Thursday, 31 January 2008

Mighty systems, crap results

One, for all you millions out there wondering why I have been so uncharacteristically silent this week, I can only apologise and plead pressure of (very badly paid) work.

Two, bouncing back undaunted, here we have a perfect example of every reason why this (in fact probably any) government cannot be trusted.

January 31 is the deadline for filing tax returns in the UK.

At vast, not to say prodigious, expense, our right-on, fully wired-up government has made it easier for us to do so by providing an interactive website to allow those who can to file their returns on the web.

Except that it doesn't work. Today it crashed. Exactly when it was supposed to be working as (hideously expensively) advertised.

In short, a precise example of the fatuousness, incompetence and idiocy underpinning our relationship with those who govern us. They trumpet their inclusiveness. They spend billions claiming to deliver it. Yet they are incapable – institutionally and systematically – of living up to their laughably over-inflated preening.

Welcome to a world that is as catastrophically inept and bloated as it is complacent and useless. And all of it at our expense.

To which the only rational response is to suggest that Gordo sticks this, yet another comical government cock-up, right up his vaunted inflation rate.

Roll on ID cards ...


Umbongo said...


As you've noted elsewhere this is the Year of the Potato. Who, except an organisation with the collective mentality and competence of a potato, could create the fiasco currently being celebrated by HMR&C online filers? Mind you, since the rubbish IT systems of the public sector (particularly the tax gatherers) are a well-known fact of life in the UK, I wonder why so many people waited until the last moment to file their tax returns.

Dennis said...

I love the sensation of panic induced by the self-assessment thing when the screen locks up and you don't know what the hell is going on. Has it got your return or what? If you try again will you be charged double tax? If you don't try again will you be fined £1000, disembowelled, and deported to Tierra del Fuego?

Welcome to the 21st century, Bill the Galactic Hero style.

(P.S. If you sadly don't know who Bill is, check Wikipedia.)

Anonymous said...

Call it cowardice, but I am uncharecteristically going to remain anonymous on this one.

It is only indirectly the governments fault, but it is hilarious.

They are enfocing a piece of legislation called IR35 which taxes small independent one shareholder/directors in an illegal and hideous way, extracting much money from them in taxes which, legally, they should not have to pay.

The HMRC will not employ people to do their IT work.

It is outsourced.

Now you may be getting ahead of me here.

Guess to whom it outsources its IT work ? - yes to one shareholder/director companies. In one of the greatest hypocritical acts even this government has performed, it requires individuals to incorporate themselves to save HMRC falling foul of its own employement legislation.

So you can see that 95% of the companies HMRC uses to handle its IT actually do not want the projects to work.

And now you know that if Peter Cook were alive today he would be out of work. Satire? No longer possible.

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