Monday, 6 June 2011

Drowning In Red Tape

Have you ever had a conversation like this?

Plastic Mancunian: I’d like to organise a five-a-side football match.

Pillock: You need to fill in form A in black ink with writing less than half a centimetre high then go to Mr Clang to get it authorised.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Yes – after you have returned form A and then filled in form B with the names, ages, marital statuses, genders and medical histories of all players and their spouses. You need to fill in form B in red ink and are restricted to using capital letters less than a quarter of a centimetre high. You need to take it to Mr Bung along with proof that none of your players are over six feet tall.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Once you have all taken an induction course, lasting two hours about the dangers of playing football. After that, each player needs to fill in form C stating categorically that should he be injured then it is his sole responsibility. Form C should be sent to Mr Splodge. Oh – and it should be filled in with green ink.

Plastic Mancunian: Then can we play football?

Pillock: Mr Clang has a backlog of three months and Mr Bung is currently running six months late. Also there is a waiting list for the induction of two years. So you can probably play in 2013 – maybe. That will cost £3 per person per form please – payable in advance.

Plastic Mancunian: WHAT??? How much? Just to play football? Why so many bloody forms? We’re adults! Are you insane?

Pillock: Sir, you clearly don’t take our procedures seriously – nor Health and Safety for that matter. It seems that you need to fill in form X having undergone an intensive training course on the dangers of everyday living. The only course available is in London in March next year and it will cost you £300. I can start off the process now if you like – fill in forms D, G and Q – all forty two pages – and I’ll pass it Mr Corkage for processing. We should get to the top of Mr Corkage’s in tray by Monday …

Plastic Mancunian: Monday?

Pillock: Monday 6th August 2012.

Plastic Mancunian: Have you got a cricket bat handy?

Pillock: Why?

Plastic Mancunian: I want to demonstrate to you how to by-pass all of this red tape with the aid of a cricket bat. Have you got a good doctor?

Pillock: You need to fill in form Z first – in blue ink. Why are you punching me?

I am drowning in a sea of red tape from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep again. Or at least it seems that way. It’s bad enough having to follow procedures at work but when I need to do anything worthwhile outside work, I am suddenly confronted by an avalanche of red tape.

You can’t do anything without having to fill in form after pointless form.

It is impossible to do anything even vaguely challenging without filling in health and safety forms in triplicate and in blood.

“Can I fart on this rollercoaster?”

“Only if you fill in a form absolving the company of any fallout from expelling your noxious gases should you choose to let one rip. We can’t be held responsible for any BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!”

I would like to know who keeps all of the stupid forms we have to fill in. And more importantly I would love to know who bloody well reads them.

No wonder it takes so long to do anything these days. No wonder everything is late. Worse, there are so many new laws, health and safety initiatives, and green laws, international laws that we are all being pushed to the limit of our patience.

It is not helping – it is hindering us all.

Here are some offenders who make my blood boil:

Health and Safety

Health and Safety is the cream of the crop in terms of pointless bureaucracy. We live in a world where people can be sued for the most trivial things. You’ve all seen the adverts:

“Had an accident that wasn’t your fault? We will sue the arse off whoever did it and give you loads of cash (while keeping a load for ourselves)”

Consequently, we now live in a Health and Safety nightmare where it is impossible to walk down the street without risking death – or so they would have us believe. I can see the day when I have a man waiting outside my house asking me to fill in a form before “risking my life” going to work.

The Environment

My carbon footprint increases dramatically if I have a particularly hot curry but that’s another story.

Everybody has to jump through hoops to prove that everything they do is friendly to the environment. My bank now urges me to go online to view my statement. Why? Because if I demand a paper statement then I am a completely treacherous arse who is contributing to global warming and killing wildlife with every statement that arrives through my letterbox.

And what is the by-product of this? The bank saves itself money while making me feel like I am killing innocent animals and turning the world into a toilet for future generations. That money gets handed over to fat cats who drive cars with a carbon footprint so big that they can be seen from outer space.

The end result is that I have to go online to see my current balance and half of the time the server is down because of demand or there are hackers waiting to intercept my keystrokes to gain access to the small amount of money I have.

And what happens if I forget my details or I can’t log in because I can’t remember the name of my first pet? I have to ring up the bank whereupon I am transferred to a call centre in India and have to spend two hours trying to convince them who I am before being cut off and denied access to my own money.

At this point I then have to fill in approximately two hundred forms to reopen my bank account.

Stupid Regulations

European Union regulations are ridiculous. I have seen many examples of total stupidity when it comes to the EU. There are some preposterous regulations like stating that bananas have to be shaped like cucumbers otherwise the EU won’t agree to import them.

This means that there are an army of men who have to inspect every crate of bananas to ensure that each one conforms to the high standard demanded by faceless, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who get paid wads of cash to spew out other ludicrous laws about the size of fruit and vegetables permissible in Europe.

“This banana is unacceptable.”

“Why? It’s shaped like a banana and it looks like a banana; it’s yellow and it’s curved.”

“It is should be straight and it is 2 cm too long. Throw it onto the banana mountain. Next banana please.”

“But there are 4000 crates of them.”

“I don’t care – we must check every last one of them."

Does this post conform to standards?

I worry about my posts and whether or not I have to fill in forms to ensure that they conform to regulations, rules and red tape.

Rest assured, dear reader, that I have personally performed stringent tests on this post to ensure that it is safe for you to read:

(1) It passes all Health and Safety standards demanded by the European Union although I have to issue a warning that it contains a modicum of humour. If you laugh at this post then I cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may result from any chuckling you may partake in as a result of reading it.

(2) Americans should not read this post because I haven’t had time to submit it to the department of silliness across the pond. It got past the equivalent UK department but I believe it only did so because a large shipment of drawing pins arrived at the same time and had to be sorted according to colour.

(3) This is an environmentally friendly post. Its carbon footprint is negligible although you, dear reader, are being an environmental anarchist by reading the post. You have had to switch on your computer and waste electricity. How could you? You should be ashamed.

(4) There are naughty words in this post. I have used the words “arse”, “bloody” and “fart”. I have warned you therefore if you stumble across them you cannot sue me if easily offended.

Oh bugger! I forgot the EU rules on post length ...


Elephant's Child said...

Thanks for this. Snicker. Too true. And the doctor who rang me to say that the smaller portion was in intensive care said his name was Josh Pillock. Really, not joshing, he did.

River said...

I haven't filled out any forms in years and pretty much ignore most rules and I'm doing just fine. With or without green ink and miniature capitals.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Really? Josh Pillock? That's a cracking name.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I try to ignore rules but sometimes I simply can't avoid them.

One day I shall fill in a form in a very silly way just for the hell of it.

I am tempted to try to invent a new person and see how long it takes the bureaucrats to notice that he doesn't exist.




Anonymous said...

Try to do processing in the Philippines....if you pay them right, the process can finish up in a speed of lightning. I don't think "bloody" is an offensive's like "wicked" and it's such a cool word.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

"Bloody" is a very English word - and not really offensive to anybody.

I wonder whether Americans say it ...




Nonoy said...

I came upon your blog from I find your articles very interesting and unique. Looking forward for your future posts. Cheers! :-)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Nonoy,

Welcome and thank you for your kind words.