The excellent folks over at the WeLoveLocalGovernment blog have posted this morning about Christmas. My thoughts have been turning in a similar direction as we get closer to the big day.
The tide of events this year has changed the character of many workplaces I know in this run up to Christmas. Despite the encouragement of Ministers to ensure that Christmas is properly recognised publicly public sector organisations I know are being wary. The thought of any Christmas related spending fetching up in the payments over £500 list or in an FoI is enough to curdle any brandy butter.
And many of us out here in the trenches of the war on the deficit already carry far too many wounds already to be fooled for an instant by any cessation of sniping. Or by any warbling rendition of Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht coming from the opposition positions where mirth and merriment seem strangely unconfined.
No, it’s better to sit with your pals in your crumbling dug out – the budget for trench repairs having been cut – and make merry in whatever way you can. If one of the enemy happens to wander over as part of a Christmas Truce we can always hold them to ransom for some of their turkey.
Of course there’s also the risk of a visit to our dug-out from someone from our own high command. Unlikely, but you never know. Our slumbers have been broken every now and then by the sound of heavily laden staff cars roaring away from HQ translating a few lucky officers on to new commands in the Deficit War.
Mostly though HQ shows it’s still alive by bombarding us with checklists and returns, memos and orders. Of course being committed to sustainability means that these get recycled in an appropriate manner. If a staff officer should venture out from HQ we’ll of course be all pluck and determination. You never know, they may be carrying a set of transfer papers for a cushy billet well away from here.
Some of us though have already achieved near spectral status to our chums. We’ve been discharged already or have our papers. It’s hard to resist coming back one last time to share the Christmas Meal with your mates. And that’s what I will be doing today.
But I plan to avoid being the spectre that haunts this particular feast. It’s been a terrible year and next year looks like it will be just as dreadful. We’re caught for the moment in a little festive bubble between storms. And so we’ll celebrate because it’s what people have always done as the deep dark of the deadest Winter nights draw near.
It may be a small act of defiance to the High Commands running this war but it’s a worthwhile one.
We’re still here, we’re still together and we’re singing our own carols in our own little dug outs.
‘ … when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even … ‘