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Posted by: John Brace | 1st September 2014

In Ankh-Morpork, Lord Devices discusses the future of Lyndale, leaks, consultation and golf with his minions

In Ankh-Morpork, Lord Devices discusses the future of Lyndale, leaks, consultation and golf with a minion

                                               

Charles Dance as Lord Vetinari in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal

Charles Dance as Lord Vetinari in Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal

The following is a work of satire.

Deep in the heart of Ankh-Morpok, Lord Devices (who had become Lord a few months after the removal of Lord Fooks a few years before) was meeting with his employees.

“I’m afraid I have bad news your Lordship, the Guild of Lyndale Workers is not happy with your plans to put them out of work and there is outright rebellion among the people against you.”

Lord Devices frowned. He wasn’t used to his employees openly challenging him like this, but had been warned by his advisers in the past to be nice as it was exceedingly expensive not to, even though there were some days they would try the patience of a saint. His short reply was “but we consulted them first didn’t we?”

The minion, looking rather worried that his name would be added to the list of five hundred employees that were getting the chop thought very carefully about how to reply to such a question. “Yes we did, it was a marvellous consultation! We asked people’s opinions far and wide and received nearly a hundred replies.”

Lord Devices looked puzzled, “and we told them all we would be reading the consultation responses too before reaching a decision?”

The minion replied, “Oh yes, we did, albeit after someone gave them the impression we’d made our minds up already.”

Lord Devices frowned, “I thought it was up to me to decide!” starting to look decidedly cross and rather grumpy.

After first retreating a suitable distance the minion said, “Well, unfortunately a rather junior minion gave the public the impression you would just be rubber stamping our previous recommendations to close the school as per your previous decisions in this matter.”

Lord Devices’ voice got louder, “What? Who dared to do this? Who dared to challenge my authority to decide things?”

Careful consideration of what to say next prompted the following response, “Well as you know your Lord, nobody is ever personally accountable here and no names are ever given to the public, but if you wish we will investigate whether we should take disciplinary proceedings against this very junior employee. If anyone asks, we then have a convenient scapegoat.”

There was a pregnant pause followed by “None of your loyal minions would ever do such a thing.” said with a smile as the last sentence was said in an obvious attempt to curry favour in a decidedly difficult situation.

Lord Devices said, “Very well and is there anything else about this Lyndale matter I should know about?”

Thinking on his feet, the minion said, “Well as per ‘instructions’ we argued that the over ten thousand signatures on the petition didn’t comply with our policies and therefore that only a few hundred should be accepted. This led to us being referred to as ‘childish’ in the press by one of the parents.”

Lord Devices said, “Don’t worry about that, only half the city receives that newspaper and many of the people that do, can’t read thanks to our excellent education system. Is there anything else?”

The minion said, “Well, there have been leaks…”

Lord Devices starting to look furious replied, “Leaks! Who’s been leaking stuff?!” as his blood pressure rose to unsafe levels “Really, I thought we’d clamped down on leaks!!! Didn’t we threaten that blogger recently for printing leaks?”

The minion replied, “Well yes we did, but sadly we can’t keep a lid on the whole golf thing now.

The blogger in question seems to know some aspects of the law better than we do. He even took one of those Lib Dems politicians to court and won.”

Lord Devices started beaming at the mention of one of his enemies having to answer to a judge in a courtroom and losing, “You still haven’t mentioned what was leaked. What was it?”

Realising he shouldn’t lie or prevaricate the answer was, “Well there were hundreds and hundreds of documents. In fact so much our press department would go into meltdown and start asking for time off if the public started knowing about them all. One of them relating to Lyndale was that we were paying another school far more per a child than Lyndale which we deliberately failed to mention in our report to you. It’s a school that isn’t earmarked for closure, but is a special school. It makes our arguments about Lyndale being too expensive look a little hollow now.

The blogger also has a year’s worth of legal invoices containing many, many secrets we’d prefer to keep hidden and some very embarrassing invoices relating to an IT contractor.”

Lord Devices frowned and his voice grew a little louder, “and why did nobody try to stop him?”

The minion replied, “We did, we redacted and redacted and redacted! In fact we even we did it so much we had to order more black marker pens (our supplier is now offering us a bulk discount)! The trouble is he’s clever and figures out what has been blacked out. We assume he must be getting some sort of outside help but so far our spies have yet to report back on this.”

Lord Devices said, “So what you’re saying is if the public knew about these things, if the public knew how much we were spending on things we wish to keep a lid on, it would be harder to justify shutting Lyndale?”

The answer given was “Yes, but there is another matter too.”

Lord Devices said, “I hope this is good news.”

The minion said, “Well, we tried to distract the blogger with a report about Fernbank Farm.”

Lord Devices said, “Did this cunning ploy work?”

The reply was “Well he did start writing about Fernbank Farm instead but he’s branched out into satire and wrote about it as a Wild West tale and now people are laughing at us.”

Lord Devices was not amused. “So what you’re basically saying is this. The press have received a large amount of highly sensitive and embarrassing information (including the consultation responses).

Not only are people starting to laugh at us, but employees have started to act like politicians in outright insubordination at my elected authority!

You do realise that now I’m going to get the blame for what’s gone on now? There’s no way my merry band of politicians are going to agree to take the blame for all of this!! It isn’t our fault our instructions were carried out incompetently! We have to face the public in elections next year, you don’t! The Greens won in my ward this year, even my seat isn’t safe any more!”

The minion replied, “Well as usual we have a plan B which we’ve already started on. For the sake of our careers, we’re leaving this now up to you. Politicians come and go, but officers don’t.”

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Responses

  1. Well John you must have taken comments in my previous reply on the 108 organisations to heart about making my blood boil & now with this article & the wild west one you have cheered me up no end.
    I don’t know what you are smoking possibly an “E” cigarette which you inhaling & breathing out satire but it seems to bring out the very best in you.
    Without naming names we all know who you are talking about in the clown hall & I can imagine there is steam coming out of a certain persons ears wondering ” WHY ME”, what have done to deserve this exiting the £17K royal toilet, descending either by the £850k staircase or the £100k lift onto the£25k stair carpet out into his £50k BMW and looking at his P60 thinking to himself WBC are not paying me enough I need more than £135k to stay in this job .

    • I’m glad to have cheered you up, they do say laughter is the best medicine.

      I’m not smoking anything (even an e-cigarette). Senior officers are amply rewarded in salary terms to put up with the political aspects to their job (such as the likes of myself). As to whether councillors think they’re paid enough to have the mickey taken out of them by me, well that’s another question entirely!

      Such is life. The lift you’ve referred to I’ve used a few times already (as you may or may not know my wife has problems with stairs) and the other refurbished lift (the Town Hall now has two) is much easier to use now too.

      As to walking up and down the staircase, I don’t do that very often (not because there’s a lift but because most public meetings happen on the ground floor since Committee Room 4 on the first floor is no more).

      The other Mr B, is trying his best to fix things in a Council that had got dysfunctional (to put it mildly). The problem is though, if you spend your time as Chief Executive putting out fires, it leaves less time to be doing the other aspects to your job.

      If truth be told I think behind the scenes, he’s tried to turn things around. However he is somewhat hamstrung by having to operate in the culture he does where there are plenty of people still working there that don’t want their mistakes to come out into the public domain.

  2. Mr B your doing it now, Dysfunctional,Hamstrung, Misssssstakes


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