I presume use of “on a go-forward basis” declined as we began slipping and then freefalling backwards. Ministers of the Crown or City Councillors can’t very well go before the microphones saying, instead, “We’ll consult stakeholders on a ‘plunging-to-our-death’ basis” or “on an inclusive ‘Davy Jones’-locker-for-us-all’ basis.”
The new catch-all buzz phrase is “Best Practices.” Apparently we are going to start adopting these. That we have been doing otherwise all these years is as hard to fathom as it is easy to see.
For a number of reasons – routine corruption, endemic cronyism, anti-intellectualism, just plain pigheadedness – we’ve long employed “expedient practices,” “spurious practices” and, perhaps most destructively, “usual practices.” For a long time it was the usual practice here to turn a blind eye to certain “unnatural practices.”
“Best” is a fuzzy word too, isn’t it? It’s a qualitative assessment, not unlike “nice.” No one is boldly announcing we are moving to a rigorous new regime of “tested” or “most rational” practices. We should be stinking rich but are purportedly confronting hysterical “bankruptcy.” I think by any measure if we were looking for the most successful State management of common natural resources we’d have to consider Norway’s. But their methods aren’t “best” for us because … well, I’m not sure why they aren’t.
When the brainless Bull Terrier is awarded “Best in Show” over the clearly more winning Dachshund how are we supposed to know that the latter reminded the judge of an ex-husband. One person’s “best” can be another’s “meh.”
We could try “better practices” but that is even more a confession of past mistakes. “Better practices” would mean sacking the former practitioners and when was the last time a patronage appointment was let go for incompetence, laziness, or insanity? We don’t do that here. We favour takers over makers.
(The appointing of political pals to juicy sinecures, our Newfie nomenklatura, is actually a “Worst Practice,” not because it’s immoral, but because we pay twice, once in generous salary and then, more often than not, to clean up after them.)
Besides who really wants the most qualified candidate for a position introduced into the workplace? They’ll only raise standards and so increase expectations. It’s canny, ambitious bastards who surround themselves with people brighter and more talented than themselves. That’s not us.
Our backs are to the wall, but it’s a new day and with some ways, like those of the current City Council, now identified as “cocked-up practices,” we declare that we are going to start doing things right for a change. Not just, right, goddamn it, but “best!”
It’s a lot to ask. If we stand up too fast we’ll likely hit our heads or get dizzy and fall over. I suggest we might start slowly, take a more gradual approach to civic and national improvement. Let’s begin with “not-as-misguided-as-before practices” or “not-utterly egregious practices” so that we have the best, or at least a better, okay … remotely possible … chance of success.