Christmas and Bureaucracy
It's a sobering thought that, without the aid of bureaucrats, we might never have had Christmas. The Gospel of Luke chapter two tells us of a census conducted under the authority of the Roman Consul Quirinius who was, at the time, the Governor of Syria. Poor old Mary and Joseph had to travel for miles to their home-town, Bethlehem, and whilst they did not have to do battle with the frustrations of the M25, the journey was not exactly an easy one, with Mary heavily pregnant, and their mode of transport of a somewhat uncomfortable nature. Even in 1st century Palestine, the bureaucrats left no allowance for the actual circumstances and vulnerabilities of real people - twenty centuries later, and little has changed.
And this was not Quirinius's first census. Clearly, bureaucracy is an intoxicating thing, and stimulates a desire for yet more. IFAs can testify to the reality of this on the ground - the introduction of regulation causes us to make repeated unnecessary journeys in considerable discomfort and with an associated escalation of expense, and it is really not all that clear who benefits at the end of the whole process.
Nevertheless, perhaps we should be thankful. At least we do have Christmas, a time to take a complete break, focus on our families a little more, and perhaps have an opportunity to reflect on profounder and more substantive things than those bureaucrats may have been exercising their little minds over. And then, before long, it's back to a New Year and the strange delights of aggregated costs and charges reporting under MiFID II.
Merry Christmas, everyone!