Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The bin doth runneth over

In to Holyrood today and find, somewhat unusually, that I'm first into the office. The in tray is spilling over with the morning's mail, so I decide to deal with it before it gets any bigger.

There's a fair amount of important stuff, like constituent letters, ministerial correspondence and invitations to briefings, all of which is dealt with ASAP. However, by far the greater part seems to be PR puff for various organisations, some (but by no means all) in receipt of public money, trying to convince you what a fantastic job they are doing, and no doubt why they should be allowed to continue doing it.

Since no-one has the time to read through the avalanche of brochures, most go straight in the bin. It all represents the most grotesque waste of money and paper. While it's great for the burgeoning glossy brochure industry and waste management companies, I can't help but feel that actually trying to speak to people in person would be a more effective way of getting a point across, instead of sacrificing acre upon acre of forest and increasing incidences of lumbago amongst postal staff.

That said, the odd gem does come through. 'The Parliamentarian - Journal of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth', arrived, along with a list of contacts for the various legislatures within the Commonwealth Parliamentary Agency. For Holyrood, George Reid is described as the 'Presiding Officer' and Jack McConnell as 'First Minister'. Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, luxuriates in the title of 'Leader of the party not represented in the Scottish Executive with the greatest number of Members in the Parliament'.

It hardly trips off the tongue, does it? I bet the Master of Ceremonies for Commonwealth dinners lives in fear of the day she turns up and etiquette demands that she be introduced as such...

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