Ciro De Siena on red tape and big, big scissors

I really hate bureaucracy. You know; red tape, committees, middle-management, task teams, delegates, executives, boards, chairman of boards, secretaries, PAs, PAs who have PAs and everything else in between. In my mind, they’re all lumped into the category of “Things that are silly and mostly useless”. Let me explain. In what must be human society’s shiniest example of irony, bureaucracy was conceived to get things done. Whether it was actually conceived or rather evolved out of necessity is irrelevant, as it exists and it continues to make life difficult on a daily basis. Take committees for example. If you look up ‘committee’ in the World Dictionary of Common Sense you’ll find the definition: “(noun), an entity which takes 3 times as long and is 3 times as useless at doing what one person could have done anyway.” Mostly, and by mostly I mean almost always, the structures within which we have to work bugger things up. It’s tough to put your finger on what it is that causes this, but as they say, nothing ventured – nothing gained, so I’m going to have a stab at it. 

I think the crucial bugger-up element that we’re dealing with here is power. The effect of power is multifold. Once you have it, it is a really good feeling, and so you wield it like a great big sword, chopping in half everyone who gets in your way. That’s if you’re at the top of the pile though. If you’re at the bottom, then power has a slightly different effect. It makes you want it. Like an Avalon Café soft-server on a 40 degree day, the lure of power will undoubtedly effect your decision-making until that seminal moment when you hand over R3,50 to the short Greek lady.  Okay so my metaphor might need a bit of work but I think I’ve conveyed the idea. The allure of attaining some sort of power is what turns people from well-intentioned folk into red-tape producing loonies. I suppose what’s really spurring me on here is the thought of a utopia, where if you want something done you simply get it done. No committees, no executive decisions, no PA’s who lost the email. Just things getting done. Simple. But that aspect is all just child’s play really. The ugly side of bureaucracy rears its head when it tries to control things around it. This newspaper has, over the last fortnight, been threatened, asked not to run stories, threatened again and most frustratingly lied to by the red-tape manufacturers that we’re associated with.  Ladies and gentlemen of the house, may I have your attention please. We know what we’re doing, and why we do it. And we will not be intimidated. No matter how many sticks you shake from your corridors of power. Ah, that’s more like it. Getting things done. You see how easy that was? And I didn’t even have to form a committee…

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