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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Beware the curse of -ing

Yesterday I walked past (as I often do ) the splendid offices of Ofsted here in Bristol and scowled (as I always do) at the line outside which reads with boastful falsehood: "Raising standards, improving lives."

Ofsted is a quango, which stands for quasi governmental organisation, or as we would call it, a gigantic wank at the expense (entirely unnecessary and far too great) of the tax payer. Quangos are one of the things the liar Cameron said he would sweep away and hasn't - one more reason why the country is in shit.

On the 7th July 2009 a Guardian writer revealed that there were 1162 of these deformed creations in this country which cost us £64 billion, or £2550 per household. Cameron, I read, has actually created 17 more. But why bother about such petty sums when we're busy sending billions in aid to fill the boots of criminal politicians all over the globe?

When I was younger they used to say these parasitical organisations were there to provide Jobs for the Boys. Earlier they were called sinecures. And back in the 17th and 18th century when they were a little more open about these things, they made no bones about it. It was an accepted way of rewarding your supporters or keeping your enemies quiet. Rather in the same way that Gordon Brown created lots of new public service non-jobs. There is a lot about it in Pepys Diary, which I am re-reading.

The great thing about the sinecure was that it required you to do nothing, so you couldn't cause any trouble. But Ofsted is supposed to be helping education. I cannot entirely ignore the fact that every year educational standards, far from being raised, are going down; nor that as a result lives are worsened, as people who have not been properly educated cannot count or read and write, which makes it much harder to get jobs. This in turn is making and will continue to make this country less and less competitive until eventually we sink into the North Sea, a nation of obese, tattooed, drunken, illiterate, mindless slobs.

In the same way The Financial Services Authority has done nothing much to improve (invariably too late) and a great deal to worsen the way financial services are sold. One could go on, but it's too depressing.

My mind is beginning to fashion new golden rule: that wherever you see a statement that starts with a word ending in -ing, you can be sure what will follow is complete tosh, with no meaning to anyone except the fools who drafted it.

For example, builders are putting up signs that say "Improving the image of the construction industry" which compels the reaction, "Why should I care about your image, you buffoons? If you want to improve it, stop ripping people off and get belts to keep your workers' trousers up and cover up their hairy arses."

I was going to write about the dreaded plague of !!! which I see on so much bad copy. With frightening rapidity they spread all over the page and eventually you die a miserable death caused by of lack of response. But enough grumps for today.

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