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'The way I see it...' with Ellis Butcher

IN THE world of public service, praise is rare and the kicks are many.

So by way of compensation, an annual awards service is held every year for these much-maligned mortals, staged at no less than the Marriot Hotel in London.

The loftiest of these awards - Outstanding Public Servant of the Year - went to none other than a Tax Payment and Filing Initiative Co-ordinator from Essex.

Far be it from me to start the slow hand-clap, but what on earth is one of them when it's at home?

This trend for silly job titles is an epidemic. I once overheard a teenager snigger he was a Produce Replenishment Supervisor - that's shelf stacker to us here on Planet Earth.

Will the day come when the person who does the dishes becomes Director of Hygiene and whoever answers the phone is a Voice Data Distributor?

On a similar theme, our respective councils and Government agencies don't endear themselves to the public with their apparent reluctance to speak plainly. Only the other week, the press bench at Cumbria County's Council Local Committee for South Lakeland shifted irritably in its seats as debate turned to a certain service having to "implement its exit strategy" unless particular funds were forthcoming.

Further investigation found that "exit strategy" means steps towards closure or to leave.

Which was precisely what I was tempted to do.

All this brought to mind a document which has weighed heavily on my desk.

It's a council-wide draft scheme for dealing with waste.

Its title? Talking Rubbish The Way Forward A 25-year-plan.

No prizes to anyone who says some councils have been doing that for the last 25 years anyway. It too concerns a few tongue-twisters certain to alienate the public.

These include references to "promoting waste hierarchy" and the "proximity principle."

The proximity principle is explained as "the concept that waste should be disposed of (or otherwise managed) as near as possible to a place of production."

So basically, if you live near a tip it would be tickety boo if you took your rubbish there.

Not an idea of world-changing proportions, it has to be said. There was a temptation to chuck it in the bin, but I suppose that defeats the idea.

Perhaps I should implement my Exit Strategy and invoke the Proximity Principle.

BEWARE SIDE EFFECTS

NOW inner ear infections are nasty things as a colleague recently found out, but perhaps not quite as severe as some of the potential side effects of the tablets prescribed.

By popping the odd pill, she faced the risk of developing an urge to move about constantly, shaking or tremors and an inability to control certain muscles in the tongue, mouth, arms and legs.

It went on, patients may also experience high temperature, sweating, pale complexion, muscle stiffness, altered levels of alertness, yellow tinge to the skin or eyes, heart palpitations, fever, fainting or dizziness standing or sitting up, unexpected sore throats, infections, breathing problems, hormonal imbalance, sensitivity to sunlight and impotence in men!

Not so much side-effects, as a Government Health warning.

Feeling considerably queasier at the prospect, there was another warning: "Never give your medicine to other people." Do worst enemies count?

PUZZLER

A friend of mine told me recently that he had an IQ of 160, but he's not convinced he's added it up correctly

l Dennis Aris is away.



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