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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Government departments are named after whatever it is they seek to prevent

Such as the Department of Trade and Industry, or the Department of Education, for example. Yes, I know it is an old joke but… is it really a joke?

13 comments to Government departments are named after whatever it is they seek to prevent

  • anonymous coward

    If this arrangement is new to Britain, I am surprised, for it has been customary in the United States for many decades. Public education here selects its teachers for their dullness and willingness to drudge away in mind-killing “education” courses. The undergraduate majors in “education,” and minors in a subject such as English. Bright and active minds that want to teach first collect degrees in their subjects (English, German, Physics) and then teach in a private school.

    Take a look at the faculties of the secondary schools attended by Bush and Kerry (and any of best private schools in the US) and you will find hardly anyone who has an education degree, or even took one education course. Instead they know their stuff, they love to teach it, and judging by where their charges go on to university, they seem to do a good job despite their lack of credentials. Mr. Jones-Parry would get no further in applying to teach in the US public schools than he has in Britain, and he wouldn’t have 70 years ago, either.

    BTW, there is an Ed.D. degree here; the recipients are especially eager to call each other “doctor,” instead of “mister.”

  • I’ve often thought that one of the better things about Britain is that, as yet, there is no “Department of Justice”.

  • Ken

    Yep. Take a look at the nearly empty sky, and thank the Federal Aviation Administration, which is charged with keeping aviation to a minimum.

    And of course the Federal Communications Commission, which keeps most of the radio spectrum filled with nothing but static, and limits the communication that does take place.

  • Given the way that the US State Department seems to be dominated by Tranzis — i.e. post-nationalists bent on eliminating the State — it would seem to be a prime example.

  • The British Foreign Office is aptly named since it puts the interests of other countries before its own.

  • From the article:

    “We are not being bureaucratic, we just don’t have the power to issue it unless it has has been through the process.”

    There must be something nuanced about that sentence that I’m missing.

  • Guy Herbert

    No Department of Justice? Not for long, Brian.

    See here.


    In law and order, we will bring back community policing through record police numbers and CSOs and street wardens and complete the reorganisation of the CJS, which is already seeing falls in ineffective trials, rises in fine enforcement and greater numbers of offenders brought to justice.

    Which is code for creating a Department of Justice under EUROJUST and “approximating” criminal procedure.

    I suggest that by “ineffective trials” the PM means prosecutions abandoned and/or defendants being found not guilty.

  • Julian Taylor

    No better example could ever possibly be used than:

    Ministry of Agriculture

    They totally, completely and disastrously managed to almost wipe out the livestock farming industry in the UK last year but that wasn’t enough … they then changed the name to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, just in time to abolish fox hunting. They have also assisted in redeclaring what where previously ‘greenfield’ sites as ‘brownfield’ sites, under John ‘More chins than the Shanghai White Pages’ Prescott’s plans to create another 200,000 homes in the South East. I dread to think what they have in plan for our food now to complete the hattrick.

    Incidentally, Prescott’s numbers nicely coincide with Blunkett’s annual figures for imported … oops “migrant” …. labour

  • Guy Herbert

    Blair covered that too, Julian. It really was a key announcement of the new caring totalitarianism:

    Many of these diseases result from life-style factors, such as smoking and obesity caused by unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.

    Striking a balance between advancing public health, and not interfering unduly in lifestyle choices, is never easy; but there is general agreement that we could do more to tackle smoking and obesity in particular, promoting the health of teenagers as much as of older people.

    We will address this in our forthcoming White Paper on public health, making it easier for people to make healthy choices about eating, living and working in smoke-free environments, and taking more exercise.

    We will look carefully at measures that protect young children from pressures to make unhealthy choices – such as those from the excessive advertising of foods high in sugar, salt and fat.

    One suspects that “making it easier for people to make healthy choices” actually means restricting freedom to do things that the state deems unhealthy.

  • And the US Drug Enforcement Agency has yet, to my knowledge, to force anyone to take drugs.

  • Acad Ronin

    Time to return the name of the Dept. of Defense to the Dept. of War.

  • Julian Taylor

    Ah, but in the UK the “Ministry of Defence” used to be called the “War Department”, in an age when government departments actually meant what they were named.