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"Political Correctness is marginal and mainstream, ridiculous and mandatory, crazy and normal."

Political correctness is the dominant ideology of the Western intellectual world. It is what the West has instead of a religion. It is a thing of the political Left in its origins and central constituency. Yet, in recent decades, it's been embraced by the mainstream political Right and Centre.

Political correctness therefore represents the triumph of the Left. Nonetheless, it very obviously violates both common sense and logic and is destructive of all that is good, beautiful and true. So, at one and the same time, PC is marginal and mainstream, ridiculous and mandatory, crazy and normal.

Political correctness obviously dominates its core territory of politics, public administration (the civil service), law, education and (especially!) the mass media. But PC also substantially shapes everything else: foreign policy, the military, policing, the economy, health services, and personal life: the mating game, friendships and even family life.

This book explains how something so bizarre and wicked could become so ubiquitous and unremarkable.



Publié par
Date de parution 19 octobre 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781789559934
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1250€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Published by New Generation Publishing in 2013
Copyright Richard Hernaman Allen 2013
First Edition
The author asserts the moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior consent of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
After I completed the Waterguard , I was curious as to how the lives of Nick and Rosemary Storey might develop after they got married. I wanted to continue to write about HM Customs and Excise and place the story in a historical context. 1967 seemed to be a suitable year, with plenty of suitable themes to draw on.
As with the previous story, I have tried to maintain a sufficient plausibility of Customs procedures and Cabinet Office arrangements, without attempting to achieve total accuracy or, probably, complete historical correctness either. To those for whom various inconsistencies grate, I apologise. I have also used several locations chosen from street maps and peered at through the Google World cameras, where I could. These choices were pretty well random and no suggestion is made that anything of the sort that appears in this story ever occurred there. Similarly, I have given my characters names, some of which must occur in real life. I wish to make it absolutely clear that no name mentioned in this story is intended to refer to any person live or dead. I admit to having borrowed bits of the characters of people I have met during my life in several of the characters, but I hope I have done this in such a way that no individual, living or dead, can be recognised from it. I have certainly not intended to identify any single individual. The same goes for any companies or organisations whose names I have invented.
HM Customs Excise, like the rest of the Civil Service, made copious use of initials to describe offices, ranks and procedures. It would make the book seem extremely stilted and unreal to avoid them. In most instances I have provided the full words the first time any set of initials appears - and have also provided a glossary at the end. For anyone who finds Civil Service grades obscure ( Customs Excise at that time was more complicated than most), I ve also included an organisation chart, which I hopes clarifies as much as is necessary.
I would like to dedicate this book to those friends I have made throughout my career in the Civil Service. I have drawn a historical picture of it, one that I would recognise from when I started my career in HM Customs and Excise in 1970. It - and the sort of people in it - has changed significantly over the ensuing 40 years. By and large, it is friendlier, more open, less rank-conscious, formal and hierarchical than it was then. Many of my friends helped to make that change.
Finally, I make a special dedication of this book to Vanessa - my Rosemary and to my daughters Jo and Kat, who have helped with the tedious task of proofreading.
Richard Hernaman Allen
June 2013
Rosemary and I had just moved into a brand new, two-bedroom, first floor flat in Beckenham. Two years of scrimping and saving had enabled us to scrape together a deposit and I had finally reached the head of the queue of those waiting for mortgages from a venerable institution known as the Customs Fund. We waved goodbye to commuting by bus and said hello to British Rail. Once we had settled in - by the summer, we told ourselves - we would try to start a family.
Our working lives had changed little. Rosemary continued to work in a building close to the new tower block just off Victoria Street which was destined to become the latest New Scotland Yard and would shortly be moving there. She was currently involved in assessing how pieces of information about criminals, addresses, cars, etc might be organised in preparation for being fed into a computer, which was supposed to be able to disgorge relevant information within minutes. Her ability to come up with ideas and solutions had recently earned her temporary promotion to Sergeant. I was immensely proud of her.
