What do they mean...

21st November 2003 at 00:00
Partnering, along with its less irritating cousin "partnership", crops up all over the place, being equally useful to the lazy jargoneer and the lazy policy- maker. It has been said that there is no noun which cannot be verbed; in the same way, there is now nothing, concrete or abstract, which cannot be partnered. When we were young and I was innocent, partners were equal: they shared things, they looked out for each other; occasionally they even loved each other. This was because they chose each other.

In our modern age, partnership has been beamed through the twisted prism of our dear leaders and is now a dark analogue of its former self. For a start, partnering is now what they tell someone else to do. In this way, they dump responsibility, care, mutual dependability and all those other old-fashioned virtues on to people who don't want them and can't afford them. This is like those old movies in which two escaped convicts who hate each other have to get along because they're chained together. But at least they hadn't been told it was good for them and they should be grateful. If anything goes wrong of course, it's the other chap's fault, and we end up fighting like ferrets in a sack, while our betters shake their heads sadly.

At St Jude's, we take a more pragmatic view of partnerships. We have, for example, a public partnership, when we're being watched, and a private partnership, when we're not. We discourage partnership initiatives which might end with maternity. And when all else fails and we shake our heads sadly, they take early retirement.


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