Sunday, October 19, 2008

Verba volant scripta manet

When Moses received God’s commandments, he didn’t have any paper to write them down on. Still, he dutifully carved them onto clay tablets, which he carried all the way down the mountain to show his people the proof.
More than three millennia down the line, the UK Department for Transport, inexplicably, are not even able to store the instructions received from their earthly superiors, and the reasons behind some of their most important decisions are not kept in any decipherable form.
As already mentioned in a previous post, in response to our FOI request of 4 July 2008, the DfT informed us that they held no specific technical justification [of their decision not to re-hear the Gaul RFI] recorded in any form. Within the same reply, the DfT also mentioned that their earlier decision fully sets out the Secretary of State’s reasoning in relation to the re-opening of the investigation.
Unaware of what that reasoning was, we have formally asked them, via another FOI request (dated 11 September 2008), to provide us with a full account of the reasoning behind the Secretary of State’s decision not the re-open the Gaul Formal Investigation.The DfT’s response to this latest enquiry, received on 13 October 2008, was astounding. It stated simply that “The department does not hold such an account in recorded form.” Hmm! From the Department’s contradictory statements we are now left to surmise that either there was no analysis and justification behind their decision not to re-open the Gaul RFI, or that their reasoning has not been ‘set out’ and recorded on any physical media or legible format. It may, therefore, only exist in their heads – in the form of mental images, conceptions, impressions or phantasms. Or, perhaps, it only manifested itself via sensory representations, dispositions, moods or affections.
It is, of course, also possible that the DfT is not telling the truth. But, that would be terribly bad and unbecoming.

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