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December 2009 - I Have a Preference

Hello there.  Welcome along, dear viewers, to the final Nick Harvey's Comment for 2009.  I've received this letter, you see.  Quite a nice, polite letter on the face of it.  It's from my bank.  And, believe it or not, they didn't charge me a penny for sending it to me.

Now, ought I to specifically name the bank, I wonder?  Everyone keeps telling me that I ought not to give out such sensitive information in the home of the world wide spider, so perhaps I ought to be careful?

Though, on reflection, since our glorious government bought up most of the banks and merged them all together, there are only about three to choose from, aren't there?  So if I do tell you which one I'm with, it's only going to put you about a minute-and-a-half ahead in the guessing game in any case.

Mine is a part of that huge conglomerate owned by the nice black horse.  The one they've now decided to split up and break down again into its all constituent parts.

Actually, I wonder how they're going to manage that particular operation?  How do you split up a black horse?  Presumably, one of the new parts will get the left fore leg; another will get the right hind leg; a third might be lucky enough to get the head; mine, I'm certain, will end up with the tail and associated 'rumpy' bits.

Is the black horse a stallion, does anybody know?  If so, I wonder who gets those important bits?  If my lady viewers of sensitive sensibilities will forgive me for just a wee moment, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'banking cock-up', doesn't it?

Anyway, on the subject of splitting up that which has only just been merged, what ever happened to governments never doing u-turns?  It would never have happened in her day.  I'd describe the current lot as indecisive if only they were.  They're not, though, are they?

They make a decisive decision this week and immediately implement it.  It's just that they make the opposite decisive decision next week and implement that one immediately as well.  I suppose it keeps all the civil servants busy, doing things this week, then undoing them again next week.

Well, what do you expect when half the government ministers look as if they're about twelve years old and have just pinched their grandfather's wig?  They're probably far more used to writing down their answer to an eleven-plus question, then crossing it out and writing in a different one.

Oh no, sorry, the current lot don't believe in the eleven-plus, do they?  Heaven forbid that any comrade be more equal than any other!

I seem to be rambling a little bit, this month, don't I, madam?  The letter from my bank was going to be the only subject for in-depth analysis under the Nick Harvey, Acme microscope this time, but I seem to have digressed slightly.  What a surprise!

You prefer the rambling editions, really though, don't you, madam?  It adds a bit of extra interest if I cover fourteen or fifteen extra subjects along the way, in addition to the central one, doesn't it?  Damn fine value for money, I say!

Whilst I'm digressing ever so slightly, perhaps time for a brief update on last month's incredible edition where, for the benefit of those of you too utterly lazy to go back and check, I was bemoaning the earliness of the start of the yuletide celebrations this year.

A Mr and Mrs N of Hampshire, obviously devoted readers of Comment, managed to arrange for their Christmas card to arrive at Harvey Towers on Saturday November 21st.  I was rather tempted to reply with an Easter card.  An Easter card for 2011.

So, anyway, is it time to return to the main topic for discussion, do you think?  I'm sure I'll wander off the subject again further down the page, so perhaps this is the moment for a little of the contents of this famous letter from the bank.

As I said above, a very long way above as it now transpires, it was a very nice, polite letter.  It was asking me to to return the enclosed form, in the enclosed, reply-paid envelope, giving them permission to telephone me on the odd occasion with exciting news of special banking opportunities in which I might be interested.

Now, faithful devotees of Nick Harvey's Comment will be all too well aware that I can get just a bit sensitive about my telephone numbers on occasions.  They're all registered with The Telephone Preference Service, you see, so I can avoid cold calls from idiots trying to sell me things like special banking opportunities in which I might be interested.

In their letter, the bank were being terribly correct, noting the fact that the one and only telephone number I had supplied them with was registered with the TPS, and asking if I realised that this meant I might, inadvertently, be missing out on many special banking opportunities in which I might be interested.

They were very clear that they wouldn't dream of calling me on my TPS registered number to offer me special banking opportunities in which I might be interested unless I specifically returned the form giving them my express permission.  If I didn't bother to return the form, then the status quo would remain and they wouldn't call me with special banking opportunities in which I might be interested.

As most of you, dear viewers, might have already guessed, Nick Harvey immediately posted the form, and the reply-paid envelope, straight into the slot in the top of the shredder.

Looking back on it, I shouldn't really have shredded the envelope as well.  I should have posted it back to the bank, empty, just in order to keep our wonderful postmen in work.  Well, they need something to do in the run up to Christmas, don't they?

Although, on reflection, as I'm now, possibly temporarily, one of the many part-owners of this huge black horse operation, perhaps it was better not to send back the empty envelope on this occasion, to save the postage costs that the government would, no doubt, add to my next tax bill.

Oops, was that almost another digression there?  Well, it almost was, but it wasn't quite.  You see, I was on my way back to the subject of postal matters in any case.

Having praised the bank for respecting my preference over my telephone number, I'm left just a tiny bit confused over another small matter to do with this important correspondence from them.

This letter, you see, was sent to me at Harvey Towers.  The Harvey Towers address, as you might have guessed, is registered with The Mailing Preference Service, so I don't end up with my front hall littered with piles of letters all about special banking opportunities in which I might not be interested!

Needless to say, a formal complaint has been sent in to the MPS about this matter.  I'll let you know the outcome in a future edition.  You never know, they might cut some interesting bits off that black horse as a penalty.  Another banking cock-up, you might say!

I wonder if that Supreme Court ruling in the last week now gives the banks carte blanche to charge me 50 the next time they want to waste my time by sending me a similar letter?  Perhaps it turned out lucky that they did send it when they did, before the Law Lords got their decision so totally and absolutely wrong on bank charges, in my personal and humble opinion, allegedly.

Well, that seems to be just about it for 2009's editions of Comment.  More will be forthcoming, if I'm not imprisoned for being slightly unpleasant about Law Lords, on January 1st, 2010.

In the meantime, have a good Christmas, when it eventually arrives, won't you.  Right, I'm off, where's me reindeer?

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