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Petty Bureaucracy

November 7, 2012
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Thoughts From The Corner

Even one to one English tutors need a break sometime.

Every year we wander on down to Cambridge Folk Festival (in England) for four days of pure unadulterated middle-age drop out. This little sojourn has become somewhat of a tradition for the past 25 years with family and friends.

The word ‘folk’ in the title is a little misleading. We have seen the likes of Robert Plant, Emy Lou Harris, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Eric Bibb, The Proclaimers, Joan Armatrading, etc. The list is endless – many are definitely not folk singers.

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Art work at Cambridge Folk Festival

So, where is this post taking us? Well, this year we came across everyone’s favourite ‘Petty Council Bureaucracy’. Working in Education, I know only too well how the actions of ‘Little Hitler’s’ and ‘Jobsworth’s’ (as this type of ‘pen-pusher’ has become known) can upset the ‘foot soldiers’. I always wonder what type of education and qualifications these type of people have, which enable them to make such  a mess of a system that has worked for many years. The old adage ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it’ seems an anathema to these types.

To get to the point. We arrived at the field to set up our caravans and tents. The big, bold, newly-painted signs sent caravans one way and tents the other. We were a group containing both caravans and tents. So that was it. Our 25 years of friends and family gathering for general merry-making, music-making, BBQ-making was shattered by a council Jobsworth. We weren’t all allowed to camp together.

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Today we re-invent the wheel!

To our merry crew (though not so merry this year) part of what makes (made?) the festival at Cambridge such a fantastic date in our calendar is the coming together of family and friends (some from abroad) at a beautiful family-friendly festival.

What is it about people in bureaucratic organisations that want to re-invent the wheel? Why do they want to mend something that isn’t broken? Are their jobs so boring that a newly-sharpened pencil sends them on a journey of ego-madness?

Are we private tutors or school teachers to blame for bringing up generations of Gradgrind’s – remember him from ‘Hard Times’?

Dear Mr Cambridge Festival Jobsworth,

Please let us all camp together next year.

Wishing you and your team all the best,

An angry Private English Tutor.

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