What glorious bureaucracy

Part of an 11th-century castle wall has collapsed into a house in Sussex. It was reported that a 10m by 10m section of the wall, weighing roughly 600 tonnes, came crashing down onto a house near Lewes Castle.

Incident commander Matt Lloyd

Incident commander? Well, sure, there’s going to be someone in charge. “Corporal” maybe?

“I would say this is a protracted incident,” he added.

Might take some time to sort out.

Firefighters and a hazardous area response team

Well, we’ve got to call the blokes with shovels something.

A spokesman said: “Residents are being asked to avoid the area, as there are expected to be a high number of emergency appliances involved in this multi-agency search and rescue operation.

A lorra lorries.

This is expected to be a protracted incident, involving a multi-agency search and rescue operation.”


How much of this is just renaming what has always happened and how much is involving graduates of shovel study, protracted incident and multi-agency studies?

What worries is that there’s a lot more of the latter in this.

21 thoughts on “What glorious bureaucracy”

  1. FIre engine? makes economical sense compared to tanker lorry with a pump, some hoses and a ladder, but American fire truck seems more succinct.

  2. It’s important to understand what’s driving the creep of the “studies” brigade. We’re not a terribly litigious culture (unlike the U.S.) so the threat of lawsuits doesn’t explain it. Instead, it’s the threat of being hauled in front of a Grenfell-style kangaroo court and being accused of failing to do your job perfectly, because you were trying to do it cheaply. And let’s face it, public sector top bods are well paid, especially in pensions, so they don’t want to risk their jobs.

    The bloke in charge (commander / corporal / whatever) has no incentive to keep costs down, and every incentive to cover his arse and stick to the formal procedure. That procedure in turn is overly complex and “studies”-heavy, because the writers of formal procedures have their own warped incentives.

    I don’t know how you’d even begin to unravel all this. Heavily localised taxation & spending might give some incentive to cap costs.

  3. “Incident commander” seems to me to be a huge improvement on corporal/major-general. I don’t want to know his rank, I want to know his function. “Chap i/c” would do, mind.

  4. Using fancy words for things strikes me as a sign of weakness. A lack of confidence. I’ve never been too convinced by “software engineer”, for example. Engineers design bridges or machinery. There’s nothing wrong with a “computer programmer” making computers do interesting things.

  5. Prof Paz: “Software Engineer” – It’s partly tribalism, but also an attempt to apply genuine engineering disciplines into computer-based systems.
    In reality, 95% of it is Engineering, only a few % is the coding aka programming.

    If you are at da codeface hacking some aircraft avionics, then you need engineering, not that knitted spaghetti of the quiche-eating Computer Science dweebs. Etc.
    Guess who Boinggg hires.

    This isn’t unusual, think of all the flavours of lawyers, for example. The reaction when you address a silk as a solicitor…Any pofession generates its own tribes.

  6. I am sure there is also a large element of empire building involved. If you are now employing four people in a department which used to manage with two then it helps to justify it if you give them different titles, as if they are doing such radically different jobs that the department couldn’t possibly manage with less.
    Then they all “need” assistants…

  7. I’m a software engineer, and I will defend that description – I methodically design and implement software. However, my current employment is essentially delivery boy, but my name-tag says “IT Engineer”. There’s not a day in hell that I’d describe what I do as engineering. Comparing with electricianing or plumbing, I’m below Engineer, I’m below Technician, I’m a Fitter.

  8. I’ve come across incident commander m, but it made sense the way it was explained.
    It’s the first qualified person at the incident site that takes charge, just because their boss turns up 30mins later or an emergency response crew with a Captain doesn’t change that the ic is person in charge unless formally handing over.
    Supposed to stop multi-agency dick waving over who is in charge, so fire turns up and ic tells them what’s going on and where they need to be

  9. Shovel ready project, no immediate need for people with shovels, first you must have people with Shovel Studies certification, so lots of jobs in nice comfy offices for people with no obvious, never mind necessary, skills. This is a feature not a bug: it all makes work for the admin class to do.

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