Skip to main content

The unbearable heaviness of being Welsh

Eight booklets? No, just four, twice.
I'm not Welsh, but the title of this post refers to a reflection that to do business in Wales seems to carry a painful overhead.

Over the last couple of years I've been working with an excellent project called CIME which has been bringing the sort of business creativity support than can usually only be afforded by big companies to micro-businesses in the south west corner of Wales.

The project has just finished, and as part of the wind up, a pack was produced with a booklet on the different contributors with hints on creativity, plus three well-written booklets on creativity techniques and applications by consultant Derek Cheshire. These are very professionally produced and look extremely smart, and probably quite expensive.
Read all about me...

Anywhere else, that would be it. But because it's Wales they have had to duplicate all the documentation in Welsh. So instead of getting a pack of four booklets, you get eight booklets. Whatever your language, half of those are going straight in the bin. But more to the point, I can appreciate the value of the Welsh language, but I think to be so rigid about requiring all this kind of documentation to be bi-lingual is simply a huge waste of money.

It's fine if we are talking government forms - but it's a different matter for booklets from a project like this. There needs to be more flexibility, the option to choose whether to go for a single language or both, depending on your audience.
... in Welsh

As it happens, this project was funded by the EU, so had plenty of money for this kind of thing (in itself, perhaps an indictment of EU projects) - but, really, Welsh people. Would you rather your money was spent on duplicating every document in sight, or on services like schools and health? Just wondering.

For that matter, just think of the impact on the environment. Half these booklets you can absolutely guarantee are going to be thrown away without being looked at. That's really thinking of the environment, isn't it?

Since this was the finale of CIME, I'll leave you with a fun video from one of my sessions featuring the 'visual minutes' taken by a couple of enterprising art students.


  1. I beg your pardon: "you don't want your accountants to be creative"...!

    Stereotyping I'm may have heard me mention before that accounting is about painting a picture of the costs of a business, and just as you can have a Caneletto, a Turner, a Dali or a you can have a different "picture" of the business
    by selecting how you want to portray it to others. There is never just one answer, which is why accounting standards were developed to avoid too much judgement or creativity.

    Further lessons along these lines are available if required.

  2. Ian, you possibly misunderstood me. You do, of course, want everyone who works for you to be creative - it was really just a joke referring to the term 'creative accounting' as a euphemism for fraudulent activity, so what was implied was that you don't want your accountants to indulge in creative accounting practices.

  3. Apologies accepted; I'm sufficiently well adapted by now to call myself a "boring" accountant if asked, if only to avoid having to live down to others low expectations of conversation with an accountant


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope