Here's one for all you public servants out there to vent your spleen on. I was talking to my dad earlier today (who is a local councillor in North Wales) and we got on to the topic of the current government's obsession with setting ridiculous targets for absolutely everything. I work in a small business so we don't have to deal with this but I know it's a big issue in education and health. Anyway, the example he gave me, which made me laugh out loud, was this: Isle of Wight council, like all councils, has been having its performance assessed by the Audit Commission. In common with all councils, they have a set of targets given by central government covering everything from reducing the number of truancies to the amount of recycling they do. For every target they fail to meet they are penalised, the final assessments ranging from 0 stars (terrible) to 4 (v. good). Isle of Wight (which has a bit of a poor record anyway) was penalised for not meeting their target for reducing the number of fatal road accidents on their roads. But here's the hilarious part. Since records began (and for all I know, since the invention of the internal combustion engine) the Isle of Wight has not had a fatal road accident. They are being penalised for not reducing the number from a starting point of zero. Now, I have little time and no sympathy for most local authorities. Certainly Flintshire (where my dad is) is a hotbed of incompetence and corruption. But does this strike anyone else as, well, stupid? Really, really, mind-bogglingly stupid? Or is it just me?