Justin Thyme

Baa humbug

Meanwhile in New Zealand, we report a sighting of that rare beast, the “consultant-who-borrows-your-watch-joke”. Step forward in shame writer Rufus Dawe, who backs his mouldy old jest up with a highly relevant story about an encounter with a lone consultant in the ’50s. We take some comfort that this is probably the last sighting of the watch joke before it meets a frozen end in the icy wastes of Antarctica. Meanwhile we suggest Mr Dawes takes a leaf out of the book of a fellow countryman sheep-breeder-turned managemement consultant Don Hunn, who says of consultancy: “It surely beats bending over sheep all day.”

Poetic licence

Oh for a muse of fire … a sudden gust of poetry has derailed the consultancy industry. First we receive nine stanzas on the topic of the consultant’s life from one Chris Sangster: space forbids reproduction of the whole, but here’s a sample burst featuring a neat bit of enjambment:

Knows all the theories, statistics and studies

Delivers at teach-ins, a star in the muddy

-like pool of conformity, leading the field

An expert in product flows, QA and yield …

Then we learn that Coopers & Lybrand too have been disturbing the muddy-like pool of conformity with a series of poems on cards intended to kickstart clients into creative thinking. For example, this couplet from Barbara Babij:

“Brainstorming can kick start thoughts from a group

Energy will be high and folks will not droop”

I’m a little worried about the scansion here which forces you into “EnergEE” but it’s a start. Perhaps the neatly enjambed Mr Sangster could offer Coopers some assistance?

Suds u like

We carry on our intermittent feature: “brother of the more famous”.It appears that prominent people often have brothers or sisters in. the management consultancy industry, who quietly stack away the dosh while their better known siblings take all the media flak. For example, last year we reported that the manager of Oasis not only has a brother in the senior echelons of Andersen Consulting but is by all accounts the quieter and more reserved of the two.

Now we discover that Home Secretary Jack Straw has a younger brother, Ed, who is a consultancy partner at Coopers. Since the election frere Jacques has been entertaining us with his eccentric views on social engineering (you know, compulsory bedtime stories, capital punishment in nursery schools, a nationwide “grass up your kids” campaign), and now Ed, (who is also chairman of relationship counselling body Relate) is calling for social education through the medium of the soap opera.

Straw minor wants soap operas to eschew their non-stop diet of incest, Aids and bodies under the patio and help promote good parenting with positive storylines. I support his stand: after all the generation that grew up in the ’50s didn’t get all this misery, instead subsisting on a non-stop diet of Muffin the Mule, Dixon of Dock Green and Mrs Dale’s Diary. And what did we get: the Swinging Sixties, the country’s greatest decade for sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and related hullabaloo. The campaign for tedious moral homilies on telly starts here.

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