who not long ago suggested that English law would have to start incorporating elements of Sharia law.
He himself, perhaps to signify a subtle shift in the direction of Islam, has a beard, though, like most things related to the Church of England, it is a feeble, lack-lustre affair.
He will never be fully accepted among the brave, full-blooded, 100% hairy, "let's get our women and cretins to blow themselves up for Allah" elements of the community so eagerly subsidised by the Commission for the Human Rights of Everyone Who Wants to Come Over Here and Kill Us but Daren't Go Back to Where They Came From Because Nobody There is Fooled for a Minute.
I might add that the large homosexual element amongst the clergy must have been a bit alarmed by His Disgrace the Archbishop's remark as we all know what Mohamed thought about buggery.
Mind you, we of the the West are not unique in our contradictions. All communities have them.
I recall learning many years ago that a popular Pathan (those are the Afghans we are helping, dear) poem begins, "There's a boy across the river with a bottom like a peach, but alas, I cannot swim."
Posted by Drayton Bird at 06:29
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
I don't know whether I've said this before, but when I used to bang out six marketing columns a month someone asked me how I managed it.
I said all I had to do was open any marketing publication anywhere in the world and it would take about two minutes to find something stupid which I could then write about to general amusement.
Actually the principle doesn't just apply to marketing, although I suspect the industry has far more than its fair share of posers, fuck-wits, pompous idiots and all round tossers, too many of whom, by the way, rise mysteriously to high office on the shit floats principle.
One field where idiocy flourishes to an extraordinary degree, and which is not restricted to the madcap world of marketing, is research. Yesterday morning I saw in the paper that the Health Protection Agency (one of the many bodies employed to waste taxpayers' money on fatuous "initiatives" of one kind or another) has done some research that discovered something perfectly obvious to anyone not terminally stupid.
It seems that "young people accounted for fully half of all sexually transmitted diseases", despite making up just one eighth of the population.
Well isn't that amazing? Who would have thought that young people screw around a lot more than older people? Could this explain why the only times I managed to get a couple of doses were over 35 years ago when I was jumping into bed with anything that said "yes"?
The only fact of interest here is that in those days we didn't have the benefit of the Health Protection Agency and we did have a better educational system, so we tended to think a little more for ourselves. Maybe that's why there was a lot less disease around.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 19:23
Monday, 14 July 2008
I don't know what gremlin has wormed its way into my computer, but for the last two months I have suddenly started getting invitations to download porn again.
For several years I had not received any - either the spam catchers had swept them out of my life together with all those invitations to try V**g** and extend the length of my feeble apparatus or the Great Pornographer in the Sky had decided I was just too damn old and worn out to be interested.
But now they're back with a vengeance.
The subject line that has amused and impressed me most gets straight to the point. "Drayton you are moron" it states bluntly.
There's no getting away from it. These people may not be subtle, but they are pretty damn perceptive.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:28
Sunday, 13 July 2008
I don’t know how many of you read the comments on these pieces, but what a surprise Apryl Parcher must have had when John Walters decided in his comment that she must be a man.
Mind you, that’s understandable; A.Parcher could be any sex. I am quite often written to as Mr/Ms/Mrs by people who can’t make up what sex Drayton is. However, Apryl is unquestionably female.
But the exchange between the two reminded me of Bertrand Russell’s observation: “What men seek is not knowledge, but certainty.”
In these discussions it always seems to be a matter of either/or, rather than “both” or “any combination that makes sense”. Either we should have a state-funded pensions system, or a private one, and there is no compromise.
Frankly, I agree thoroughly with H.L. Mencken’s feeling that the older he got the more he appreciated plain old-fashioned competence.
And in the matter of pensions funding – in this country anyhow - what we have seen is plain old-fashioned shiftiness by politicians.
The money that we paid and do pay to fund pensions has been taken and put to other purposes.
This is also true of the taxes we pay to fund better roads, which are used for whatever strikes the government’s fancy.
And a pretty odd fancy it is. The other day Gordon Brown, generous as ever with other people's money when the economy is in deep shit (thanks again, Gordon) decided to offer a few million in aid to Nigeria - perhaps the most corrupt nation on earth. You really do have to wonder whether the man is not clinically deranged.
More to the point, between the time we hand over the money and the time whatever is left goes into pensions, or roads, or Nigerian thieves' overseas bank accounts, a mighty swarm of locusts in public service has been paid - again by us - to manage the process. And again, the government here is pushing forward legislation to prevent local people determining what is built in their neighbourhoods. Who will decide? Bureaucrats we pay.
Who can tell whether private rapacity eats up more than public incompetence? But in this country I suspect I would rather trust people bent on profit than put faith in someone who thought it wise to sell off our Gold Reserves precisely when gold reached its lowest price. Another coup by Gordon “I know better then you what’s good for you” Brown.
I must say, though, going back to the comparison made by John Walters with ancient Rome, that what brought Rome to its knees had nothing to with pensions, and Rome - bearing in mind how many centuries her empire lasted – was surely a damn sight better managed than any state before or since.
What I seriously object to is that our masters today who determine these matters really don’t give a hoot, as their pensions are always inflation-proof. Good leaders share the sufferings of their troops. We have no good leaders.