Meanwhile, I had been working in a part of the Secretaries Office known as Section 24B , on a series of ideas for using Customs charges or procedures to make imports more expensive or rebates to make exports cheaper. As the Government continued to face balance of payments difficulties, which led to periodic crises of pressure against the value of the Pound, the need for such measures seemed to come rather than go. Quite a few ideas appeared to be scuppered by various international agreements which Britain had signed, but that didn t prevent the bright young Principals and Assistant Principals from Division from coming up with a seemingly endless stream of clever wheezes, most of which were either contrary to our international commitments or impractical to operate or both. I suppose I was there to remind people in the Secretaries Office that there were thousands of people in what they called the Outfield , who actually had to make their ideas work. So a fair amount of my time had been spent in explaining why such-and-such a proposal wouldn t actually work and in some cases how, if it were done in a different way, it might. When I was reasonably content, the idea would wing its way to the Chief Inspector s Office (CI s Office) and, as necessary, the Inspector-General of the Waterguard s Office (IGW). Both appeared to be filled with people whose sole purpose in life was to find difficulties and reasons for not doing something. This attitude caused the new, brainy and remarkably youthful Assistant Secretary (i.e. the Head) of International Customs Division C such intense irritation that he had recently complained to the Board Member who supervised this area of work. Commissioner Florence Davidson, the only woman in a senior position in HM Customs Excise, was not someone to get on the wrong side of and had reportedly torn a strip off the Chief Inspector that could be heard from the Board Room up and down all nine floors of King s Beam House. I had rarely met this redoubtable lady - a lack which gave me no cause for regret.
I was beginning to get itchy feet and had started looking at OWOs ( Omnibus Weekly Orders - an information circular) and listening to the grapevine over coffee and tea in the rather gloomy staff canteen on the 9 th floor to see where there might be a suitable vacancy. I was also trying to cultivate the rare human being among those who worked in Estabs, so that I might understand how the system of filling vacancies worked within the Secretaries Office( Secs Office ). While relative seniority among those who applied for a vacancy ruled universally in the Outfield , it seemed more complicated - inevitably - in the Secs Office. But as I seemed destined to spend a fair number of years in London, probably many in this rather gloomy building, it was sensible to know how to make the best of it.
I had just been to a lengthy and unproductive meeting - the bane of working in the Secretaries Office - when the phone rang. It was Iain Cogbill, whom I hadn t seen or spoken to for at least two years.
Good morning, Storey. Have you got anything on at lunchtime today? he enquired, in that curious tone - a mixture of a Leith accent and a wish not to be overheard, on grounds of security.
No, I replied. Rosemary and I have just got a mortgage, so it s home-made sandwiches and an apple for me.
Well, perhaps you could save them for your tea. Would you be amenable to having lunch with me? Do you recall the place, the Lamb and Flag in Cursitor Street?
I ll be there.
I wondered what this could be about. The last time I d had dealings with Iain was in connection with a large diamond-smuggling operation by the Russians that left at least four people dead, several in prison, several Russian hoods from the embassy variously maimed or outfoxed, a Counsellor from the Embassy in the Grand Union canal, a major Hatton Garden jewellers destroyed and me with a wife I adored.
I went into the bar of the pub and found Iain already standing by the bar.
Do you want to order something to drink?
That s kind of you. I ll have a pint, please.
In Section 24B, the majority of staff appeared to down at least three pints most lunch-times, so I reckoned if I had one it would scarcely be noticed when I got back.
We went downstairs to the room which appeared to be specially arranged for the IB (Investigation Branch). In one of the offices there were three men having a fairly animated discussion. Iain led me to the opposite side of the room.
Are you well? How s your wife? he asked.
Fine and so is Rosemary. She s recently been promoted to Sergeant, although only temporarily at the moment. But we re planning to start a family soon anyway ... And you?
Can t complain. I m no longer working for Williamson, but for Richard Sawyer, who s a much more reasonable boss ... I m also about to change my job and that s why I wanted to speak to you. You know something about computers, I assume?
Yes. Quite a bit of Rosemary s work involves analysing different types of information required for a new police computer.
They re definitely the way things are going. Of course, they were mainly developed by the military, but they re beginning to be developed by businesses like LCL and BCC here in the UK and IBM in the USA. So I ve learnt recently, they give the West a significant military advantage over the Soviets. Naturally, the Soviets want to steal the latest technology that goes into computers. Inevitably, there are some people

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