The Steamie

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Chris Mackie: Won't get fooled again!

Hands up who fell for an April Fool gag this morning.

Aside from the humourous efforts in our national newspapers this morning (including The Scotsman - see if you can spot it, hoax fans) only one political party has come out to play on this, the day of japery and laughter.
The Tories put out an April Fool press release, backed by a rather impressive looking spoof website (http://www.dogw.co.uk/) advertising the entirely fictional Whitehall office - the Department of Government Waste.
Headed by the enigmatic minister Robin Ewe (geddit?), the DoGW was apparently set up in 1997 and has the mission statement:

“At the Department of Government Waste, spending your money is not just a privilege; it’s a duty. Our track record over the last 13 years is one of goal-realisation, spending-prioritisation, and waste-maximisation. And we will go on developing further waste streams if Labour win the next election. So if you want 5 more years of government waste, make sure you vote Labour on Polling Day.”
Today's press release purported to highlight a new report from the DoGW that, unlike many ministerial departments in the UK at present, its civil servants had hit all of their targets contained within their "challenging delivery agenda".
The department's achievements include - wait for it - "a systematic lack of competence"; "diseconomies stemming from over-reaching Government"; "challenging the belief that taxpayers’ money should be respected" and "pushing the boundaries of wasteful spending".
While the website and release do eventually help any sleepy hacks by revealing the entirely fictional nature of the department, the Tories do make the point that all of the examples of wasteful spending included within, are drawn from the last 13 years of government.
It's easy to groan about such lame gags as Robin Ewe, but as a way of pushing a political message its playful nature is certainly more engaging than some of the petty tribalism and points-scoring-at-all-costs we occasionally receive in our in-boxes.

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