Dame Lucy plays a blinder

I have recently been sent a copy of this interesting private email  from Dr Spendlove of Special Projects  to his civil service boss  Dame Lucy Doolittle:

 

Dear Lucy,

             I think your memo asking us to find ways of co-operating with Labour in opposition to avoid the U turns and difficulties the Coalition government have experienced was a stroke of genius. I am so glad you persuaded me to stay on after the 2010 election when I was down in the dumps. 

          Your suggestion reminds people of all the mistakes of the Coalition politicians where they failed to listen to our good advice. Those failures did lead to a series of policy reversals, most notably with the latest budget, as with the sale of forests.  It also  implies that serious people in the civil service  do not think they can win again, without being in any way disloyal.  The civil service is at its best when it is loyal but prudent, working with our current masters but planning  an orderly transition should that be the people’s wish. We do need to begin a serious process of preparing them for power, as some in Labour will also wish to rewrite the rules of government which have been so carefully constructed here at home with the help of the EU. They need to know in advance there is little scope for manoeuvre in the circumstances.

          Meanwhile I am sure you are alert to outstanding business with the Coalition. Now we have succeeded in implementing our plan of public spending  rises in cash and real terms in the first two years of the Coalition, the difficult years, we need to ensure that Ministers do not now implement the damaging cuts we have dissuaded them from so far. We left some very tight numbers in the more distant years in 2010. We now need to explain the political wisdom of quietly moving away from those. There is renewed interest in growth, and we can suggest to Ministers cuts now would not help it. All Ministers, will I am  sure see the dangers of unpopular cuts ahead of an election. It was a nice touch to make sure official figures for the economy take full account of the likelihood that reduced levels of public spending  growth have already damaged output. We can adjust them upwards later should it clearly emerge we have been  a bit too cautious.

        We need to be aware of a new stridency in the Conservative party over European matters. We need to ensure they are not able to opt of all those excellent Criminal Justice measures in the EU that we have helped create. There should be a majority in the current Parliament to keep them, and Labour will I am sure be understanding. I would be happy to be a secondee to Labour, as working with them might improve our mutual understanding on these sensitive issues. We also have a duty to brief Ministers of the importance of not trying to disrupt this autumn’s complex negotiations on  keeping the Euro together with any demands for the UK to get powers back or have a looser relationship. This  would be seen as very unhelpful by our partners and lead to a further loss of UK influence, which is bad enough thanks to our position on the Euro and banking matters.

          I am pleased to report that several of our former colleagues have found good jobs in consultancies and other private sector areas where they can use their wisdom and skills well. They tell me it is not too bad out there, and they of course do have the nice advantage of the generous compensation Ministers so thoughtfully provided when we explained to them the complexities of their plans to slim down the civil service. I fear we will need to make more use of outside help again, now we have lost so much talent through the voluntary redundancy programmes.

 

Yours in hope of a new assignment

 

Roy

 

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104 Comments

  1. Ian Hills
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    In other words, the civil service is bent.

    • Nick
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Or politicians are trying to blame others for their mess.

  2. Anne Haywood
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    For Gods sake… What the hell is going on? Treason everywhere Cameron needs to wake up to this betrayal of the people , pledge to sort it or Resign, what a bitter disappointment it all is, unforgivable.

    • Steven_L
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Calm down dear!

  3. lifelogic
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Accurate and very depressing as usual.

    I read (Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph) that the BBC does not want a statue to George Orwell as he is far too left wing they seem to think. I certainly have no objection to one at all. It is the BBC that is far too left wing and they do not even realise it. Orwell, right or left wing, and however defined, certainly deserves a statue.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9494961/Orwell-should-have-his-statue-at-the-BBC.html

    • forthurst
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I think the BBC are trying to imply that they are not left wing and therefore that a statue of a famous leftie at their entrance might give the ‘wrong’ impression. Orwell deserves a public statue, but somwhere else.

      Mr Hannan appears to be using Orwell’s beliefs to reinforce his own, a typical cheap political trick. He has no reasonable idea of what Orwell would have made of the contemporary world.

      • rose
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        And the same could be said of Keynes and Beveridge. They would surely be horrified at what is said and done in their name.

        • zorro
          Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          LOL I can just see Mr Balls explaining government deficit spending at it current level and proportion of GDP to Keynes as a homage to his economic theory….!

          zorro

      • zorro
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        On the contrary, I think that Orwell may have recognised quite a lot of what is happening today in his view of the world and how it was trending – perhaps a subtler version of the boot stamping on the face….

        zorro

      • Mark
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        So which Department are you nominating as MiniTrue? I think the BBC is EXACTLY the right place!

