Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Slipped Disc in Iowa

The surprising thing about the UK Drivers Licence people losing their data in Iowa, is not that it got lost, but what on earth was it doing in Iowa in the first place?
Surely there must be enough intelligent Central Europeans in the UK who could have marked these papers for them?
And then take Iowa itself. There are a good many Americans who are probably a bit uncertain as to where it is. About the only real advocate for the place was Meredith Wilson who wrote “The Music Man” as something of a tribute to his home state which included a song “The Iowa Way.” Perhaps it was this that swayed the DVLA to ship the information out there – they must have thought it was a safe place for it, a state where a new set of bib and brace overalls and a pair of Tuf boots is regarded as haute couture.
Most of its famous sons and daughters have taken steps to leave it in their rear view mirror as being the best view and it rarely features on the tourist route.
Bill Bryson was born there in Des Moines, the capital, and I'm not sure that he's even been back.
But the question remains. Why was it necessary to involve a company from outside the UK to do what would appear to be a routine job of marking simple exam papers?
I hope that the discs included a handy glossary for the Americans to explain the difference between a hood and a bonnet to say nothing of a trunk and a boot. British learner drivers should, perhaps, be grateful if the standards being applied are those of the United States.
When I took my test there, the questions were hardly challenging.
“Gee, you did real good,” said the lady, “You done ten out of ten right.”


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