Back in the day when I was managing services in the world of outsourced contact centres, we used to love disasters. Whether it was a hapless navvy slicing through a communications cable, or a PR disaster that simultaneously sent enquiries through the roof and service crashing through the floor, we high-fived each other into joyful delirium.
It allowed us to sweep all our corner-cutting capers and dropped balls under the shagpile. A golden opportunity to bury bad news.
And so it is with COVID.
Service chiefs have been falling over themselves to churn out the bug line for every lamentable debacle on their watch. Perhaps there was a scintilla of viability during the early days of disruption in March, but now it’s all now morphed into one almighty skive.
The worst culprits are the hordes of tediously one-dimensional civil servants and local government droids. These jokers are giving even less of a toss (bet you never thought that was possible), and the officious, patronising, and largely irrelevant cut-and-pasted missives that they belch out with wholly predictably insufferable scorn have largely been replaced with nothing. Zippo. Nada. They just don’t bother responding at all now.
Hey, they know that their jobs and pensions are rock solid, unless of course Mr Sunak is pondering a 25-year waiver of Income and Council Taxes. Jobs for life where the worst indignity will be a sideways step on the same package.
The range of public services that still remain bolted shut is staggering. Try re-igniting your business if you are relying on a local government licence and see how far you will get. Or getting just a simple reply back or holding letter from the DWP now that local offices and telephone lines have been shut for five months.
The mere fact that acknowledgements to enquiries (that could be sent in bulk) are no longer forthcoming blows any COVID excuse out of the water for the lame, unmitigated facile tosh that it is. It’s all a big profiteering cesspool of institutional lying and work avoidance.
If you claim benefits but work and don’t declare it, you get collared and cuffed. These public servant shitehawks suck up immeasurably larger slices of taxpayer money in salaries and pensions, don’t work, and get MBEs.
And forget any escalated redress. In the case of the DWP, who are routinely screwing the most vulnerable people in our midst, the (so-called) Independent Case Examiner refuses to even look at cases unless a final response has been provided by the DWP. So, if the DWP simply ignore you, they’re home and dry.
The dole offices are still bang on top of their sanctions programmes though, even if they haven’t had the resource to make a start on their February correspondence.
COVID won’t get in the way of the abject bastardry of the DWP’s elite hunting team.
There will be more excruciating examples of broken Britain, but for now I’ll allow that one to ease its way into the collective grey matter.
The truth is that when the germ panic hit, these clowns joyfully welcomed the respite of an immediate release of pressure and the opportunity to recourse to a sabbatical of Netflix and party crisps. They’ve now grasped that in the meantime, the world never stopped turning, and they have no idea on how to dig their lumpy, sorry arses out of an ever-augmenting steaming mire.
That is why weeks after the Government, ahem, reopened the UK, their own acolytes have still not yet followed suit.
‘We have to consider the well-being of our service users’, they are saying, which given their track records is quite a ballsy statement and must have elicited hearty belly-laughs at the DWP fun factory.
But the truth is that they are filling their breeches at the prospect of re-opening the service floodgates and subjecting themselves once again to even greater scrutiny.
For organisations (and I use that term loosely) who could not cope with BAU workloads, the prospect of the new-normal paper mountain must be gut-wrenching for your everyday jobsworth shyster.
Our public sector mutant grunts are still hanging onto COVID for dear life, but the clock is ticking.
As is the time bomb.