Thursday, 29 January 2009

More bureaucracy please, we're British

I hate bureaucracy and I hate it with a passion. I hate it if I witness it from afar and I hate it even more when it's closer to home. I hate the fact that it stifles invention and I hate the fact that it always seems to be a hapless bureaucrat with zero grip on reality who is enforcing it. And what I hate (the last one I promise) even more than bureaucracy itself is a government spouting absolute nonsense about 'entrepreneurial Britain' and 'small and medium sized enterprises being the lifeblood of the economy' and then doing all it can to suck them into a quagmire of endless form-filling, box-ticking, flag-waving etc etc. For example, I got a phone call from the Office of National Statistics enquiring why we hadn't completed a form informing them of how many job vacancies we had on 1st January 2009. I explained that we were two people short of a full team and we didn't have the time. They didn't get the joke and threatened to fine us if we didn't complete the form!

Now to the real bone of contention: I just want to run a tea business; selling great tea to anyone who cares to join me. I have done this for almost two years and for said period, I have placed a small number of tables and chairs outside (which is a pedestrianised area) for anyone brave enough to take a chance on the British weather. Today however, I have been told that we are violating City of London's strict regulations on outdoor seating (despite the government spouting more nonsense about trying to make Britain fall in love with the outdoor cafe culture) and that we are in line for a fine. Oh yes, 2009 is the year of the fine, which is fine because as a business we are doing fine!

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