Communing wth locale

The random public sector buzz-word generator has been at work again, this time supporting the conference industry. I am invited to a conference that is entitled \’The Next Steps in Localising Communities: Localising Power, Empowering Citizens and Building Communities\’

This babbling brook of gibberish is actually quite impressive in that it manages to combine New Labour\’s vacuous \’communities\’ rhetoric with the Coalition\’s equally inchoate commitment to \’localism\’. A genuinely historic alignment.

It is also, at heart, almost entirely meaningless: how on earth does one localise a community? The words could be re-arranged at will – like a syntactical anagram – to make no more or less sense. \’Building the Locale: Empowering Communities, Localising Citizens and Localising Power\’, anyone? It makes no more sense and no less.

Poets, politicians, beauty queens and cooks

I don\’t seem to have put much up here recently. Normal service will be resumed presently.

In the meantime, here is one of Nick Asbury\’s \’corpoetics\’ – poetry assembled from the airy and conceited twaddle that infests corporate websites:


I am strong.
I am vibrant.
I am committed to a vision.

I am tremendous.
I am quality.
I will lead people to excellence.

I am delighted.
I am respected.
I am very greatly valued.

What am I?
I am the best.

Reproduced without any permission, but please go and buy the book, and enoy other features on the Asbury blog, such as distinguishing the names of Fall songs from tax avoidance scams. Harder than you think.

Pipeline at the gates of dawn

Apart from some lurking images that would give Freud a field day, this email that I received at work is thoroughly baffling:

\’Over the past week, each Directorate has been requested to send the Corporate PMO updates for the Pipeline Tracker tool. This tool ensures visibility of all projects that are expected to pass through the Gateways at any given time.

\’This is an ongoing process requiring continual maintenance and review to ensure the Tracker is accurate and reliable.

\’The Corporate PMO needs to identify representatives from each Directorate to act as a Pipeline Champion, and this will be initiated next week.

\’Please can you nominate these representatives ASAP.

\’Thank you for your cooperation.\’

I\’d love to help (probably), but I really don\’t have the faintest idea what I am meant to co-operate with.

Practitionerification makes perfect

Mocking public sector recruitment ads for meaningless managerialism and blairite gibberish is easy sport, and the pages of the Guardian a particularly fertile hunting ground. Easy sport, but to be resisted as far as possible: one doesn\’t want to turn into Peter Hitchens (or Christopher for that matter), and as daft as job titles might be, they are often attached to roles performing important, if Daily Mail-baiting, functions.


…occasionally your eye is caught by something so toe-swivellingly inane, so mind-bendingly abstracted, so gut-wrenchingly evasive, that it needs to be picked up and shaken, like a terrier with a rat. Saturday\’s Guardian advertised for two roles at the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners. Even the name of the organisation (surely not NAPPIE?) gives a clue that we journeying far beyond meaning.

The first two sentences of the pre-amble will serve as a taster of the whole:

\”If we want to change the world then how our children grow up is a massively important place to make a start. The role of parents is critical to that, and our changing society and its changing demands on parents removes old certainties, leaving many with a real appetite for expert support from those they trust.\”

Where to start? The inanity of the first sentence (sorry, Whitney)? The ocean-going banality of explaining the importance of parents to how children grow up? The evasive vagueness about \”changing society and its changing demands\” (we don\’t want to suggest any parents are inadequate, do we)? The patronising lie about the \”real appetite for expert support\”?

The sad thing is that, buried amidst more crap about \’parenting agendas\’ and \’respect action plans\’, NAPP\’s website reveals that they actually do rather sensible stuff, like training social workers who work with children – people who do one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the world.

It\’s just a shame that they, or their recruitment consultants, decided to wrap these job descriptions in such evasive, tired and sly verbiage. It makes for such an tempting target that it\’s hard to resist a Hitchens-esque rant, before reverting to re-assuring Toynbee-ism.