Parkinson’s Law and the Expansion of The Tobacco Control Industry

I was reading something a couple of days ago. I cannot remember where. It was about how Government spending cuts are decided. I am sure that there is far more to it that my cogitations here suggest, but the central idea seems to be more or less correct.

Let us suppose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer want to cut Government costs (of even MUST cut those costs), he is likely to have political demands based upon emotional outpourings from his Party. A classic Conservative case would be, “Cut benefits to scroungers”. A classic Labour case would be, “Cut subsidies to wealth farmers”. Given that the Chancellor is a Conservative, the probability is that he would pay lip-service to the demand to ‘cut benefits to scrounger’ while, quietly, demanding cuts all over the place. Thus, he might well demand cuts in the provision of ‘legations in foreign countries’.

But it is the way in which these cuts are demanded that the article that I read considered. It seems that the Chancellor, in our example of ‘legations’ would summarise the cost of legations and demand a percentage reduction per legation. In other words, the higher the cost of the legation, the greater the cut. Needless to say, some legations would be already cash strapped, and those would be closed. But the closure of those legations would actually cause a greater cut in cost (TOTAL costs of legation removed) than the original demand for percentage cuts in that legation’s costs. Thus, the cost cuts would be met, without the bigger legations’ costs being reigned in. Nothing would change, other than the closure of a few legations. However, after a few years, the loss of those minor legations would be seen to be ‘a bad thing’ (for trade or whatever) and new legations would be opened. Thus, no cost cuts would have happened over the period of those few year. In fact, costs would obviously be increased. The Chancellor would crow, in the first instance, that he has reduced legation costs, but his actions actually increase costs in the longer term.

I was reading about the first appearance of “Parkinson’s Law” in the 1950s. I can’t find it now. I should imagine that most readers know that Parkinson’s Law states that “Work expands to fill the time for its completion”, or words to that effect. What the article that I was reading did was to apply the Law to Government organisations. Remember that Government organisations have no ‘commercial imperative’ – they do not have to be profitable to survive. It took the example of a civil servant who finds that he has more work than he can cope with (let’s say, genuinely so). Does he ask for a single assistant? NO!!! If he did, then he would have a rival doing the same job. What he does is ask for two subordinates, very possibly justified on grounds of cheapness compared with an equally paid assistant.

He gets his two subordinates. Everything that they do has to be reported to him and he has to make decisions. Communications have to go to and fro; also, the subordinates are entitled to holidays and sick-leave. Also, performances have to be measured and checklists completed. Before long, the two subordinates are not enough. Therefore, each subordinate is given a couple of subordinates each to cope with all the work. They also have to report to their superiors, who then have to report to our original civil servant. Soon, all his time is taken up with dealing with memos going back and forward.

So we see that when Parkinson’s Law says “work expands”, what it means is not so much that people take longer to do jobs (although that is included by virtue of the lack of ‘commercial imperative’) but that people MAKE work to fill the time. After a while, that ‘made’ work becomes too much and assistants are required.

And it is going on throughout Government as we speak. More and more work is being invented. there were several examples in the article. One concerned the Navy. After WW1, lots of ships were decommissioned and the navy personnel requirements were reduced. There were less sailors required. And yet, over the period of time when the ‘sailor workforce’ was reduced, the ‘administration workforce’ doubled. And, consequently, the smaller the Navy became, and the smaller the requirement for sailors became, the greater became the requirement for administrators. There are obvious causation/correlation problems there, but the ‘study’ that I read allowed for them. There is no doubt that, over the years, the Admiralty expanded its administrative workforce despite the rapid diminution of the fleet.


There are obvious corollaries with the expansion of THE TOBACCO CONTROL INDUSTRY. No controls exist over its expansion. Demands for funding from the major economies increase and increase, while many countries which signed up have not paid a penny. The UK is probably the biggest sucker of all.

When our Government grant hundreds of thousands of pounds to THE TOBACCO CONTROL INDUSTRY every year, where does that money go? It goes to people whose job is to demand even more money. That is where it goes.

And this sort of thing is going on everywhere in every ‘charity’ that exists. Sorry, I must except genuine charities which are run by unpaid volunteers throughout. I do not except those charities which have highly paid executives, or even lowly paid executives.

But, to be fair, big ‘charity organisations’ do need executives. The answer is simple. When they reach the status of requiring paid executives, do not call them ‘charities’. They ARE NOT charities. They are organisations which do not have shareholders and do not pay dividends. My ex-golf club is exactly the same as CRUK.

But the golf club was required to pay VAT on subscriptions. Why, therefore, should not CRUK pay VAT on donations? The two organisations are the same. They do not have shareholders and do not pay dividends. In effect, golf club ‘subscriptions’ are the same as ‘gifts’ to CRUK, and both should be treated in the same way. Both organisations are ‘non-profit’.

I understand that there is a law in the USA that gifts are taxable. Don’t ask me for details. Suffice to say that when I proposed to send a monetary gift to my grandson, I was told not to send it to his wife’s bank account (she being taxable), but to send it to her mothers account.

Taxing of monetary gifts is a wheeze that our brand of official thieves have yet to apply the propaganda to.


I am gradually coming round to the idea that ‘propaganda’ should be a criminal offence. It would be difficult to define, but it could be defined. It could be defined under the ‘hate crime’ legislation. For example, ‘any statement that demonises or denormalises smokers is a hate crime. Thus, we turn the hatred back upon the EVERYONE who is associated with THE TOBACCO CONTROL INDUSTRY. They encourage hatred and are thus criminals. We smokers have a reasonable, cultural right to enjoy. We demand not to be subjected to ‘sin taxes’. Those taxes are an abomination, along with alcohol taxes and fuel taxes.

The fact is that, despite their rhetoric and blatherings, politicians have no idea what to do. Does that mean that ‘Experts’ should rule? Perhaps, but what that really means is “Kings”. Maybe we should have ‘kings’. They would be better than uncountable committees.



2 Responses to “Parkinson’s Law and the Expansion of The Tobacco Control Industry”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    last I heard, in the USA, you can ‘gift’ up to $10,000. Such a ‘gift’, to a family member, does not get taxed.

    Over here, the govt’s idea for reducing spending is to cut the rate of increase over ‘baseline’ spending.

    Instead of a 100 billion increase, they will only do a 50 billion increase and then proclaim a 50 billion ‘decrease’ in spending.

    All they do is sometimes decrease the amount of the increases.

    Matching spending to income is not considered.

    Doesn’t your Navy have more Admirals than it has ships?
    Ours is close to that.

    • junican Says:

      Re gifts, that might well be so, garyk. I am relating only my personal experiences.
      What you tell me about reducing costs does not surprise in in the least.
      Famously, many decades ago, a PM was much derided for claiming a major achievement in that his Government “had reduced the rate of increase in the rate of inflation”. Needless to say, he got away with it.

      It would certainly not surprise me if we had more Admirals than ships. “Admiral of Pay Rates for Seamen” sounds quite splendid.

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