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A week of mixed messages

A week of mixed messages

Seriously, this has been a week of mixed messages, both at work and in the wider world. It’s getting so you know longer know which version of reality you should believe.

For example, the Head of HMRC’s Anti-Avoidance limit gave an interview to the Chartered Institute of Taxation about her work. Apart from apparently claiming HMG is owed £7bn from tax avoidance, she continued to mix avoidance and evasion as being similar evils. Well they may be to a tax mandarin, but if I’ve legitimately avoided paying tax in line with the law, I don’t owe anybody anything. Am I alone in thinking that if a senior Civil Servant doesn’t understand the laws that govern her own department, she might like to consider why she’s there?

Unemployment reportedly fell by a few percent as well. That’s good. Except employment also fell, by a rather larger amount. Say what? It seems there are a lot of people who are becoming “economically inactive”. Which means they don’t work and have stopped trying. So the reality is that there aren’t roughly 2 million out of work, it’s more like 8 million.

UK’s borrowing looks like it will be a few billion less than projected as well. Also good news, and something we will no doubt hear Darling Alistair crowing about in the budget next week. Of course, the minor detail that our borrowing of around £178bn is over four times what the EU considers acceptable is neither here nor there. And you have to ask how good the forecasters are who can miss an monthly estimate by such margins: apparently the January figure was revised from £4.3 billion to £44 million. Wish I could make savings of that order with my project estimates…

Back in the client’s world, we need some extra funding to do a fairly important but unplanned piece of work. No problem says the management, we’ve got a surplus over here, you can use that. Hang on, says one of my line managers, I’ve been promised that to fund this other piece of work. OK, back to the drawing board.

Then one department has bought a whole new application, all bundled up on it’s own hardware, just needs dropping on to our network, can we do this next week please. Um, no, not until we’ve cleared it with the security team. And the Network team. And the Capacity Management team. And found someone to do the work. Next time perhaps you might like to follow due process?

I know IT can work miracles. But even the Universe has laws. If only real life recognised the fact.

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Image: Mixed messages by Photocapy

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