An ex-colonel in the British army is a member of the senior team in one of my leading public sector clients. Last night I dreamt about them. They were fighting a war with a neighbouring authority and I had to convince the team that the job of leading the troops should be given to the man who’d actually been to war. They also seemed to believe that they could manage this without the public noticing any deterioration in service delivery. I worked hard to disabuse them of this idea, arguing that the public knew very well there was a war on, and in any case they simply didn’t have the money to cover the fighting and the rest of the organisation’s job as they’d done it in previous years. Somehow children’s services weren’t part of this discussion.
In the end, the whole debate became both silly and long-winded enough to wake me up. Obviously the public sector cuts in the Comprehensive Spending Review have sunk deeper into my sub-conscious than I realised.
At the same time, I have just finished reading Danielle Trussoni‘s Angelology. This is also a story about battles conducted in a rarified atmosphere by more-than-ordinary beings who are rapidly losing their powers of persuasion and force, and who go to increasingly bizarre extremes to protect their position.
The parallels could be said to go further. Both rest on some very shaky narrative assumptions: in one case about desirable and sustainable outcomes in a post-peak-oil world, and in the other about the information the audience might actually want or need to make sense of the story unfolding in front of them. (After this point, the analogy tears under the unexpected weight.)
The remaining question is which is better written: George Osborne’s stab at history or Trussoni’s movie concept. (Good for her that it’s optioned, mind you.) Sadly, despite poverty of content, missed ambition and sorry outcomes, the writing palm has to go to the Treasury.