Thursday, September 22, 2005

String em up!

Just for once, those stout gentlemen charged with management of this great land have done something good. They have examined a part of the daily life of the ordinary man and the interaction that he has with the agencies of the state. They have examined it with a beady eye, declared that there is room for improvement and have acted upon that declaration. They have seen an unnecessary trail of paper, the handling of which occupies equally unnecessary operatives of the state, causing an unnecessary drain on the funds extorted from the honest taxpayer.

That's right: they have actually made something easier.

You don't have to dredge out your (now invalid, due to blasted EU harmonisation) V5. You don't have to trudge to one of the ever-decreasing number of post offices and wait in a queue for someone to issue your tax disc. You don't have to worry about your carefully completed application form being rejected because it was filled out in blue ink, not black*.

However, your ever-vigilant and beady-eyed Pedant-General must temper his effusive praise, for all is not well at Direct.Gov. You have the option to furnish the nice people at DVLA with the current reading of your odometer, for the purposes of frustrating "clockers" should you come to sell your vehicle. You can also elect to forgo this pleasure. All well and good, but the fule what rote the page stuck this in as "To not notify your mileage..."

Altogether now: STRING HIM UP!

* I have had this happen to me and it is simply infuriating. I was so cross that I managed to browbeat the poor woman behind the counter to such a degree that she forgot to charge me for the "checking service" which had just unearthed the error.

Thankfully, the inestimable Mr Seat was on hand to sign the newly - and very blackly - completed form.


Akaky said...

You got a great blog here. Its pretty unique to see someone with your discreet viewpoint in the blogosphere these days.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Hello and welcome Akaky and thank you for your kind comments.

I can assure you that there are plenty of right-wing/libertarian, borderline homicidal maniac bloggers just like me on this side of the pond.

As for your blog: anyone who gets the word "rosicrucian" into any posting, however peripherally is worth reading in my book.

Toodle Pip!

berenike said...

Hgna. One simple rejection for one simple reason, and correcting the alleged problem did not involve going to three other offices in different parts of the city, al with different opening hours, in each of which your various documents have to be submitted together with payment made in the form of stamps (not postage stamps, special treasury or bureau or council stamps) which have to be bought from a cashier whose desk functions at different times from the office in which your documents must be deposited . . . (and this was just to get a doctor's certificate to say I was fit to take driving lessons). The problem? There was a mistake in my surname in the record of my registered address when I was three.

Anonymous said...

While we're discussing this country's great bureaucratic traditions, you might all enjoy Damian's take on the issue:

Devil's Kitchen said...

Is that "discreet" or "discrete", I wonder...

I believe that the punishment for a split infinitive is to lethally be hanged, ain't it, P-G...? (That's an SI, colloquialism in written English and tautology; is that hanged, drawn and quartered?)


Akaky said...

I don't wonder; it is discrete. I wanted to see if the p-g would catch it and then yell loudly at him if it was not; what kind of pedant, after all, would allow the confusion of discrete and discreet in his presence, but the p-g complimented my blog and flattery will get you everywhere with me, even if it means not picking up the use of discreet for discrete, saying you got instead of you have got, the former being acceptable in colloquial speech, especially here in the northeastern U.S., but not when you are writing, and using the possessive its for the contraction it's. All is forgiven, however.

Akaky said...

And then, of course, now that I think of it, there is the use of a qualifier for unique, which is an absolute quality like death, pregnancy, or being a raving leftwing moonbat, and therefore does not need a qualifier. Something is, after all, either unique or it isn't; there are no degrees of uniqueness

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


The deliberate error, eh? That old chestnut: you've marked your card....

Besides, it's a first offence, you are indeed from across the water and we all know that our American cousins have no appreciation of the finer points of HM's English and I appear to have DK to do my dirty work for me these days - he has several detentions outstanding.

Toodle Pip!

Akaky said...

I am very fond of old chestnuts roasted over an open fire, although I could live without Jack Frost nipping at my nose and any other portion of my anatomy; I prefer the Austalian concept of spending Christmas at the beach, but as I am not in Oz I'll just have to skip that pleasure.

In any case, despite your spelling offense incorrectly, a flaw I chalk up to your insular origins and therefore excusable in a way that the same spelling coming from the Encyclopedia Brittanica is intolerable, given that the Britannica is published in Chicago and is using British spelling for its snob appeal, I am adding I.U. to the blogroll forthwith, along with the cole slaw, potato chips, and the celery soda, a beverage that really is as repulsive as it sounds.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Ah, my dears, it was meaning that I was pondering on...

S: (adj) discrete, distinct (constituting a separate entity or part) "a government with three discrete divisions"; "on two distinct occasions"

S: (adj) discreet (marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint) "his trusted discreet aide"; "a discreet, finely wrought gold necklace"
S: (adj) discerning, discreet (unobtrusively perceptive and sympathetic) "a discerning editor"; "a discreet silence"
S: (adj) circumspect, discreet (heedful of potential consequences) "circumspect actions"; "physicians are now more circumspect about recommending its use"; "a discreet investor"

Is anyone else, by the way, rather hoping that Blogger is going to throw up something naughty in the Comment words that one has to type...?


Akaky said...

It is simple, I think; if a man and his brother's much younger wife remain discrete there is no need for them to be discreet. That sums it up in a nutshell, I think.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"... much younger wife... "

That's very specific. Are you sure that you, yourself, are not being indiscreet...?


Akaky said...

I wish that my life was that interesting.

dearieme said...

You know the yarn about Mrs Webster bursting in on Mr Webster in the arms of his paramour?

Mrs W: "Mr Webster, I am surprised."
Mr W: "No, my dear, you are astonished, I am surprised."