Flog a dead horse

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians passed on from generation to generation, and for that matter replicated in various guises in a host of other ancient cultures, advises as follows:

“When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best stratagem is to dismount.”

More recent cultures – from the lowliest parish council to the top Government levels – abhor such pragmatic advice and instead adopt a confusion of differing tactics.

Especially where bureaucrats dominate (practically everywhere) a Committee is convened to study the problem and come up with advised courses of action.

Results from many of these were collected, studied and collated and the top 14 strategies (in no particular order) are listed below.

1. Riders – or whatever group for whom, in the circumstances, this is a synonym  – are strongly advised to purchase a tougher whip.

2. One ought to immediately change riders.

3. Appoint a committee to study the horse.

4. Arrange a junket abroad to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lower the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassify the dead horse as merely living-impaired.

7. Hire expensive consultants and/or outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harness several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

10. Initiate a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declare that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewrite (in ‘reformed’ i.e. reduced terms) the anticipated performance requirements of all horses.

13. Co-opt the dead horse to the Committee or promote him to a supervisory position.

15.  Flog the dead horse to Steptoe & Son for glue-making purposes.

Newry & Mourne District Council unanimously adopted stratagem 4 and expeditiously dispatched 100 Councillors and Officials to Ulan Bator to find out how it was done in Outer Mongolia.

(Since they don’t ride horses there [either of the dead or the living variety] it is strongly anticipated that the gleaned results will be inconclusive.)

“But think of the millions that will roll into our local Council coffers from investing nomads of the Gobi Desert,”  one Councillor insisted!

“For proof, look at the dozens of Russian factories that now line our Industrial Parks from all those Council Trips to Bacca Beyon, Siberia.”

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