Sunday, December 02, 2007

Last week sometime, some bozo in a government office somewhere in the north of England gave a couple of CDs to a courier who happened to be wandering past his office, and asked him to drop it off at another office somewhere else, "If he happened to be going that way, and it wasn't too much bother, thanks awfully. Bye, - Right. Now back to work. Three down... five letter word starting with M ending with N, middle letter possibly R, meaning less than brilliant in the thinking department... Hmmmm, it's being a bit tricky today...."

The discs never arrived at wherever they were supposed to be going and no one has a scooby where they are. Nobody has a scooby if they were sent to the right place as whoever sent them didn't even bother to send them by any traceable method - or even get a proof that he had even sent them at all. The discs held the names, addresses, dates of birth, and national insurance numbers of millions of people. Anyone who had anything to do with the insanely complex Child Tax Credit Scheme. Mine and Merriol's included. We know this because yesterday we got a letter from the Government's official apologisers (Formerly the Department of Public Cock-up Ameliorations, now outsourced and re-branded as 'Whoops 24') saying: "Gosh, sorry about this but we may have inadvertently lost a copy of all your details and they may be now be possibly in the hands of the Russian Mafia, The Reader's Digest, international paedophile terrorists, or the Little Green Men from Betelgeuse VI. Honestly it's a real mystery, your guess is as good as ours - but don't worry, there's no need to panic, we'll sort it all out - - - somehow." (I'm paraphrasing).

I heard on the news that there were details of something like 25 million names on the missing discs*. If everyone of them gets a letter like we did, that means the Government has just spent some five million quid apologising to us all for handing all our personal details (and those of our kids) to Betelgeusian terrorist perverts (I'm assuming 20p a letter - I hope they negotiated a price discount for bulk. Though it wouldn't surprise me if they managed to forget).

Personally I would have at least tried offering whoever has the bloody things a Million quid, no questions asked, used notes in a plain brown envelope behind a radiator in Victoria Station, before clogging up the postal service. Could have saved millions.

* If they are lost at all, because, as there is no way of knowing what the bozo wrote on the envelope in the first place, the discs may well be sitting in the in-tray of the third deputy under-secretary for the standardisation of fish intestines on one of the smaller Scottish islands for all we know. He'll come back from his fact-finding mission to the Falklands next week, take one look at the staggering pile of paperwork that accumulated in his absence and throw half of it in the bin unopened.

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