If you are young and jobless and British, then have no fear - Tony Blair's Government will soon be sending you on a basic "entry-to-employment" course.
You will be taught how to get to work on time. They supply an alarm clock and explain how to use it. That's a million clocks they are giving away. It's going to cost a fortune, but who's counting?
Our proud Royal Air Force recently paid for one of its female officers to retrain as a pole dancer. There is absolutely no military advantage in knowing how to pole dance. The officer concerned simply filled in a training request form and was paid to get her kit off. You can see the result any night of the week in a London club …. she's now earning big bucks, minus her uniform.
But in a country that recently spent 35 billion dollars on a warplane that can't even fly in clouds, this should come as no surprise. When it comes to wasting money no government does it better than the British government.
According to an unofficial forthcoming publication - the Bumper Book of Government Waste - we squander 140 billion dollars every year. Just the other day a top Civil Servant accused Government Departments of "pouring money down the drain." I quote his words exactly.
They wasted 70 million dollars trying to build a failsafe government computer system. You know what. It failed.
There are consultants earning fat cat fees all over Whitehall - they often get multiple pay providing identical advice to different branches of government. That's when they're not dreaming up even sillier ways to squander our pounds. Like the British penitentiary that hired a pagan priest to look after the spiritual needs of three inmates who'd decided to convert to paganism.
Like the Government scheme to teach senior citizens how to wear slippers. No don't laugh. This is serious. Elderly people are in mortal danger if they put on ill-fitting footwear. They could take a tumble. Think of the litigation. It is much cheaper to give them all new slippers. And that's exactly what happened.
Fear of lawyers has also created a bizarre new line in government employment - official seed removers. The government pays for schoolchildren to eat healthy fruit. Good idea. But apples and pears have seeds. A choke-hazard folks. So now an army of de-seeders take out the naughty bits at our expense.
And it all adds up. Even that six week long all expenses paid fact finding mission to San Francisco. Two policemen were sent there to study gay community relations. Come to think of it, did they ever come back?
by Ed Boyle
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.