March 2009: Cost saving exercise

-Its all right for them bucks, so tis.

-Who?

-Them bucks that are up there in the Dollchamber. Fightin’ the Celtic Bear.

-Ah, doubtlessly you are referring to our elected representatives?

-Yes, that Blaney boy and that McHugh fellow. Did you see that thing in the paper last week about them?

– No, I’m afraid I was incommunicado last week. A spot of socialising in New Delhi for St. Patrick’s Day. You know yourself……

– Indeed I don’t. You should be ashamed of yourself. And you with a large wife and small family at home. I suppose you were under out there like a slumdog millionaire on the pretence of drummin’ up a bit of business for yourself?

– You were talking about our elected representatives.

– Hmm, yes. Yes I was. As I was saying, them are the boys that can cry the crocodile tears for Ireland.

– Whatever are you implying?

– Well, I read that they are not taking a pay rise this time around. Making a big deal of it they were. Sixty quid a week extra, I read. Three grand a year. I ask ye. An’ do you know what they were gettin’ the rise for?

– I’m afraid I haven’t the slightest inkling.

– For being there.

– I’m afraid you’ve lost me.

– Well. Apparently the two boyos have been servicing the country so well that they are due a rise. One of them has all of six years full service and the other has less than two. Only a wet week in the place really and this means that they are entitled to get three grand extra on top of their wages. A kind of bonus like. Like the bankers.

– Methinks that you are not comparing like with like.

– Lookit, they’re all the same. They wear striped suits and red ties, don’t they?

– I don’t recall …

– Well, anyway. My point is that they were all over the front page, telling us how they were helping the country off its knees. We have to save five billion, one of them announces, so me and the other boyo are saving six grand between us. Isn’t that great, sez he. Then he goes on and sobs that it’s easy to have a go at politicians. I ask you.

– What?

– Isn’t that what they’re there for? I mean, this boy thinks he’s linked to the public servants and that is the reason he gets these rises. I never saw him wheeling a trolley above in the hospital, did you? Or directing traffic at the end of the Convent Road. Come to think of it, I never saw anyone directing traffic there….

– Is there a point to all this?

– Well, my point is very simple. If these boys want to attach themselves to the public servants, there must be a good reason. Maybe it’s because they know what’s comin’ in the budget.

– And I suppose you are privy to those details too?

-Of course I am! Sure, every dog in the street knows what’s happening there.

– No doubt you’re going to enlighten me

– Well, between you and me, there’s going to be a few basic changes to the way things are done in the civil service. First of all, there’s the writing bits and bobs.

– I cannot wait to hear about it.

– Well, you know the way we inherited the English laws and all that? The lads in the Dollchamber have a great plan to do away with all those high-falutin’ English words.

– And what, pray, will they replace it with?

– Well, simple words like. Words an ordinary man would understand when he has to stand up in court. Take the one about murder. That’ll be; ‘Don’t kill nobody’. Plain and simple for the plain and simple man in the street. And; ’Don’t park where you block people in a hurry’. That class of thing.

– Hmm. The mind boggles.

– And there’s more. They’ll be asking all the civil servants to change their style of writing letters. From now on, they’ll have to ignore all grammar rules, full stops, commas and semi-colons; even our old friend the exclamation mark will be banned! They might even force them to run all the words into each other if the economy gets worse.

– I see. Pray tell me what is the purpose of this alteration in policy?

– It’s the cost of ink and the paper. Imagine what they’ll save over a month. Or even a year. Capital letters, of course, will be a thing of the past. Terrible waste of ink and paper, those things. Sure, it’ll be a great saving for the country. More than three grand a year, anyhow.

– Yes, indeed I’m sure it is.

– Indeed it is. Indeed it is. There’s another thing could be done. They could stop repeating themselves in the Dollchamber and then the recorders would save more ink and paper.

– I’m curious. How did you procure this vital information?

– Sure, it was easy. I just wrote a letter to one of them boyos and he wrote a letter to the relevant body and they wrote a letter back to him telling him the story and he wrote a letter to me telling me the story. And I’m doing my own bit for the country now.

-How do you figure that?

– Well, amn’t I just after telling you the whole shebang? I could have written you a letter about it instead, couldn’t I? There’s another few bob saved and not an inverted comma wasted. I suppose you’re not up to another one, are you?

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