        • forthurst
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          The BBC still exists and is still the Ministry of Truth so there is no reason to suppose Orwell would have revoked that concept. However, Bolshevism has collapsed and did not take over the world, and there are new dragons to slay which Mr Hannan has not necessarily identified with any degree of precision.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the BBC – Ministry of Truth main commandments.

          Sweden is perfect
          The EU is fabulous
          Government role is to grow and should borrow, tax and spend as much as possible at least 90% of GDP.
          We all all going to burn in hell due to C02 and must pray at the new revolving wind crosses – all who do not are evil deniers.
          All will be forced to be equal like it or not.
          Woman are identical to men – but are clearly better at multitasking/languages/communication/running banks/reading maps/being scientists & engineers, team work and parallel parking.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I hear that Orwell also had the usual lefty, Diane Abbott/Polly Toynbee hypocrisy inherent in their bizarre lefty view of private schooling (all will be equal but not my children thank you) view of the world.

      He deserves the statue never the less.

  4. Steven Granger
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Well thanks for that, it explains everything. Here I am thinking we have the most inept, useless, mendacious and pointless government in history (except possibly the previous one) and you’ve just put me straight by fingering the real culprits – the civil servants. Silly old me, how could I possibly have missed that one! Pull the other one John. When you have given up even trying to defend the government’s record and merely try and point the finger of blame elsewhere, the game really is up.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      We’re on the same wavelength Steve. Loyalty is good. Blind loyalty is the kind of thing instilled into the SS and the Hitler Youth and has no value. I personally could never defend people who ceased to be true blue years ago merely because of what label they afford themselves. I always equated ‘true blue’ with common sense, but I don’t see much evidence of that with Cameron’s government. It is surely wiser to be loyal to an unshakable, unassailable set of principles, than a party that has lost it’s direction?

      And I freely confess to liking JR too, as indeed I like some other Tories, but this shower is not fit to call themselves Conservative.

      Tad

      • Bob
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Mr. Redwood is I believe a man of integrity.
        His slip up in the previous article about TV licensing was a genuine knowledge gap which I am sure he will be correcting once he has had a chance to verify the facts.

        Once he has done so I hope he will become a refusnik like me.

        • zorro
          Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

          Why would one ever envisage letting a supposed revenue protection officer (Capita) past the threshold of your door to confirm whether you have a television anyway?

          zorro

          • Bob
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            Why would anyone give their bank account details to a chugger?

            It takes all sorts I guess.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Next someone will be claiming that the Civil Service trebled tuition fees, privatised the NHS, and demanded that exam boards lower GCSE results.

      • zorro
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        Who do you think came up with the ideas for implementing these proposals….? Although not quite so Machiavellian as John might portray, the SCS are quite capable of calculating in such terms.

        zorro

        • uanime5
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Given that these policies were proposed by their respective ministers while in opposition they’re clearly Conservative policies. Let’s face it some ministers aren’t the type of people who listen to the advice of others.

          • REPay
            Posted August 28, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            I wished I lived in the simple world of the left where there is always plenty of money and all problems can be solved by more state expenditure.

            Our civil service have made sure there are few cuts. Politicians are relatively powerless vs. them and the EU. A trend Tony Benn recognized in the 1970’s

  5. stred
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Do taxpayers really have to pay for secondees to the opposition? A few years ago, I was amazed to find myself talking at a dinner to a civil servant who’s job it was to write speeches for a labour minister. What next? Civil servants to write speeches for the shadow ministers?

  6. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I don’t get this at all.

    In education everyone who understood education was cleared out and replaced with henchmen of the cult. Whatever Michael Gove says is amplified and fully implemented.

    The people with serious ability were removed and discredited and they found that their invoiced even for existing work completed were not paid as they were to companies in receipt of DFE money and this was not the done thing.

    These are people who are experts in the education of our most challenging kids. Where do you think all these cushy highly paid consultancy jobs they are getting are John?

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Perhaps Ms Hanson you should reword your remarks to say that the henchmen of one cult were removed and replaced by the henchmen of another cult. Anyway, shouldn’t it be henchpersons?

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Before Michael Gove came into power I attended consultations on many topics and was impressed by the experience and ability of the people I spoke to.

        For example I went through an academy opening in 2008 which was a real mess and was able to feel back to the people who were overseeing the academies program to ensure detailed aspects of what had gone wrong were understood and small adjustments to the processes used to open academies were made to ensure that future academy openings were better.

