George Osborne had made a promise that this Christmas HMT would buy its official Christmas tree from B&Q (estimated price £40), instead of the normal one that costs them £875.
Why does the "normal" tree cost HMT (ie us, the taxpayers) so much?
Well loyal readers our "beloved" ex PM and his administration of cronies managed to sign themselves up with a company (Exchequer Partnerships, a PFI supplier), who apparently live on the planet Zog and are of the view that trees cost £875.
Anyhoo, all was going according to plan (in George's mind) until the Treasury's Permanent Secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, wrote him a memo informing him that he could not buy a £40 tree.
It would be a breach of contract, the company would not water it, they probably wouldn't lend a ladder to help decorate it and most likely there would be health and safety issues regarding the decoration of said tree.
Can you see the underlying message here?
Yes, that's right, it's:
"We have no intention of making any changes in the way that this department operates, go fark yourself!".
Now those of us who live in the real world know perfectly well that a tree can be bought for £40, and watered for two weeks or so (even if it isn't, it's only meant to be there for a couple of weeks) etc. However, the brain dead members of our civil service (who are paid remarkably well) cannot and will not see it that way.
The very sad conclusion to be drawn from this instructive Christmas tale is that the government (even if it is sincere) hasn't got a hope in hell of cutting costs in the areas where they can be cut, without affecting front line services; because the people who administer the cuts will do all in their power to block them, and pass them onto front line services.
In short, the civil service needs to be shut down and built up from scratch again.
Don't forget that at the height of our Empire -"E is for Empire, on which the sun never sets!" - (when we ran approximately 25% of the world) we were able to do it with a civil service that was barely 30% of the bloated, pension inflated monstrosity that we have now.
BTW, it seems that the PFI supplier was so humiliated by the publicity concerning this that they eventually "gifted" a tree for £30. They wouldn't lend a ladder though, and the permanent secretary had to stand on a chair to put a star on the top.
Visit The Orifice of Government Commerce and buy a collector's item.
Visit The Joy of Lard and indulge your lard fantasies.
Show your contempt for Nanny by buying a T shirt or thong from Nanny's Store.
Visit Oh So Swedish Swedish arts and handicrafts