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though we got to know each other better and I was able to engage in less formal dialogue. So, one day my curiosity got the better of me and, with a nervous chuckle, I asked The Major what he put into the “Too Difficult” tray. Slowly and silently, he put down his pen; his light-hearted demeanour instantly disappeared and with a steely look of absolute gravity he told me. He told me, that it is his job to ensure that when

the time comes to go to war, the men in his command are ready and equipped, to the best of his ability, to undertake that task. They are to be trained, equipped, fit physically and mentally to do the ultimate job. The men under his command are a team that work and live together, where each person’s role, job and function are like links in a chain and that chain is only as strong as the weakest link. It is his job to ensure there are no weak links in his chain. That means making decisions on the best use of the time and resources available to him. Anything that isn’t directly related to ensuring the combat efficiency and welfare of his troops is considered an extraneous or an inconsequential task and so destined for the “Too Difficult” tray. That is because to The Major the military have a job to do and must do it to the best of their ability with the tools and resources they have. If they don’t have enough tools and resources they don’t stop, they don’t whinge and they don’t cry. What they do is; they improvise, they overcome, they adapt and they deliver. Therefore, what the Major put into that tray was anything that got in the way of him delivering his primary remit of having combat ready, 24/7, a unit of soldiers in the most professional Army in the world. What The

Major said to me that day never left me and continues to play a big part in my attitude and work ethic today. Unfortunately,

I think that there are far too many managers in charge of our various public sector services today that also have a third plastic tray on their desks.

Ability Needs Magazine

However, unlike The Major, they are happier to spend their time, resources and our money dealing with all the extraneous and the inconsequential tasks and leave the job of actually delivering the public services languishing in the “Too Difficult” tray.

Well, it’s the only reason I can come up with to

explain what is going on. It seems, due to a huge public sector deficit, we must endure cutbacks to healthcare, security, policing, education, transport, libraries, swimming pools and community centres. Yet, there seems to be plenty of time, money, resources and enthusiasm from the public sector to ensure it has sufficient equality and diversity training and a robust process monitoring inter-staff relationships. Oh yes, and let’s not forget all the numerous committees to investigate things like offensive language in songs or that we have sufficient education, facilities and amenities to cater for neuters, vegans, the obese, the stressed, the offended, the lazy, the criminal and the politically correct. Our cash strapped NHS

denies patients life saving cancer drugs, but is happy to approve provision of gender altering medicine for children. Says it all doesn’t it? Probably dreamt up during a team building programme at a 5-star hotel? For the sake of our country, economy

and sanity, please bring back ‘The Major’ Angus Long is Managing

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian

Director of Embryonyx Ltd Supplier of the HappyLegs walking machine


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