Tuesday 19 June 2012

Cunctatious Claptrap

Once upon a time, I had a job where desks had to be cleared at the end of the week. No drawers, no hiding places; all in-trays to be emptied and processed, no question. It didn't take long for one bright spark (not me - dull as a dishwasher[sic] me) to come up with a cunning plan. Like all the best plans it was devilishly simple. You scooped the detritus from your desk into a large envelope, addressed it to yourself and sent it to the post room, where the drones, who never thought to question the destination, duly franked and despatched it.

The mail being what it is, said envelope often didn't return to sender until the following Wednesday, by which time it was inevitably too late to respond to some items. Disgraceful, I hear you say... outrageous. Ah, but stick with me. Anything that genuinely needed doing would usually trigger a follow-up call, the response to which would be an innocent declaration that you'd not received the original request. It was an eye-opener to discover just how many formerly "utmost urgent" requirements could nevertheless stand a fair bit of delay.

But here's the best bit of all. The vast majority of un-actioned items generated no response whatsoever. Nada. Zilch. Sweet F-A. In other words, an awful lot of what passed for 'business' was simply somebody else's way of wasting my time. Filling quotas, ticking boxes, yada-yada-yada. For me the sound of that particular penny dropping was deafening.

When I later learned that certain management gurus even preached about the principle of managing by delay - do the urgent, important stuff now; the stuff that must be done, else the world ends, and leave the rest. If it's important for 'them', let 'them' do the prodding. If they don't, it clearly wasn't that important. Subsequently I have met a great number of people whose grasp of the strategic importance of their job to the company is feeble to say the least.

Am I implying that a significant proportion of workers care not about what they do? That in their absence the organisation notices not one jot? Am I implying that despite the billions pumped into the Euro experiment, virtually nobody can really justify their tax-free salary or properly explain their job? Am I implying that some of the European leaders are fully aware of this and that management by procrastination is their game plan? Stifle debate, stall and obfuscate and hope that in the end it will all come good? Damn right I am.

One way or another people have to eat. In the case of Greece and Spain, followed by Italy and France it probably matters not whether they remain an integral part of the Euro confidence trick; they'll get fed. If it takes uprisings and civil wars, the very thought of which should signal abject failure of the one feeble justification for the whole project, the Eurozone apparatchiks will shrug, do nothing and call it a re-balancing or some such meaningless aphorism. They'll all still get paid, out of our money, for performing their important function of remaining motionless on their shiftless arses..

The European Union is a huge white elephant. Like the United Nations it has rarely achieved anything of worth. Its history has been one of endless rounds of discussions and its edicts have either been prohibitory (the disastrous CAP) or damagingly liberal (human rights, open borders). The EU is the political equivalent of one of those 'premium' bank accounts that takes your money in return for doing fuck-all while looking and sounding important. The Emperor has new clothes, or so they say.

A bunch of cunctators doing fuck-all

Which brings us, neatly, back to the title. We are not lead by dictators, instead we have replaced them with a bunch of Cunctators. And it really doesn't matter how you pronounce or mispronounce that word it still contains all the right letters to express just exactly what a bunch they are.

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