Monday, February 02, 2009

Snow Joke

Unbef******lievable. The Department of Work & Pensions, you know, the department which is supposed to encourage work, has given its entire staff the afternoon off ... to enjoy the snow.

So while half the country struggles to get to work, a government department sends home those of its staff who actually made it in. No doubt this sends out a subtle message to the rest of the country, and indeed those on strike in energy outlets all round the country.

If anyone sees James Purnell in the street, throw a snowball at him and tell him to get back to work. It's the only language he understands.

41 comments:

Oliver Drew said...

Unreal. If people have made it into work then why should they be sent home? Insanity.

I can understand people not going in if the conditions are bad, but if you have gotten in....

Grrrrr...here I am at work as ususal...and I'm not being let off to "enjoy the snow"!!!

NudeEel said...

Meanwhile on BoJo's watch, TfL HQ has resembled a ghost ship all day (single figures on one authoritative midday count).

I'm sure if you'd been told that first hand Dale, you'd have made as much as a song and dance about it. You would wouldn't you?

Iain Dale said...

I ususally have a policy of never replying to people who are so impolite as to just call me Dale, but I will make an exception in your deluded case.

Clearly you are too thick to draw a distinction between an organisation actually telling its staff to go home "to enjoy the staff" and one where people have been unable to get to work.

But TFL is such a joke of an organisation under Hendy that it wouldn't surprise me if they had done the same as the DWP. In case you haven't noticed I regularly call for Boris to sack Hendy, because until he does, the culture at TFL will remain the same.

NudeEel said...

Oh, and btw, Purnell is doing DWP questions atm and has been for the best part of an hour. I'm no big fan of Sammy Sideburns but I think in any politico's book, this probably counts as work.

Alex said...

Does wonders for the unemployment statistics:

If everybody takes the day off, nobody is unemployed.

Lord Allesley said...

Lord Allesley is rather hoping the treasury would tell all its staff to go home and enjoy the snow. On other days they should stay away to enjoy the sunshine, the rain, the frost...anything really so long as they stay away and stop finding new ways to increase taxation.

LA

Johnny Norfolk said...

This just represents the whole attitude of Labours civil service.
Dont do as we do do as we say

dynamite said...

Pretty pathetic. Did my eyes deceive me – or did I say the Leader of the HM Opposition frolicking in the snow on the telly this morning, in a spontaneous snowball fight to which the press were invited? Also quite pitiful.

Faceless Bureaucrat said...

"If anyone sees James Purnell in the street, throw a snowball at him and tell him to get back to work. It's the only language he understands."

F**k the snowball - use a brick!

AND he was probably chauffeured in via a Ministerial Car!!!

Lazy ****....

simon said...

"To enjoy the staff", Iain? Good lord.

To be fair to the DWP, a number of big private companies in London, including the one I work for, are sending staff home early because more snow is forecast and the journey home is likely to be a nightmare later on

JuliaM said...

What!!

Grrrr.....

Dick Puddlecote said...

Just about all our high street shops closed around 3 today to avoid staff getting stuck on their way home after hearing weather reports.

If Threshers is shut though, there will be hell to pay!

Andy said...

Looking at the weather forecasts and the recommendations from the Met Office, it is probably a smart move to send people home early so that they can actually get home rather than keep them in until 5/6pm and have them stuck for the night in town...
Poor choice of attack Iain.

canvas said...

Iain, lots of people could get stranded on the journey home - the snow is getting heavier. Lots of responsible employers are quite rightly telling their staff to go home early.

I think you're after some cheap political points here...

very cheap.

Andy said...

Also aren't you being "impolite" calling Hendy, Hendy?

Iain Dale said...

Andy, if that were the reason given you might have a point. But I am told the reason given was "to enjoy the snow".

Iain Dale said...

Canvas, I refer the hon Lady to the answer given above.

Andy, probably.

Paul Linford said...

Leadership bid by Purnell.

canvas said...

Iain, it's the same thing. Have you no compassion? 'Enjoy the snow' is just a nice way of saying 'off you go'. Have you lost your heart and your sense of humour. Come on, be human!!! You're enjoying the snow too.

Salmondnet said...

A serious question for once. All the major roads in my area of London have been easily passable since seven o'clock this morning. Is this unique, or was the cancellation of all London buses a gross over reaction?

Mostly Ordinary said...

Sending people home early when the transport system has ground to a halt it hardly taking the piss. Telling people to "go enjoy the snow" should like a friendly way of telling people to go home. Have you had a sense of humour bypass today?

Bored21 said...

Brilliant Iain.

Picture this if you will. Staff spend hours in the snow trying to get to work. When they do they are there with only a handful of others instead of 2-300 on a usual day.

They have zero security but still decide to open to privide a public service.

The first customer through the door is violent and its decided for safety of staff and customers to close early.The staff spend 2 hours re arranging all appointmenst and then face a tough journey home.

