Rather waving the bloody shroud, isn't it?


Whenever the budget of a bureaucracy is cut (and cuts here means "less than an acceptable rate of growth") then the cuts will be implemented in the most useful and obviously visible service that that bureaucracy is supposed to provide. This is not a new observation and we have no intention of trying to claim credit for it. The reason is twofold. The first is the obvious one that if some mild brake is applied to, say, the council's leisure budget then reducing library opening hours, or ceasing to purchase new books, gets the local paper (and MP) nicely roused to shout about it. Curtailing the supply of choccie bikkies at council meetings just wouldn't create the same public outrage.

The second is that of course that a bureaucracy's reason for existence is to be a bureaucracy. What service, if any, it emits is the least important thing about it. Most certainly less important than the continued existence of meetings at which there may or may not be choccie bikkies.

This is all we need to know to explain this story:

The Labour-run Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council has told grieving relatives that no one can be buried in any of their eight cemeteries for three weeks, blaming funding cuts.

Sticking the bodies of the recently departed into holes in the ground is not a difficult nor expensive endeavour. This is precisely why we delegate the task to the local municipality. But if there is to be even the whiff of a cut to the overall budget it is those bloody shrouds that will be waived to the distress of the relatives of the departed. Cause the maximum pain: to fail to do so would be to betray all bureaucracies everywhere.

It is true that said council is currently advertising for a fitness trainer. But we do think that's rather the long way around of trying to reduce the pressure on the space in the graveyards.