        As another example – I went to the discussions about the new standards and training materials for secondary Heads of Mathematics. I raised specific concerns about their quality which related to the fact that the process of their drafting had been divided into packets of work which had led to outcomes which didn’t make sense when they were put back together. These criticisms were taken on board and adjustments were made.

        There were no cults and no henchmen. It was all about reality. REALITY as in what policies will actually do on the ground.

        When Mr Gove took over the systems for the state to manage state education were populated by intelligent and dedicated people who understood reality and were working hard to adjust policy so that it would deliver what was intended on the ground and to prune back its nasty and unnecessary unintended consequences backofanenvelope.

        It’s Mrs Hanson by the way Ms Envelope. 🙂

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          What was wrong at the beginning of 2010 is that there were people around who were not effective alongside the people who were. This had happened because the Labour government set up new well conceived bodies which were functional alongside the old ones which weren’t, rather than reforming the old bodies or setting up a new body and then shutting the old one down.

          But instead of getting rid of the people who were hopeless, Gove got rid of the people who he felt were a threat to his ideas. So he got rid of the people with ability and kept the people who were not effective but who knew how to tell politicians what they want to hear. He kept the Lucys and appointed henchpeople and got rid of the efficient and effective hard working people who know how to take policy and develop it until it will actually work – thus turning a system which was functional but overloaded into one which was his personal weapon and totally unfit for the purpose of implementing workable policy in state education.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            Rebecca

            All I can say is that the education did not appear to work well to many of us people out here, given we interview them and try to employ them.

            If you are suggesting that after 13 years the Labour lot just about got it right with new people, but did not sack the old incompetent ones, then that was a grave (not grove) mistake.

            If they put these new people in more than 5 years ago, then clearly good as they may have been with talk, they failed to improve standards over that period.

            My old electrician attempted to take on an apprentice at the beginning of this year, spent a lot of time and effort encouraging and helping , the apprentice gave up after a month, saying too much like hard work.

            Electrician tried again recently with another would be apprentice, again similar excuse but this time after only a week, he has to get up too early, and its too much like hard work.

            Both are back on job seekers.
            Both getting paid to lay in bed.

            Says sit all really my old electrician will not bother again, he’s lost too much money already.

            The whole system needs a shake up. and the kids need to wake up.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            To resolve these issues you need to give teachers some professional freedom to actually engage with children and focus on working with them as people and bringing them on.

            Unfortunately the schools in the most challenging areas are relentlessly forced to focus entirely on core exam grades to avoid being labelled as being a failing school and placed in special measures.

            While virtually all other organisations have the ability to hold their regulator accountable if their behaviour is not transparent and consistent or the consequences of their judgements are not proportional to the nature of the issues identified (under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (2006)) Ofsted has an exemption from being accountable for its behaviour towards state schools.

            So what are the schools supposed to do if they want to focus on doing the things which will sort out the kids they are sending to your friend? Which would you do? Focus relentlessly on the core grades to avoid the holocaust of special measures or invite special measures in by not focusing entirely on the core grades and doing what’s actually needed some of the time instead?

            Schools need to have the right to defend themselves from being placed in special measures just because their maths results are a bit down one year because they haven’t been able to appoint a head of maths because nobody will take the job on (because it’s a job which involves forcing kids to achieve target grades and being regularly inspected criticised by inadequate inspectors).

            Do you know what actually happens when a normal school with hard working and dedicated staff is put into special measures Alan?

            By the way I suggest your friend tries someone older who’s sufficiently mature to appreciate the opportunity.

          • Mark
            Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            How many people did Gove sack? How does a minister sack a civil servant?

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            Difficult to say Mark. If you find me on Linkedin I could introduce you to some of the people who suddenly disappeared and you could ask them. There were also regular reports in the press of good people suddenly deciding that they would like to move on for all sorts of reasons that were nothing to do with Michael Gove. Of course.

            The result is that when you go to consultations now there’s no-one there who’s capable of even constructing and agenda which would allow the relevant practical issues to be discussed, let alone understanding what those issues are. That’s where consultations happen at all of course.

            I don’t think Gove consulted with anyone at all before deciding to reverse the much consulted and never regretted (although its often been discussed and reviewed) decision to move from norm based referencing in exams to criteria based referencing. But who knows? Perhaps the Lucys and the Henchpeople told him it was a good idea.

            I find that Lucys steer clear of me. They don’t like people who know what they’re talking about and can precisely and clearly express it. They love inexperienced, gullible and easily paranoid people.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Rebecca

            In answer to your question what would I do about it.

