Bad Luck & Quangos


As Bombardier Clark, my old driver used to say as he handed me a burnt compo sausage sandwich dripping in fat, melted butter and ketchup with his oily finger impressions on the bread, "Well, Sir, if it weren't for bad luck we'd 'ave no luck at all." Thank you for that sage like philosophy Bombardier. He did though, nicely sum up the subdued and rather downcast mood around the office yesterday morning as it dawned on everyone that they wouldn't be jetting off to some faraway Caribbean island pausing only briefly to pick up a cheque for £56m at Lottery HQ. Such was the weight of expectation around the country that even my cab driver on Friday was on the phone to his brother discussing how they would spend the loot. Personally, I have no need to speculate on "what ifs," for my game plan has been set in stone for years:

1. Go immediately to toolbox, get hammer, smash alarm clock vigorously until completely beyond repair.

2. Go to Terminal 4 and embark on round the world trip for 12 months to decide what to do with the money.

3. On return, repeat trip for one year to confirm I'm doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, like every other occasion, I didn't beat the 1 in 76,275,360 odds to win and my money has gone off to a whole bunch of worthy causes and of course to some lucky Spanish waiter and a bloke in Cheltenham. That's just fine but up to a point. I would, in an ideal world, like a say in which good causes my hard earned £2 goes to. A tick in a simple six box matrix on the ticket would do; Sport, the arts, children, military charities, overseas aid, the Lost Donkeys of the South Downs.... you get the idea. Nothing technically challenging about it and it would enfranchise all of us to the common good. The only people who would obviously object are the many current questionable recipients of the cash, (who the hell actually watches athletics anyway), and the quango that runs the distribution. That brings me nicely to the bit where we put the boot in hard.

There are an unbelievable 1,162 quangos in the UK which cost us collectively £64bn annually. That's about £1,200 per household. You can see the whole depressing list here but what is truly sad is that list is two years old. Goodness only knows how many know all, busy body self important muppets are out there now, each justifying their own existence which they largely achieve by interfering in our lives. I looked and lost the will to live when I got to the British Potato Council FFS.

Obviously, quangos are critical to the security and well being of the country; that's why more people work for them than are in the Armed Services, wouldn't want too many of them would we?

 Slick Dave by the way has promised a bonfire of the quangos but typically with anything coming from the Tories these days, it's easier to find crowd pleasers and promises of new quangos rather than the ruthless cull we require. No doubt he'll establish a new quango to look at the old ones. I'm not sure what Bombardier Clark would make of it all but I can hazard a pretty good guess.