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Saturday, 26 February 2011

The logic of the carthorse - and more of the joys of BT

The Trades Union Congress has been a figure of fun since my childhood, when its stubborn stupidity inspired the great cartoonist Low to portray it as a carthorse.

It was a carthorse with a kick. In 1970 most of the respondents to a poll believed one union leader, Jack Jones, had more power than the Prime Minister. Compelling evidence suggests he was also a Russian spy. As you might expect, he was a great hero to the Bloated Toad Brown, whose wife's unintentionally hilarious memoirs suggest nothing so much as The Memoirs of a Nobody.

The current TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is keeping up Jones's good work.

He's so worried about the £29 billion of unpaid overtime people have done in the past year that Friday was named Work Your Proper Hours Day, or in more down-to-earth language I'm Fucking Off Home Day.

Among other unconsciously hilarious statements he claimed that the people who work the most unpaid hours are in the public sector. Pull the other one, Brendan. I'd love to see the dodgy research you got your figures from.

But this magnificent initiative reminded me of what happened when I rang a BT engineer last Tuesday.

True, BT is no longer a public service, but the ethos lingers on. Service remains alien to them, though no doubt the word is often uttered piously as they doze their way through meeting after pointless meeting at their various offices.

If you read this stuff you will know my last blog but one commented on a surreal conversation my beloved had with some BT nitwit who refused to tell his own engineer that nobody would be in when he called to install the long-delayed broadband here on the grounds of security.

The engineer left a plaintive message asking why nobody was there when he came. So I rang him on Tuesday to apologise and explain that he had been messed about not by me, but by his own crapulous colleague. The conversation was short. He said, "Why are you ringing me? This is on my time" - and cut me off. It has never occurred or been pointed out to to him that his time at leisure is funded by the time I pay for.

To the witless Mr. Barber and all who follow him, may I point out that this is a cruel, cruel world? If you don't want to do any overtime, plenty of others will . Some live in other parts of the world. Many risk their lives to come to Britain, quite rightly thinking that if people here can't be bothered to work, they will.

That is why most of the jobs vacancies here are filled by immigrants.

This is called the principle of supply and demand. What Mr. Barber is talking about is called idiocy.

The last time I was in Shanghai I was told that people there get a simple message from employers: "Work hard today, for if you do not there will be no work tomorrow."

I feel lucky to have work. In most places the idiots in charge would throw me out as too old to be any use

Nobody sane would employ me anyhow. The solution for most of my life has been to employ other people who are willing to put up with my eccentricities, but I do not think we should have to put up with those of Mr. Barber. Let him work the number of hours that suit him - which on the evidence seems to be none. No doubt he has a fat pension to look forward to.

On the matter of public servants: we now work nearly half the year to pay the taxes which pay them. This period is likely to lengthen because the current government is - despite all the hoo-ha - NOT reducing spending. It is only reducing the rate at which it increases.

That's neat. The country is going to be ruined. Cameron and his rich friends are just slowing the process down slightly.

It is all down to bad, bad management.

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