            Core subjects which I assume are Maths and English at the very and absolute minimum, simply have to be taught, otherwise you simply have people who are not capable of anything, they would not even know if they had been paid correctly, even if they were lucky enough to get a job.

            Discipline and order simply has to be restored in schools, you must know the best methods, but we simply cannot have disruptive kids wrecking the educational chances for those who want to learn, and to be honest if that means a special school with special arrangements for those disruptive ones with an ex a Army officer in charge, then so be it.
            Parental responsibility also comes into play here, and whilst I do understand that a large 15 year old can intimidate a single parent, then perhaps some of these special schools should also board kids.

            Your comment about my old electrician taking on an older person on the face of it sounds reasonable, but training people costs money in time, effort and lost production whilst this is happening, so an apprentice is paid low wages when they start, until they become useful and productive, many older peol;le who have some responsibilities cannot afford to work for such wages for a period of time.

            The 6-8 week courses you hear advertised, are a complete joke and a waste of time.

            Also remember that a formal apprenticeship also requires learning at a poly tech or similar (not many around now) so competence in maths and english is a requirement as you have to be able to read drawings, specifications and understand building construction, something that these quicky courses do not include.

            Perhaps we should even really think about reintroducing National Service of some sort, so we get some discipline and can do spirit back into the younger generation ?

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            Hi Alan,

            Having seen situations where discipline has been rapidly improved, can I suggest that to be done well it needs to be done by good management who listen to and work with staff students and families.

            There really isn’t any other way. It’s not something which a Secretary of State for Education wan wave a policy at and fix. The only really positive think such a person can do is try to ensure funds are available for the specific things schools need to do to sort out the problems they are facing.

            Discipline is not about all the kids sitting in silence only speaking when they are spoken to and being punished if they speak out of turn – which seems to be as far as Michael Gove’s thinking seems to go. To be effective there has to be a culture of respect and it takes more specific skills than just punishing people to establish that. You need confident, experienced and well supported teachers.

            Has your electrician friend considered looking for someone who’s taken a career break for family reasons and is prepared to work for effectively nothing to retrain provided he can work with what they can actually do timewise?

            The national service idea is relevant and important, but of course it needs to be reinvented in the context of the reality that many young people very much want to work for their country but do not want to learn to fight to kill.

            The Modern Baccalaureate infrastructure demonstrates what’s becoming possible. It builds around the idea of setting up frameworks of valuable things students can do and accrediting them for whatever they achieve, alongside their more traditional qualifications and their work related skills. Here’s an example of a certificate.
            http://www.modernbaccalaureate.com/Modern_Bac/Features.html
            It has a QR code the employer can scan to authenticate the certificate and find out more detail about what the candidate has actually done.

        • backofanenvelope
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Last week one of my granddaughters achieved an A* GCSE in French. When I suggested she might like to come with us to France as an interpreter, she said that she couldn’t speak French, she had just memorised the required sentences.

          Someone, Mrs Hanson, is responsible for this – and it isn’t me. Is it you?

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s important students learn to be confident in applying their skills in unfamiliar situations and coping when they are stuck alongside acquiring a core knowledge base lifelogic.

            There have traditionally been tensions between the two skills sets. If a teacher focused on one they are compromising the other and vice versa. We tend to focus to much on only the first core knowledge base because that’s what gets students through exams and that’s what keeps Ofsted at bay.

            Since 2003 I’ve been writing about how were can use emerging web based technologies to overcome the tensions between the two skills sets and more effectively teach them both. Using the strategies I recommend I led a rapid positive transformation in both student engagement and exam results at a school where I was head of maths. There’s an article here which explains how I did this in detail if you’re interested (written as Rebecca Teasdale) http://www.atm.org.uk/journal/archive/mt210.html

            I campaign to raise awareness of what is now possible and also to modify the way Ofsted behaves to allow teachers the professional space they need to adopt better practice.

            I suggest you take your granddaughter to France anyway and try and build her confidence in speaking just a little French at first and see where you can go from there. Encourage her to experiment with using Google translate on her mobile phone alongside what she already knows when she gets stuck.

    • Steven_L
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The thing is, a lot of the ‘experts’ hold some pretty strange ideas. Take weights and measures for instance. Talk to any ‘expert’ and they will tell you having prescribed quantities for draught beer is very important, and that everything will ‘fall apart’ if pubs are allowed to serve beer by the ‘glass’.

