Review: Exposing the Jobsworths

Posted Dec 7, 2013 by Alexander Baron
If you are unfamiliar with the word "jobsworth", this short video will tell you more than you need to know about the type of person who warrants the title.
A traffic warden in Stockholm  1961.
A traffic warden in Stockholm, 1961.
Stockholm Transport Museum
If you haven't heard of Rod Liddle, he has been called controversial. In this six and a half minute video he plays it strictly for laughs, but as will be made clear when you watch it, not everyone shares his sense of humour. It remains to be seen if all the jobsworths he encounters herein are anymore bona fide than the curious fellow who keeps popping up in the background, but the sad fact is that the jobsworth is a character it is almost impossible not to meet in Britain today, unless you shut yourself away like a hermit.
Here, Liddle focuses on people - officials and employees - who have a thing about cameras, and asks the very reasonable question, if you can film us on CCTV, why can't we film you?
A jobsworth of a somewhat older vintage is the traffic warden, who many motorists consider to be lower down the food chain than lawyers or even politicians. Here is a classic example from the Daily Mail. Traffic wardens do have their uses, but although motoring is an expensive pastime, it can be a lucrative one for local councils.
You will find jobsworths at work wherever you live in the UK or in the world. In his classic novel Animal Farm, Orwell wrote: "Much of this work was of a kind that the other animals were too ignorant to understand. For example, Squealer told them that the pigs had to expend enormous labours every day upon mysterious things called fi les, reports, minutes, and memoranda. These were large sheets of paper which had to be closely covered with writing, and as soon as they were so covered, they were burnt in the furnace. This was of the highest importance for the welfare of the farm, Squealer said."
This may be unnecessarily cynical, but not greatly so. We need a certain amount of bureaucracy; all national and local governments, indeed all organisations of any size keep written records. Statistics are often useful and sometimes indispensable. Those CCTV cameras we have all come either to despise so much or take for granted have brought many a murderer to book, but although security is a good thing, and although the traffic has to be kept moving smoothly, do we really need some self-important jackanapes following us around telling us we can't film here because I sez so?
Nobody likes bureaucracy better than socialists, including those who infest academe. Racial and sexual quotas, this bias or that, they all require monitoring, papers published in peer reviewed journals by like-minded mattoids, numerous regulations, by-laws and statutes drafted by left wing lawyers. All this is far better than working for a living and actually producing something useful.
Not that the man in the park wearing a high visibility vest knows or understands any of this, he wants to make your life difficult simply because he can.