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February 05, 2007

Theodore Dalrymple finds a cure for the German malady of low blood pressure: read The Guardian's job advertisements

Posted by Theodore Dalrymple

Reading The Guardian's job advertisements, Theodore Dalrymple makes a medical breakthrough.

Considering that medicine is supposed to be an objective science, it is strange that there are national fashions in diagnosis, and that supposed illnesses that are taken seriously in one country are held not to exist in another. The most famous example of this is the crise de foie from which the French are supposed so often to suffer, but which is quite unknown across the Channel - though, of course, we are ever more familiar with alcoholic hepatitis.

In Germany, I believe, they worry not only about high, but also low blood pressure. I don't mean the kind of low blood pressure produced by profuse bleeding after an accident, or some other catastrophe, but constitutionally low blood pressure.

One way of addressing this grave problem would be for the sufferer to read the job advertisement pages every week in The Guardian newspaper. Here is one from 31st January of this year, guaranteed to put your pressure up unless you yourself are a member of the growing class of bureaucratic drones.

It is for the post of Senior Equality and Diversity Executive, the employer being the London Development Agency, at a salary of 63,000 plus benefits: probably, then, a cost to the taxpayer greater than 100,000 per year.

What will the Senior Equality and Diversity Executive do (the job title rather implies that there are quite a number of lesser fry in this branch of government, as well as more senior ones - a Chief Executive and Directors and Deputy-Directors, for example)? I cannot do better than quote the advertisement, but I think it only fair to warn you that reading this prose can seriously damage your equanimity, and might, like some of the more dangerous computer viruses, scramble the hard-disk in your brain permanently and irretrievably.

Well, here goes:

Staging the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and as the Mayor's Agency for business and jobs in the capital, we at the London Development Agency (LDA) fully intend to seize it. We want to deliver a legacy of 2012 that lasts far beyond the event itself, and, as London's diversity was one of the key factors in securing The London Games, ensure that all Londoners benefit from it delivering employment, business and training opportunities across our community.

We're now looking for an individual who can lead the LDA's equalities agenda to ensure that it is embedded within all London Games-related policies, programmes and projects. Playing a lead role in the development of a comprehensive diversity engagement strategy you can expect to be networking at the highest levels with all key Olympic stakeholders, so it's important that you already have established a profile in a related area. You'll put sustainable procurement at a forefront of partners' minds and provide expert advice on statutory drivers around equality and diversity.

Reporting to the LDA's Director of Equality and Diversity, you'll co-ordinate activities and projects already underway, and identify opportunities for new initiatives. It's essential that you can demonstrate a track record of delivery on a multi-agency project, and that you are experienced at establishing strong partnerships across a senior network.

Meanwhile, of course, London remains the most littered capital city in Europe, if not the world, and is likely to remain so, no matter how much local taxes rise. This is a problem too small and insignificant for the giant brains of the British public administration to consider.

One can glimpse some meaning, as through a glass darkly, in the job description, despite wording that makes Hermes Trismegistus seem like an advocate of plain-speaking.

The first thing to remark, however, is that no applicant for the job need worry that, the Olympic Games being a short event, it is in any sense temporary. He has already entered a world in which, having mastered the arcane language, he is assured of a job for life, with the kind of benefits that will eventually bankrupt the whole country.

Even periodic and well-publicised attempts to reduce bureaucracy (some of which he may already have survived, as part of his "profile") cannot harm him: for in a corporate state, all attempts to reduce bureaucracy increase it. Indeed, such attempts are themselves a bureaucratic opportunity: an advertisement for the post of senior executive of the Red-Tape Reduction Agency could be couched in precisely the same terms as the one for the Senior Equality and Diversity Executive. The successful applicant would also be expected to drive forward and deliver, network with stakeholders, and co-ordinate strong partnerships. He would also be under the illusion that he was working hard, because one of the essential attributes of the successful candidate would be that he should be completely unable to distinguish between activity and work.

In fact, the advertisement is deeply sinister in its profound, and dare I say it, institutional, racism. Equality can only be measured by outcome: and this means the imposition of racial quotas. The job of the Senior Executive is therefore to be a senior racist.

For equality to be measured, people must of course be neatly categorised into classes, races and so forth. To ensure that no one is excluded on the basis of his belief, and that all beliefs are fairly represented, a certain (and perhaps growing) proportion of BNP appointees in the public administration would be necessary. Since no one thinks this is about to happen, much less that it should happen, the "commitment" (a favourite word of the new bureaucracy, especially when it is about to renege on something) to diversity is a sham. No one is diverse unless they say so, and what equality means is jobs for the boys and the creation of loyal clienteles: a form of bureaucratic feudalism. This, of course, is both positively and negatively expensive: it necessitates outright expropriation to pay for it, and inhibits the creation of wealth.

Send not to seek for whom the bill comes: it comes for thee. Not only that, but you'll be paying interest on it for the rest of your life, and so will your children, and their children.

Theodore Dalrymple is a writer and worked for many years as an inner city and prison doctor.

To read Theodore Dalrymple's earlier thoughts on The Guardian, see: Theodore Dalrymple asks, is The Guardian institutionally racist?.

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You'll be paying interest on it for the rest of your life, and so will your children, and their children.
Isn't that how whole families are kept in bondage in Pakistan? Posted by: Robert H. Olley at February 6, 2007 12:35 PM
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