Why feedback is quintessential bollocks.

Impenetrable grovelling is with us once again

When I was sixteen and trying to form a band (weren’t we all?) there was a thing you’d get from old-fashioned amplifiers. It was called feedback, and it was the most ear-gouging sound you can imagine. Today we have politico-business feedback which is of a similar order.

Oddly, in its most irritating form it is inaudible. So it was for my daughter earlier this week, stuck for 36 hours in Bangkok. British Airways’ feedback consisted of ‘We will be boarding our delayed flight BA 0010 at 22.45 this evening’. That was 12 hours into the future, and after 24 hours of waiting around.

The same was true for the poor devils queuing outside St Pancras station over the last two days, trying to get everywhere from Edinburgh to Paris. When similar stuff happens on South West Rail, there’s a scuggy old blackboard with the words ‘No trians tooday‘ on it. They put it next to the threat of prosecution if you board without a ticket. This in turn is close by the sign saying ‘Ticket Office Closed’.

The man running Heathsnow told the media his people would be ‘crawling all over the problem’ today, but not why they’d been useless for the last three. Obviously, his people hadn’t been listening to the Met Office’s feedback, which had been warning everyone of deep snow and sub-zero temperatures for some five days beforehand.

Last night, Skype went down (at what must be one of the busiest times of the year for them) and tweeted what the problem was. Course, if you’re not sad enough to follow @Skype on Twitter, you heard about it on BBCNews around 10 pm. Skype’s feedback was that they’d suffered ‘a surfeit of outage’. I was pretty outraged myself, not least because I haven’t a clue what outage is.

Most software feedback assumes that everyone is a geek blessed with the ability to read runes. ‘An unexpected error has occurred’ is my favourite, but some of it positively increases one’s anxiety: ‘This file has been copied and may be used by another programme or be incompatible with Unzip. Confirm?’ Durrr

After Vince Cable’s confirmation that Rupert Murdoch is a failed arse transplant last Tuesday, David Cameron said at his joint press conference with Clegg that he had formed ‘a Ministerial Resilience Committee’ to deal with such occasions in the future. Did anyone in that gathering know what he meant?

It would be nice – just for Christmas – to call a truce on the Campaign to Hide From & Bamboozle the Public, would it not? So in that spirit, The Slog offers this drivel-free feedback at the end of its first year:

THANKYOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS

There may be other Slogposts, and there may not.

This is because I need some feedback from the garage as to whether they can tow us to the main road or not. And from AA Roadwatch about whether the route we’re taking is now under five feet of permafrost or not.

I tried to get feedback from the Council about whether (a) the Recycling Men would be back in 2010 and (b) when our road would be gritted, if ever. But that was always going to be a wasted exercise.

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

The Editor

14 thoughts on “Why feedback is quintessential bollocks.

  1. Looked out for you on the recent Victor Meldrew tribute programme – surprisingly you weren’t featured. (Shurely some mistake? – Ed)

    Merry Christmas anyway, hope you have a good one!

  2. Thank you for all your efforts of putting your thoughts down in this and other blogs throughout the year.

    A Happy Christmas and all the best for 2011

    Ron

  3. John,
    You might be interested in the latest ‘leak’ I have from our local authority workers as it might explain your grit problems too……..

    ‘’……has been told not to plough and grit at the same time. This is for health and safety reasons as they are two separate jobs and doing both at the same time would affect concentration levels. He has also been sent on a course to learn how to climb in and out of a tractor cab.’’

    Now the lunatics really have taken over the asylum!

    Merry Xmas from the frozen North.

  4. “… Rupert Murdoch is a failed arse transplant…” not often I laugh out loud whilst reading, but I did at that one! I did wonder whether the arse rejected Murdoch though…

    Thanks for all the insightful stuff this last year John; looking forward to lots more to come.

    All the best for a Merry Christwintervalmas.

    C

  5. Quintessential bollocks it certainly is. Today’s politician, or senior person in any walk of life, aims to speak, and keep on and on speaking, using words and strange combinations of words, which suggest to the listener that his failure fo understand what is being spoken must be his own fault. Of course, the politician’s other aim is acually to say nothing at all, because he cannot then be held to account for his words at a later stage. Bollocks is the result. And it’s not a new phenomenon, although lessons have been learned, they’re very good at it these days. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “My opponent can compress the most words into the fewest ideas of anyone I’ve ever known.”

  6. John, let me join others here in wishing you and the family a very Happy Christmas & Successful New Year.
    Your straight-talking deconstruction of bollocks spewed from every orifice of government, banks and the Establishment should be a must read for anybody who wants help to understand the world of PC, lies and spin. This blog is one of my favourite reads.
    rgds
    BT

  7. This is one of my favourite sites and I check at least twice a day for the latest bollocks exposure.

    Thanks for all your work this year.

    Merry Christmas.

  8. A very Happy Christmas to you Mr Ward, you have been on top form of late, giving us all much to think about over the break, please keep it up!

  9. Dear John,
    As always you have something new to say in a witty way. Do not despair at the snow which must go by May 2011 latest. Just sit and wait while plundering the wine cellar.
    Some comments on the post. One might say that s**t happens, and indeed Saint Vince is one such. Any politician who talks to two strangers and blathers on about inside information is vain or stupid and possibly both. As it seems that several other Lib Dems have also been caught out, the Vain Stupid description fits. You could also throw in Deceitful too.
    As to the snow on your road call you local councillor and read him/her/it the riot act. Not enough people do bother with direct telephone contact with Councillors (I speak from experience). They, the councillors, don;t like it. Emails and letters to newspapers they can ignore.
    Finally my best guess as to what a Council for Resilience is, is to assume it is a cabal put together to keep the slippery Lib Dems under control – they make two facing ways an art.
    Happy Christmas

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