Sunday, February 24, 2008

It Takes Two to Quango

The other day I wrote a piece wherein I used the word 'quango.' It occurred to me later that I was not really sure what a quango was. Nothing new there I hear you say. I did know, however, that quangos were a very expensive luxury item costing the British taxpayer millions of pounds each year, money that those ignorant of or outside of the booming quango market, might think would be better spent elsewhere.
Items such as body armour for the troops, a system for retrieving lost government data discs or providing one way tickets for the undesirables of the nation spring to mind. Funding to complete the job so lamentably handled by Guido Fawkes was originally on the list but, on reflection, they would just have rebuilt the place, installed another bunch of free loaders and sent the bill to the taxpayer.
Turning to my trusty Oxford English Dictionary, I find that, along with a bunch of interesting 'qu' words, 'quango' is sandwiched between 'quandary,' a state of uncertainty and 'quant,' which is a pole used to push punts out of mud. Rather appropriate, thought I.
But the OED has few doubts. It starts of by saying 'Chiefly derogatory' and goes on to explain just why they cost the taxpayer so much money. It says: ' A semi-public administrative body with financial support from and senior appointments made by government.'
So now you know why quangos are so expensive. All you need is to find out how to become one.


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