I had sat through a talk by John Dodds of BERR (the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) on Thursday night and realised how little common sense the politicians & civil servants, who churn out the policy that affects us and our businesses, appear to have. Quite honestly, it profoundly depressed me and I awoke in the morning with a real desire to curl into a ball and shun the day.
However, Meester Broom, who also didn’t really feel like running, pitched up to save me from my reverie. Despite being woken up by his kids a number of times at strategic points through the night.
We begrudgingly trudged (is that betrudged?) off into a chilly morning (apparently zero degrees by the gauge in Nick’s car) and I was soon warming (in a number of ways) to the theme of government policy incompetence.
Of course, we understand only too well that one of the key reasons that it is just SO frustrating, is that we have no control whatsoever over it. We can elect a political party into or out of office, but the bureaucrats remain in their twenty-two (or so) well-defended silo’s, their names never appearing against the latest piece of legislation to darken our doors.
For example, in the last 11 years, BERR has created 678 new offences – it is my contention that entrepreneurs and people running SME’s either spend a fortune complying with this endless diarrhoea of legislation, with the cost of lost opportunity as an incalculable additional amount, or stick their heads in the sand and ignore it. The latter might not be such a silly strategy after all, as it’ll be changed again tomorrow (admittedly, if you’re incredibly lucky) after the legislators have seen the misery of the side-effects.
I remember Jeremy Clarkson talking about the car maker TVR, of old, which appeared to design, build and sell a new car before getting their customers to do the product testing. Having had an almost new TVR Cerbera (which was off the road for a total of 6 months out of the 16 months I had it), I know exactly what he meant. The 22 Departments seem to have adopted the very same approach and it sucks!
I would be quick to admit that not all civil servants should be tarred with the same brush, but anyone that uses ‘no legislation’ as a frankly cringe-worthy excuse for ‘over regulation’, will find it hard to convince me that they are really part of the solution.
My internal hot air kept the temperature outside at bay very effectively and I hardly even noticed the run itself. We went out to the Royal Oak, up through the woods and back via the magical path. 5.2 miles took us 47 minutes (6.6mph) and was only really notable for the fact that it was a collaborative affair, even down to the final charge to the finish that we ran shoulder to shoulder.
Though I’m guessing that the run, which felt to me like it was over in a flash, probably seemed an eternity to Nick’s ever-patient ears!