Opinion | The smoking gun (an email that never was)

First the teachers, now the doctors – what else does the government have up its sleeve?



Fra: modst@modst.dk
< Moderniseringsstyrelsen>
Til: fm@fm.dk <Finansministeriet>
Emne: Tillykke!
Dato: mandag, d. 29. april 2013



Hope you had a nice weekend. First of all, on behalf of Moderniseringsstyrelsen, let me be the first to congratulate you and the Finance Ministry on orchestrating such a “timely” intervention. 😉 It went exactly according to plan. Uh, that is, if there had been a plan. Which there certainly wasn’t. Absolutely no way. That would have been wrong. Morally indefensible. Um, you are the only person reading this e-mail account, right?

Any-hoo, it’s great that we can put this all behind us, and my staff no longer needs to listen to that god-awful singing every morning. Now that the teachers’ workday has been normalised, we can move onto other items on our agenda.

As previously discussed, general practitioners are in tremendous need of normalisation. It is my understanding that doctors regularly stagger their working hours at least one day a week, often seeing patients from 14:00-18:30 instead of the more normal 08:00-15:30. Like the teachers with their “evening parent consultations”, doctors seem to feel that people actually appreciate being able to see them at times when they in fact should be watching Kontant, or even Hos Clement. I am confident that we can correct this with an appropriate working contract. Based on the overwhelming public support we received during the teachers’ lockout, I think that we can impress upon people the importance of only becoming sick during doctor's working hours. Jørgen, in Financial Projections, seems concerned that this may result in decreased productivity due to employees taking time off from work rather than seeing their doctor at these irregular hours, but I am not fully confident with his numbers on this.

Next up should be the fire brigade. Research indicates that a tremendous amount of the firemen's day is being spent in locations other than their principal workplace. This cannot be allowed to continue. There must be a way of moving this work into the local fire stations. The firemen say this is impossible, but I honestly don't believe they are thinking creatively enough. On a separate note, Public Works reports that firemen also use a disproportionate amount of water on a daily basis. Fortunately, the reduction in water prices introduced in your new Vækstplan may help curb this expense. A minority opinion, led by Jørgen in Financial Projections, suggests that the corresponding reduction in the price of beer could in fact increase the total amount of fires, but in any event, this will probably net out in the end.

Finally, it has come to my attention that one segment of the workforce has only two or three hours of contact with consumers during the course of an entire week. These lazy freeloaders coast through their weekdays doing practically nothing, only to spend a few hours on Sunday dealing directly with their charges. Yes, Denmark's priests are in major need of normalisation. Apparently, priests claim that most of their non-contact hours are spent in prayer, quiet contemplation, and (wait for it) … preparation. Priests could easily be more productive if they spent less time preparing, and more time on the pulpit doing some actual flock-tending. Our crack labour reallocation staff has determined that their immediate supervisor is best suited to make the determination as to what their actual time usage should be.

At this point, I have to throw the ball over to you. There was an animated discussion as to who the priests’ immediate supervisor was, but it was interrupted by what can only be described as a seizure suffered by one of our employees (Jørgen, if you can believe it, in Financial Projections!). He was taken away by ambulance, but not before the majority agreed that you and the present government would be best suited to take this modest proposal to the Lord Almighty. Do keep us informed as to his opinion, and cc us on any correspondence.

With friendly greetings,


(Translated, with astonishing imprecision, from a crumpled and discarded e-mail which may in fact have been an advertisement for sugar-free chewing gum.)

The ‘translator’ is a teacher.