And so, a new decade has dawned and yet, in contrast to the previous ten years of excess, squander, and living beyond ones means, the spirit of this age has turned out to be ‘thrift’, ‘cost cutting’ and ‘austerity’. To it’s credit the government has turned to the people for ideas on how the bloated deficits of the world’s nations can be slashed, their departments downsized and the over-privileged fat cats of the public sector quangos pulled back from the trough and sent to the slaughterhouse.
In keeping with this zeitgeist I have been thumbing through my books in search of inspiration. Take this example from one of my father’s tomes entitled ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam’ by Yahiya Emerick. Next to a technical diagram showing the major postures of the Islamic prayer is a text box called ‘Ask the Iman’. It reads:
‘When a person or group begins to pray, any angels who are nearby come and join in the prayer. The angels then report back to God and tell him what His servants are doing, though he already knows.
Now this strikes me as a prime example of an unnecessary and frankly gratuitous extra level of bureaucracy. Why Allah the almighty – an omniscient being, let us remember – needs a vast department of cosmic civil servants running around spying on his creations is anyone’s guess; especially when He can read their minds whenever he feels like it. What we see here is state spending out of control; creating unsustainable government jobs merely for the sake of it. Axeing whole of this lower tier of angels would be a considerable efficiency saving and achieve at least a 40% spending cut.
Matters get worse when we refer to the pit of hellfire; probably the worst run subterranean organisation outside of London Underground.
Nineteen angels patrol the summit, their sole role being to push the damned back in when they try to crawl out; a simple electric fence and a coating of Vaseline around the sides of the pit would do the job just as well without having to shell out market rate for 19 jailor’s salaries and their inventory of ‘smiting’ equipment. Furthermore there is no need for seven separate levels of hell fire, particularly when the last of these has to be heated up to 70 times hotter than fire on this planet. A single incinerator with inmates housed at different levels would be much more efficient without sacrificing on the unpleasantness of the overall inmate experience. Here too there is room for some consolidation, for example there is no need for the haughty and the mighty to be subject to different levels of temperature when the facilities can be centralised and standardised.
Nor do there really need to be separate forms of punishments for the damned. According to the book, faultfinders have to ‘scratch their faces with iron nails’, liars have to ‘rip out their cheeks with iron bars’ and greedy ‘will be bitten by snakes’. Instead it would be far cheaper to issue the whole lot with copies of now redundant New Labour papers on ‘Best Practice Strategies in Public Sector Management’ and ‘Controlling Wellbeing in the Work Force’ and have them read passages aloud to one other.
These cuts will be painful on the celestial workforce. Some of them might even join Shaytan and his devils. But it will be a price worth paying for a leaner, more sustainable organisation which will serve as an example to mankind.