We're currently in election lockdown, an annual treat for those of us working in local government. Basically, throughout the months of March and April we can't do anything or be thought to be doing anything that promotes the interest of any particular councillor, candidate, cause or party prior to the May elections. Of course, an official edict to do nothing is like manna from Heaven to the Library Service but we still have to be careful not to let anyone use us for photo calls, publicity stunts, etc. It will, as usual, be a closely-fought three-way match will no clear winner at the end of it all, the same as the past nearly forty years. If history is any guide, whichever party/parties do take up the reins of power will then spend the rest of the year dismantling the plans of the current lot out of sheer cussedness. Unless the current lot is re-elected, in which case they'll dismantle them because whoever wins the general election will be pulling the plug on the spending anyway.
There will be big changes in the Library Service, mainly because despite all the stalling over the past few years there will be Big Changes in Helminthdale Council caused by the raft of edicts and orders that have come down to us from the Westminster Village and even the Library Service cannot be immune from all the shaking about. In this respect we've been rather cossetted by the presence of T.Aldous who has acted as both lightning rod for anger and baffle against jigging things round for the sake of it for the past couple of decades. (I should also point out here that he's also been a baffle against a whole slew of entirely desirable and necessary reforms that we would have been better doing ourselves on our terms rather than having some half-baked versions of them wished upon us from on high.) Oh, and there is a new Review of the National Library Service by the Department of London White Elephants.
Besides that where are we? Well, we're now seeing more of T.Aldous in the office than we ever did when he worked for us. Management Group (this week) have retreated to their lair, emerging every so often to go to the lavatory or get a cup of coffee and the occasional sortie to drop a piece of work into someone's lap and then run away. The lower ranks complain, rightly, about a lack of communication but then spoil it on the rare occasions that somebody bothers by complaining about having to take the time to read or listen to the news. Especially with some people's creative ideas as to what in the world 'isn't anything to do with me.'
And then there's:
"They don't have the first idea of what we do. They imagine it's all done by magic."
"Well, why not let's suggest that they do a bit of work-shadowing so that they get some idea of what needs doing and how you have to do it?"
"Oh, we're not having them hanging round here!"
It's a strange thing, just at the point where I've half-persuaded Milton that we need to try and force people to take a bit of responsibility for themselves I've started to come to the conclusion that he was dead right in a brown study he had before Xmas.
For all their moaning and groaning about wanting to stop pratting about and pissing opportunity up the wall most of the Library Service is happy to moulder unhappily in the status quo.