Lastly, and nothing to do with all this, thank you, John W, for having a go, unasked, at putting my 51 helpful marketing ideas into book form.
What you did was stronger visually than something I had done in my office, and I think maybe I should publish.I was also pretty amazed at what they add up to; a small book! And I get some amazingly flattering comments from people.
As Harold Ross of The New Yorker used to lugubriously remark: "I am encouraged to go on". Come to think of it, I already have, as I think there are now 82.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:29
Friday, 11 July 2008
My friend Andy Owen is an excellent copywriter and speaker.
One reason he is good is that he gets excited - he cares.
Here's something he just sent me.
"A political consensus was reached by the EU Nations at the Laeken Summit
in 2001, that each member state would attempt to attain a basic pension of
40% of its average wage by 2007 and then work towards 60%.
The UK's basic pension is 17% of the national average wage. Staggeringly,
most European pensioners receive a basic pension of at least 60% of their
country's average wage.
The UK provides the worst basic pension by far.
Only Estonia (33%), Ireland (31%), Holland (30%) and the UK (17%) pay a
basic pension of under 40% of average wage.
In fact, taking the pension as a percentage of each country's average wage,
you will note that pensioners in Greece, Luxembourg, Spain and Italy receive
over 5 times our basic pension.
Those in Portugal, Malta, Hungary and France receive over 4 times as much
and those in Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Finland and Sweden receive
3 times as much.
Slovakia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania and Belgium receive over double. Whilst finally, Estonia Ireland and Holland have almost twice our basic pension.
If you ask me, it's a bloody disgrace...
Let's tell these buffoons in government what skinflints we feel they are.
They are quite simply laughing at us - the very people that have contributed all
their working lives. And they are doing it to such an extent, that we all get a
basic pension that is much less than people in poorer countries throughout Europe are getting.
Now you - if you are British - may ask why we are getting less.
The answer is twofold.
1. An incompetent government which has managed with surefooted skill to focus on all the wrong things at the expense of the right ones.
2. All European countries have aging populations and most of them are going to find it increasingly hard, if not impossible, to fund those pensions.
One of the few, the very,very few, things successive British governments did get right in the last 50 years was to set aside enough money to fund pensions. Or such was the case until the Great Bliar and Can't Count Brown, the Acclaimed (by the experts but nobody living in the real world) Financial Genius took over.
Now all that carefully set aside money - and hundreds of billions more has been pissed away on hiring nearly a million public service drones, foolish and tragic foreign entanglements, diversity training, failed attempts to improve hospitals, schools and other assorted bollocks.
Who says you can't get the worst of both worlds? Only someone who hasn't been in this country for the last four decades.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:51
Saturday, 5 July 2008
If you had to establish which professional groups cause most damage as a result of their bloated, unjustified, overweening, fatuous self-importance, politicians would only be matched by show-business people.
This occurred to me when I read in the papers that Gordon Brown and Bob Geldof are to tell the world's richest nations, the greedy G8, to stop reneging on their pledges to double aid to Africa by 2010.
There are three interesting points here.
The first is, why the hell should people from rich, relatively successful nations want to be lectured by the grotesquely incompetent and mendacious Brown? What gives him the right? He clearly couldn't run a brothel on a troop train.
The second is, why does making a couple of hit records qualify you as an expert on how to solve mankind's problems?
Bob Geldof is clearly a very nice man - certainly compared with Bono, who combines his world-saving lecturing with a deep dislike of paying tax like the rest of us, the bloody hypocrite. But - and here is my third and most important point - there is absolutely no proof that giving aid to the third world does any good except for the who steal it (cf Zimbabwe, Burma and God knows how many other places run by murderous kleptocrats) and a lot to suggest it encourages all the wrong attitudes.
The real and disgraceful problem is that the rich countries make it impossible for the poor ones to export their products by creating tariff barriers, which in turn force all of us to subsidise inefficient European and U.S. farmers.
Which brings us back to the European Union and its manifold stupidities. How pleased we should be that the Poles and Czechs look like turning down the phony constitution I was moaning about last week.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:05
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
I don't know how many of these wretched social things I've got embroiled with, but in a weak moment I must have signed up for something that calls itself Naymz - Empowering Reputable Professionals.
I feel deeply ashamed - and also more than a little irritated, because what they're actually doing is extracting money from weak-minded professionals by that old con of "someone has visited your profile" - but you won't know who it is till you pay us some money. But there are other benefits. For example, I can "enhance my online reputation and Naymz experience" at the same time.
On balance I would prefer to be disreputable and unempowered. And I don't give a tuppenny damn about my online reputation. I refuse to take people who talk such cliche-ridden tripe seriously.
Empowering is one of those puke-making words used by slimy corporate twats in meetings - the sort of people who are always cutting edge, proactive, state of the art and full of shit.
So I was glad to see in my London free paper that someone helpful has made a short list of other expressions that should be kicked into touch. The most odious is probably product evangelist for salesman, though a holistic cradle-to-grave approach is a good runner up.
How I hate the people who come up with this drivel. Perhaps you could cascade that down to your people.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 21:46