Anorak News | The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

by | 4th, January 2005

‘FOR the best part of two decades a secret battle raged in Whitehall, which has only come to light today as a result of the new Freedom of Information Act.

Nine out of ten Whitehall mandarins would rather use the Andrex puppy

Should the bureaucratic bottom be wiped by hard toilet paper of soft?

You may laugh, but it was a sore subject for Sir John Pilcher GCMG, Her Majesty’s ambassador to Austria and later Japan.

Sir John, we learn from the Telegraph, suffered from a particularly painful case of piles and was of the opinion that the official loo paper was exacerbating his complaint.

In 1963, he enlisted his doctor in his campaign to get the government roll changed to a softer type – a campaign that continued right up until the early 1980s.

The initial objection to the change was – needless to say – a financial one with Her Majesty’s Stationery Office objecting that even a rise of half a farthing a day would cost an extra £130,000 a year.

But it was not just concern for the bottom line – in 1967, the public health labs ruled that soft paper was “distinctly more pervious to infections such as dysentery”.

However, in 1969 Sir John’s campaign received backing from the Treasury’s typing pool, who asked the Government to intervene to avoid “damage to our delicate parts”.

In 1970, hard paper was again ruled to be more hygienic than soft paper, a verdict eventually discredited a decade later.

And so the battle went on until victory was finally declared in 1981 – coincidentally at just the time that the cost of soft rolls became less than the cost of hard ones.’

Posted: 4th, January 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink