1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Good Old Days

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Good Old Days

People of my age have a tendency to talk about the ‘good old days’. I recall that when I was young people did so then as well. In reality there has probably never been anything as general as ‘the good old days’. I recall Harold Macmillan saying “We’ve never had it so good.” and then, off the record, turning to the person at his side and saying “And we never will have it so good again.”

I happened to be in the local hospital recently and whilst I was able to walk in through the front door with no problem all other exterior doors are now open only to code-holders as are many interior doors. I can understand that I suppose.

When I started work as a (reasonably senior) public servant in Western Isles Council (as it then was) any member of the public could walk into the council offices and seek me out and knock on my office door (metaphorically because it was usually open unless I was engaged). And people frequently did.

I was recently in the Council offices and there are still a few people left from my era (I retired from there over 20 years ago). I was invited upstairs to wait for someone but this involved various people with different passcodes accompanying me just to get me through doors. Apparently now even people who work in the building do not have general access to other areas of the offices. Security in all its forms now rules most things that are done.

I can't foresee what might happen that would make people who work there now look back in thirty years and say "Ah those were the good old days." I won't be around but I hope upon hope that things don't get any worse.

14 comments:

  1. AGGGH. Did I overdo the 'Gs'.
    That is how it's always been. Normal folk elect a spokesperson and then they build empires which then employ folk to empire build. If you can't grow food or make implements to help grow it you are useless or a source of income. Liverpool was built in a day, so was Glasgow. Edinburgh took longer coz politicians decided to divide the spoils of commerce amongst themselves.
    The prolls have key codes to defend themselves from folk who they are supposed to serve.

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    1. No Adrian there are never enough Gs in ARGGGH!
      Actually we, the public, are the architects of our own inconvenience in many ways. It takes one person to sue the Council for breach of privacy when someone saw (possibly unintentionally) a document mentioning him or her and the whole system is forced into defensive mode by public opinion or the press or both.

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  2. I guess your office door was always firmly shut when your favourite secretary arrived at your command for the dictation of important letters. It was always such hot work for Miss Campbell.

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    1. How, YP, did you know that her surname was Campbell? I think you've been sneaking round breaching my privacy.

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    2. Well you breached Miss Campbell's privacy!

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  3. I'm hopeful that things will change back to an open system. I hope people tone it down and don't think they have the right to take advantage of openness and make it uncomfortable for people.

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    1. I think, Red, that that is a pipe dream....alas!

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  4. Through my work (consulting companies about data protection and IT security) I am very familiar with such security concepts. Sometimes they are necessary, sometimes they mean overshooting. Sometimes they are even prescribed by law. The trouble is that people still haven't got their head round the fact that it is not technology as such which is risky or unsafe, but the human factor is the highest risk, causing damage and harm to others either deliberately or not.
    All the code-secured doors in the world won't help against an unhappy employee who has the technical knowledge (or an accomplice who does) to export and sell data or cause other problems.

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    1. And I agree with you - the "good old days" do only exist in our memories. Times were bad and hard for many people no matter at what period in history you look, and always good and easy for a select few.

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    2. Meike in the case of the Council I think there are two factors now personal security and the data protection acts which can mean that if I see a document I am not authorised to see (even unwittingly) the Council can be sued (privately) or prosecuted (for a criminal offence). C'est la vie.

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  5. That's because there are more dangers these days unfortunately. People were alot more friendlier back then.

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    1. I must say, Amy, that I do tend to agree with you on that point. Although there are still plenty of friendly people around. They just seem harder to find!

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  6. I use the phrase sometimes (good old days) but usually half-joking. (Whether other people get that or not, is another matter...) Some things may have been better, but at the same time others were not. Once upon a time (back in the good old 1970s) I worked in a council office with all "open doors" as well - and my handbag got stolen when I left the room for a couple of minutes... Caused me a lot of trouble as it also contained my home keys and ID/driving license. (And yet probably not half as much trouble as it might nowadays.) --- In Sweden too, security levels are being raised in many aspects in more recent years. And yet I suppose ours is still a fairly open and trusting society compared to many.

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    1. Monica I suppose I find it hard to generalise about most of the UK because I live in a remote country area where, generally speaking, people are very friendly and helpful although gone are the days when everyone knew each other.

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