There was a recent article in the Israeli press regarding an interesting problem. It seems that over the past few years the Knesset (Israeli parliament) has passed at least 10 laws regarding various Israel social issues that have not yet been implemented. Why not? Well it seems that while the laws have been passed, the ministries involved have not yet written the protocols and regulations required to carry out those same laws. Therefore things have simply carried on as before, law or no law.
The problem is that while the minister overseeing that particular portion of the government, be it finance, immigration, etc, usually spends about a year in that ministry and then he is off to some other post. Most of the time the day to day work of writing regulations and the means to enforce them is done by the bureaucracy, those blank faces sitting at desks or behind screened bars, and if the owners of those same faces happen to be opposed to the new laws then they simply ignore them and carry on as if nothing has happened. The minister , most of the time, has more important things to do, and unless he is really a true “hands-on” man he is busy attending cabinet meetings and flying off to conferences,
I write this not as a criticism of Israeli politics but as an example of the problem inherent in all democratic countries blessed by the presence of long entrenched bureaucracies.
In truth more often than not, unless the quiet figures in their fray flannel suits agree with the particular law passed, nothing will get done. Often these figures were appointed by ministers with a completely opposing ideology. These nameless individuals are mired firmly in their positions nearly forever. They can almost never be fired unless they have murdered someone and they are masters of the arts of delay, passing the buck, and losing documents.
Bureaucracies are the bane of civilization and when over the course of time we mere mortals are forced to deal with them, we are at an enormous disadvantage. How does one deal with the bored look, the sigh of disdain, the reply of “we will get back to you”?
Not very well I assure you
Thus, in the future, when you complain that nothing has been done even though you voted in a man whose policies ran counter to the ones implemented by the previous government, you know the reason why.
Ministers come; ministers go; Presidents, premiers, prime ministers, change every few years. The man (or woman) sitting behind that desk in the far corner of the room stays on– forever.