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March 11, 2008

Its beginning to get to us ....

This is doing the rounds, and rather than send it on by e-mail, I thought I'd share it with the blogosphere. This is the sort of form filling, paper shuffling bureaucracy that I always get mad at ....

Subject: Passport Application

Dear Minister,
I'm in the process of renewing my passport but I am a total loss to understand or believe the hoops I am being asked to jump through.

How is it that Bert Smith of T.V. Rentals Basingstoke has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a satellite dish from them back in 1994, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date?

How come that nice West African immigrant chappy who comes round every Thursday night with his DVD rentals van can tell me every film or video I have had out since he started his business up eleven years ago, yet you still want me to remind you of my last three jobs, two of which were with contractors working for the government?

How come the T.V. detector van can tell if my T.V. is on, what channel I am watching and whether I have paid my licence or not, and yet if I win the government run lottery they have no idea I have won or where I am and will keep the bloody money to themselves if I fail to claim in good time.
Do you people do this by hand?

You have my birth date on numerous files you hold on me, including the one with all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30-odd years. It's on my health insurance card, my driver's licence, on the last four passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes and boats over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done every ten years and the electoral registration forms I have to complete, by law, every time our lords and masters are up for re-election.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, I was born in Maidenhead on the 4th of March 1957, my mother's name is Mary, her maiden name was Reynolds, my father's name is Robert, and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and the day I die!

I apologise Minister. I'm obviously not myself this morning. But between you and me, I have simply had enough! You mail the application to my house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthals working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to activate the Fifth Reich for God's sake! I just want to go and park my weary backside on a sunny, sandy beach for a couple of week's well-earned rest away from all this crap.

Well, I have to go now, because I have to go to back to Salisbury and get another copy of my birth certificate because you lost the last one. AND to the tune of 60 quid! What a racket THAT is!! Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day? But nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some tosser to confirm that it's really me on the goddamn picture - you know... the one where we're not allowed to smile in in case we look as if we are enjoying the process!
Hey, you know why we can't smile? 'Cause we're totally jacked off!

I served in the armed forces for more than 25 years including over ten years at the Ministry of Defence in London . I have had security clearances which allowed me to sit in the Cabinet Office, five seats away from the Prime Minister while he was being briefed on the first Gulf War and I have been doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross ever since I left the Services. However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am -- you know, someone like my doctor...
who, before he got his medical degree 6 months ago WAS LIVING IN PAKISTAN ...

Yours sincerely,
An Irate British Citizen.

I think the letter encapsulates exactly what drives me up the walls with rage at the way we are treated by the faceless wonders of Whitehall. They can make the most mounmental botch of anything without even trying, but they are NEVER held to account for it. In a case exposed recently a Taxi driver was made bankrupt by the incompetent nincompoops at HM Revenue and Customs. How? Easy, they LOST his files and declared he owed them £12,000 in unpaid tax. Where that figure came from they are unable to explain - and, when he rightly refused to pay, they dragged him into court, declared him bankrupt and seized his property (including his cab - his means of earning a living) and left him destitute.

It has taken a year to sort it out. His outstanding tax was just £0.88pence. But he still has the label "Bankrupt" attached and even though he has been declared "rehabilitated" still cannot get a mortgage or any other finance deal - all due to the incompetence of some little toe-rag in the tax office. A faceless wonder who has now, no doubt, been promoted as a reward for his or her utter contempt for truth, justice or actually doing a useful job.

Coupled with that comes the admission from a senior civil servant that HMRC never pursue the rich - they have accountants who make life for the incomptents in HMRC difficult and look like the fools they are - so they target self employed middle class earners and working men, hounding them and accusing them of non-payment or underpayment of tax.

It really is time to hold the Whitehall W*nkers to account for every mistake, every unnecessary form and every wasted penny of our money.

Posted by The Gray Monk at March 11, 2008 08:32 PM

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