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I’m 77. I have a dog who demands that I walk him twice daily. It’s good for both of us and it gives me an opportunity to reflect on life, death, the meaning of existence and the contempt of civil servants for those who pay their wages.

I was one myself, a long time ago. I dealt with the media rather than the general public. I hope and even believe that I made more friends there than I did enemies. My approach was that I was there to help, not obstruct. But I was a middle man. When I had a problem usually it was with someone within the machine, who regarded public information as his or her, (usually his in those days) private property.

Many people think of civil servants only as those employed by central governments. In fact there are far more, four times the number if police and fire services are discounted.

Today I would like to focus on just one of them. A couple of years ago on a nice Sunday morning I might have taken Eileen out in her wheelchair. (Oh how I wish I still could.) A few years before that it might have been my grandson in his stroller. It I had done so this morning I would have been unhappy.

In the next street to my house there are in place temporary three way traffic lights. Large and largely unnecessary warning signs for motorists have been erected, on the pavement, blocking it and parents and carers on to the roadway. They were erected on Friday and left for the weekend at least.

The person who took the decision to do that was a civil, ie public servant. Surely to God there is something in what my old boss used to call standard operating procedures that says you do not block pavements with road signs.

Why am I so grumpy about this? It’s because I believe that every decision made and every action taken, instructed or authorised by a public servant should be considered in the context of a simple question. How will this impact on the people who pay my wages?

My local authority has a slogan: ‘You spoke, We listened.’ Really?

Categories: General
  1. Alasdair Northrop
    October 30, 2022 at 11:08 am

    It’s bad enough when unthinking motorists block pavements with their carelessly parked vehicles without officialdom adding to the misery.

  2. Eva Zemla
    October 30, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Absolutely no consideration for others plus total lack of common sense 😕

  3. Gwen Harkins
    October 30, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    You are so correct. Driving home from Glasgow to Bonnyrigg on 17/10/22 at 10pm I noticed the overhead gantry signs said M8(E) closed at Shotts. We were then send on a merry go round of Diversion signs none of which said Edinburgh. Luckily my passenger had SatNav on her phone and eventually after doing all the unfamiliar back roads in WL we came to Newbridge. Not knowing where the roadworks ended we went via Gogar roundabout and thought we were nearly home – but no!!! The A720 had signs up saying the right hand lane was closed. However that wasn’t correct for as we got to Hermiston Gait we were directed down to the roundabout leading to the retail park. Now I do like a browse in TK Maxx but unfortunately at 11.15pm it was closed. I had to therefore drive round the roundabout and go back to Gogar and come back to go via Westerhailes. Now furious we eventually got home around 11.30pm. Next day I reported the incident to Traffic Scotland and the following day I got an email saying they would look into the matter. It turns out that the M8 was only closed from Jct 6 to Jct 5 so the could have put us back in a lot sooner.
    Talk about disorganisation!!!
    I don’t mind roadworks if the signage is good and they are actually working on the problem.
    I support you wholeheartedly.
    An avid fan of yours

  4. November 8, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    I have this on pre-order but my problem will be do I read it straight away or wait? Recently I went back to the beginning and read the Skinner books again. Some things I remembered well but others and some characters I’d forgotten all about. I’ve recommended the Skinner series to friends and they are enjoying them too.

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