Inbox Anonymous

I was going to write about the latest survey that classes us a national of hopelessly addicted email junkies but I’m torn between this and the latest revelation that more than £1.5 billion of our taxes has been frittered-away on useless or cancelled IT Projects. The urge to shout “Told you so” is remarkably strong but then I suspect the figure comes as no great surprise to any of us and it’s probably half as much again if the different ‘Pilot’ projects aren’t included in the expenses column.

I’m referring of course to a leaked report from Peter Gershon’s ‘Office of Government Commerce’ (OGC), which of late, has been busy consolidating all the government’s IT costs into a single club with which to beat the different IT vendors with and very successfully too by all reports.

Pathway, the IT equivalent of The Dome, was the biggest single mistake for the Benefits & Fraud office at £698 million but since 1999 we’ve managed to make Britain the best possible place for e-squandering and notched-up another £800 million, oops!

Has anyone been sacked or lost their index-linked pension? I think not somehow. If any IT Manager blew a million away in the private sector – unless perhaps he worked for AOL -Time Warner – he’d be toast but in the public sector, it’s possible to sleep at night, knowing that £100 million or so of one’s responsibility is about to go ‘Tits-up’.

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that they are sorry and it won’t happen again, because a Centres of Excellence (CoE) are to be created to oversee project management in future. This inspires confidence and to me, sounds like one of Sir Humphrey Appleby’s ‘Ministry of Administrative Affairs’.

What I am sure of is that over the next three years, the Health Service is going to blow millions and you know what, I still won’t be able to get an appointment with my poor overworked doctor inside two weeks.

Back briefly to the email survey then. This shows that 30% of us can't make it through the day without checking our inbox. Sadly, I know from experience what this means, a hopeless, compulsive addiction to email which prevents me from being separated from my Blackberry PDA or my laptop.

How one cures this 21st century disease, now described in the psychiatric journals as ‘PDA Attention Deficit Disorder’? I can't say but perhaps the only solution is to go 'Cold Turkey', ship me and thousands like me to some remote desert and leave us to survive without a laptop for a while. Some of course will crack under the strain of knowing that their inbox is steadily filling-up with unread messages but others might just remember what life was once like before the introduction of digital slavery when work was nine to five and not 24*7*365.


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