Thursday, January 03, 2013

How to annoy bureaucrats: Moore's tips are still talking points in Britain

Sir Patrick Moore, the man who annoyed the British bureaucrats the most in 1980s, died last month at the age of 89. Moore, a known British astronomer and entertainer in TV shows, resorted to bureaucracy bashing under a pen-name and published what a British newspaper recently described “an irreverent guide to causing havoc and taking vengeance on the people who were burying Britain under paperwork and tying the country up in red tape.” Here are some interesting observations made in his book: “Bureaucrats: How To Annoy Them”...
He wrote Britons were not “ruled directly by Parliament but by minor officials — bureaucrats of all descriptions, safely embraced in the arms of the civil service, with immunity from dismissal and nice, inflation-proof pensions.” It reflects anti-bureaucrats anger among ordinary British citizens though they are much more educated and affluent than their say Indian aam admi counterparts.
Moore who wrote the book under the pen-name RT Fishall, asked people: When enclosing a cheque, staple it to the letter. With two staples. Or three. Right in the middle of the cheque. At the least, you’ll waste someone’s time — at best, you might wreck their computer.
Here are a few more humorous tips given by Moore to annoy bureaucrats. (Courtesy: Daily Mail of UK)
When filling in a form, always keep a candle handy. Whenever you come to a box marked ‘For official use only — do not write in this space’, rub the candle gently over the box. A thin layer of grease will make it impossible for your Twitmarsh to write on the paper, and might muck up his ballpoint, too.
When filing in forms, do not feel obliged to use English. Why not employ that smattering of Spanish you picked up on your holidays, or the residue of schoolroom French from your third-year days?
Nothing makes Twitmarsh’s brow perspire more freely than the sight of a form filled out in squiggly script. Do the first page in Russian, the second in Chinese and the third in Hindi.

For Moore, the public enemy No 1, of course, is Twitmarsh the Taxman. He wrote that the tax inspector occupies an unassailable position and he can “persecute his victims to the point of breakdown — that’s his job.” So, “Confusion is the solution”, Moore wrote.
Bombard him with convoluted enquiries, in bad handwriting and worse English. Scatter invented Latin phrases throughout — my favourite is the schoolboy motto, ‘Itisapis potitis andatino ne’ (I’m not going to translate it, but you can work out the meaning if you move the spaces around). 
Disclaimer: BoI does not subscribe to these methods to annoy any Indian bureaucrat.


  1. Good tips. HA HA HA

  2. Immortal suggestions. Some Indian common men are already resorting to such tactics. But many of these tricks will annoy the clerks, not officers.