Well, the Random-Phrase Generator has swung back into action. Again. Another one of those civil service emails updating personnel about swine flu is currently circulating the offices of Stormont. As before, remember to read this with a strong German accent.
Altogether now… raus!
The purpose of this note is to provide a further update on the Assembly Secretariat’s preparations to deal with the implications of a possible swine flu pandemic.
As previously advised, the Director General has established an Emergency Planning Group to coordinate the planning process that will seek to ensure the continuity of services to Members. The Group has now met on three occasions and one of the key areas of work continues to be the development of an Assembly Secretariat Contingency Plan which seeks to cover all of the critical areas that need to be considered in the event of a possible pandemic.
Any queries from the media about the Assembly Secretariat’s response to the possible flu pandemic should continue to be referred to XXXX XXXXX on extension XXXXXX. Queries about access to Parliament Buildings or any other building related matter should be referred to XXXX XXXXX on extension XXXXXXX.
Further general information can be obtained from the Northern Ireland Swine Flu helpline on 0800 0514 142.
This message has been issued by Postmaster on behalf of the Director of Resources.
Once again, shadowy organisations like the Secretariat, the Director General, the Emergency Planning Group, the Postmaster and the Director of Resources mock us all with their evil blueprint for world domination, simply titled: the Assembly Secretariat Contingency Plan.
Had I 2d to rub together I’d start issuing FoIs about this group. What exactly are they doing (besides plotting to steal nuclear weapons and volatile chemicals)?
Big development on the last terrifying email is that some real people appear in this one (names removed by me to protect personal information/make the email’s content seem more sinister). But it’s good to see some human element working alongside that Random-Phrase Generator.
So to recap: this group is deciding upon ‘all of the critical areas that need to be considered in the event of a possible pandemic’. Well, that seems to cover everything. But no, this is just ‘one of the key areas’ of consideration. Well, what else are they doing? What are the other key areas? How vast and extraordinary is this planning getting? Is relocation of the Assembly from Stormont part of their planning?
We’re being told by the Health Department that everything’s fine, we’ve been planning for this stuff for years, move along, nothing to see here etc. Yet this EMERGENCY PLANNING GROUP swung into being to maintain THE CONTINUITY OF THE ASSEMBLY! Once again, aaahhhh!!!…. (*takes breath, clears throat*)…. aaahhhhhhh!!!
I read these emails and smell the whiff of panic rather than organisational genius.
Why are they continuing to send vague sounding emails name-checking Stalinist job titles and collective nouns unemployed since the height of the Cold War? Who is in control of the Random-Phrase Generator and why don’t they use something approximately English (as opposed to more terrifying bureaucrat-ese)?
And why is it necessary for the last line of that email to be highlighted in bold. Because of this I now fear both the Postmaster and Director of Resources. Most unsettling.