The dull evil of officialdom

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MB Enthusiast
Nov 24, 2003
S211 E320Cdi Avantgarde Estate & Toyota Land Cruiser
At home today sitting in front of my air conditioning unit (have to fight with the dogs for space) catching up on paperwork including trying to get HM Revenue & Customs to respond to my five phone calls and four letters letters pointing out that they still owe me a tidy sum from 2003/4.

Just so happens that yesterday an email was doing the rounds on how officialdom has cursed mankind since the dawn of civilised society. Some excellent examples but this is the best and I may enclose a copy with my next letter to HMRC. May do no good but makes me feel better:


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as the the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain.

This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,

August 1812,

Marvellous! I've just shared it with my team -as we try and set up a Government Programme office:rolleyes: :D we're champion at all that stuff!
Nothing changes......Juvenal writes similarly..!!!

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