Caught up in a tangle of red tape

PUBLISHED: 09:37 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010

IN THE words of Baz Luhrmann s 1999 hit Everybody s Free (To Wear Sunscreen), I have come to accept certain truths about the world. Some things just seem to be inevitable, and one of those is that you can t get through your life without experiencing at le

IN THE words of Baz Luhrmann's 1999 hit Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), I have come to accept certain truths about the world.

Some things just seem to be inevitable, and one of those is that you can't get through your life without experiencing at least one kind of totally ridiculous bureaucracy.

We've all been frustrated at one time or another by some type of slow, inefficient, process.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the difficulties I was having paying my phone bill, and at least for most us there are no long lasting effects, other than a lingering feeling of irritation perhaps.

Sure I was cross with BT at the time, but I'm pretty much over it now.

But it's a different story when your whole life is in the hands of other people, and they don't appear to be doing anything to solve the problem.

That's why I have a great deal of sympathy for the residents of Royston's Twigden Estate, many of whom have had their lives blighted by flooding over the last couple of years.

A report from the Highways Department on the cause of the flooding, thought to be water running off the Royston Leisure Centre car park, should have been presented to the North Herts District Council Royston area committee last week, but has now been delayed for another three months.

How can it possibly be taking so long? The Highways Agency has already had three months to conduct surveys, or do tests, or whatever it is it needs to do to get to the bottom of this, and it still hasn't finished yet.

Meanwhile, the residents in the area are left fearing for the safety of their homes every time dark clouds gather.

To me it is completely unacceptable that this is taking so long, and I can quite understand why the people concerned think that their situation is not a priority.

My message to the Highways Agency would be - get your finger out!

I'm usually the first person to stand up for the BBC, which I generally feel provides an excellent service on television, radio, and online.

But I think its decision to not to screen a charity appeal requesting aid for Gaza is a totally wrong.

As a journalist, you always strive to remain impartial as much as possible, so I can understand where the corporation's director general Mark Thompson is coming from when he says they don't want to give the impression that they are "backing one side".

However I think they are mixing their issues. Surely there are no "sides" in humanitarian work?

The people whose homes have been destroyed in this conflict are not soldiers or suicide bombers - they're just people who need the help of others to rebuild their lives.

I also think it's sad to see the BBC hiding behind the excuse that it can't guarantee that any money collected will end up with the right people.

If you can't trust some of the world's biggest aid organisations, including the Red Cross and Oxfam, to funnel cash to where it is needed, then who can you trust?

Hopefully common sense will prevail, and this decision will be reversed ASAP.

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