They turn on the computer to see you trying to score cheap political points.

Of course it would never snow if you ot were in power would it???

Patrick McGroin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cb said...

I went to work today. We ran a skeleton service. We were sent home at 3pm so we could get home before it got dark. Nothing to do with enjoyment really.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I went to work in London today. (Government organisation which shall be nameless.) 100 miles there and 100 miles back. Some delays on the road but nothing too drastic. Found on arrival I was one of only a very few who had managed to turn up.

Stuart King said...

Interesting how many of these outraged comments were posted during working hours.

Grim Reaper said...

What's your source for this? I can't find it anywhere in the mainstream media...

Iain Dale said...

That's cos I didn't get it from the mainstream media.

no longer anonymous said...

Why can't they work from home via email?

Andrew said...

Iain, sorry but I'm going to have to agree with the other commenters. By luck I had today and tomorrow booked off work (Canary Wharf), but called in anyway to see who had managed to get in.

About 20% had come into work, and everyone was allowed to go home at 1pm to make sure they could get home ok. I can easily imagine a light-hearted line manager encouraging his/her staff to go home now and enjoy the snow, so I'd say you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

Iain Dale said...

[bangs head on desk in a Mandelsonian manner]. I agree. I'd happily have let people go in those circumstances. But as I have now explained three times (do you people actually bother to read?) that's not what happened here. The DWP told people to take the rest of the day off to "enjoy the snow". There is a difference and I am surprised that you and so many others cannot see that.

Chelsea SW3 Girl said...

and meanwhile Dave and Carol play in the snow....
http://chelsea-sw3-girl.blogspot.com/2009/02/david-cameron-plays-with-carol.html

canvas said...

Iain says> "The DWP told people to take the rest of the day off to "enjoy the snow". There is a difference and I am surprised that you and so many others cannot see that."

Iain, it's called nuance. It means in human speak "Off you go" !

Have a heart!!!!

simon said...

As Andrew says, it seems like a touchy-feely light-hearted way of doing what every other big organisation, public or private, was doing anyway.

I don't know if 'enjoy the snow' was the official wording or an off-the-cuff remark from a jolly HR person and maybe they should have been more aware of the possibility of malign misinterpretation but I really don't think this is an example of public-sector featherbedding.

Noag said...

Yes, Iain, we people do bother to read. We just don't think it actually happened as you're suggesting. Any chance "enjoy the snow" came at the end of a message about treacherous weather conditions and the need for everybody to get home? Sounds much more likely.

tiredoflondon said...

I think that's absolutely awesome. We all work way to hard anyway. What's it all for?

Mark Valladares said...

Iain,

HM Revenue & Customs staff were sent home on a team by team basis. Weather forecasts were watched by my local management until just after noon, when the weather closed in for a while. At that point, we were sent home as there were fears that some might not make it later on.

At that point, there were precious few buses, heavily disrupted tube and train services, and advice on some lines that only essential journeys should be undertaken.

That said, the phones were quieter than I've experienced for a long time, so we clearly weren't alone in closing down.

Ironically, the weather was pretty good this evening, and I could have stayed at my desk until my normal 7 p.m. had the opportunity presented itself. Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The 'enjoy the snow' comment sounds like typical Civil Service black humour to me...

4x4 the people said...

If I lived in a country where heavy falls of snow were infrequent and possibly years apart I would think it absurd to spend billions on infrastructure for those rare times. I would think it was cheaper, and safer, given peoples' lack of experience in dealing with such conditions, if most people just stayed at home for a couple of days.

Fortunately I live in a country currently experiencing daily 45C temperatures so sucks to be you.

Thatsnews said...

Job Centre Plus call centre staff were sent home. Much to their annoyance.

prh47bridge said...

This story doesn't ring true.

My wife used to work for the DWP until a month or so ago. We are talking about an organisation that gives people written warnings if they have too many days off sick, even if they are in hospital having an operation. Someone in my wife's office had to have an operation to remove a cataract and was told before the operation that she would receive a written warning as she would be off work for 2 weeks.

When there was a serious gas leak in the road outside the DWP office, other businesses in the area shut down and sent their staff home because of the explosion risk. The DWP just told its staff to keep away from that side of the building.

Serious adverse weather conditions would result in staff living more than 10 miles from the office being sent home. Remaining staff would then stop their normal work and just cover the phones for the rest of the day.

If there is any truth in this at all (and I note that reports elswhere either describe it as unconfirmed or quote this blog as the source), it will be a flippant remark by an HR person. There is absolutely no way the DWP my wife worked for would act as described.

Primly_Stable said...

Come on Iain, I think it's obvious to everyone that the "enjoy the snow" line was simply an attempt at humour by some HR drone who was letting people leave a little early rather than a serious instruction from the fun-loving Mr Purnell.

Who knows, maybe you have evidence to the contrary. But as you still haven't provided anything at all to back up your allegation, we'll just have to make assumptions...