      Ask them why the market for soft drinks and coffee hasn’t ‘fallen apart’ due to lack of prescribed quantities and they can’t provide an answer. Ask them why the market for draught beer isn’t ‘falling apart’ in Belguim or Tenerife andn again, they can’t answer you.

      But it doesn’t stop them holding onto their quasi-religious belief that prescribed quantities are a good and neccessary thing. I know nothing of education, but I imagine that the ‘experts’ are the same as in everything else, holding onto outdated PC views that don’t stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        It’s not like that in reality Steven, no matter how often Michael Gove pretends it is so that he can create straw men to vanquish to the applause of the Tory right wing.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        What they mean is the justification for their jobs might fall apart.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Well, there is an established school of thought that says that education should focus on ‘our most challenging kids’ and that teaching children English syntax and spelling to prevent their writing gobbledegook would inhibit their imaginations and creativity or that the use of calculators has rendered numeracy obsolete. However, is it just possible that giving all children at least equal attention, even if that meant that the brightest might outstretch the nascent criminal classes even further, might not be fairer and better for the country, or that teaching children basic numeracy or the structure of the English language, might stand them in good stead for later years when they might wish to be able to communicate professionally about e.g. education?

      There is also a school of thought which proposes that government initiatives which have had the effect of undermining us as an exclusively first world western civilised country were introduced entirely for that purpose.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        We can’t ignore our most challenging kids forthurst because if we do they trash lessons and cause havoc.

        One of the best labour policies was the one which ring fenced money for bright children in schools in challenging areas to ensure that good top sets always existed. It was a good ‘ant-sink-school measure’ but it also meant that bright kids in tough areas could thrive (whether or not they are challenging!). In reality in many areas you do not need to spend a lot of money to create and excellent education for bright children. You simply need to ensure they have very good teaching and appropriate extra activities to challenge them. Many of them will be able to afford to pay for these extra activities because they come from professional families and you simply need to ensure funds are available for those students who genuinely can’t afford to take part in them to be involved to (as we currently do).

        You seem to be talking about the Steiner school of thought in education which as never had any presence in state education but Michael Gove is now supporting as he is allowing Steiner free schools.

        I think most government initiatives are well intentioned. The ones which most undermine societies are those which are not properly consulted to make them fit for purpose – like Michael Gove’s.

    • outsider
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Dear Rebecca Hanson,
      Having read many of your comments and followed links to your own blog, it seems to me that the gist of your argument is this:

      (words left out-ed) Rupert Murdoch has determined to destroy the education of British children to serve his as yet unspecified commercial interests, or possibly out of sheer malice. He has used his immense power over Prime Ministers (apparently revealed at the Leveson Commission) to have his own puppet Michael Gove, who is also completely ignorant about education, installed as Secretary of State. Gove is dutifully following his master’s orders by destroying the system from within, first by getting rid of anyone who is able, knowledgeable or principled, replacing them with ignorant (yes men-ed)(possible vetted for the purpose by Murdoch’s people), and then using these henchmen to destabilise the system, ruin pupils’ education, which was just about to achieve first class results under the guidance of experts, wreck many children’s futures and upset all the teachers.

      I have no idea whether the latest education reforms are good or bad but I suspect that your argument would rate an E in AS level Critical Thinking. We get little idea of what Mr Gove is actually doing wrong, other than the ad hominem stuff, little idea of what the arguments are really about. Except that,
      as Mr Give would doubtless agree, more money would help.

      My impression is that, like most intelligent members of organisations that have change imposed from without, you are suspicious of anything “not invented here”. Many of us have shared similar feelings during our working lives. But you cannot simply rely on the idea that things should be left to experts who know what they are doing. Otherwise, you would have to apply the same logic to, say, banking and economic forecasting.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        oldtimer

        “Experts”

        Ah yes another age old problem, who decides these people are experts, one assumes other experts, or those who are not experts who believe these people are experts, because the so called experts say they are.

        Problem happens when experts have differing views, which expert do you believe.

        Its usually someone with commonsense who has the answer, but then …………………… !

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          It’s useful to try to encourage people who seem to have valid points to try to explain why they hold their views in the contexts of the experiences they have had.

          This not only helps to establish the validity of the views held but it also helps us define which views are valid when and whether there are deeper insights which transcend both positions.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for taking the time to read my blog outsider.

        In the next part which I’m currently writing I’ll try to explain some of the links between Murdoch’s interests and the policies Michael Gove pushed through parliament during his first 3 months in power when he spoke to nobody with experience in education and, according to his Leveson evidence, instead spent his time chatting to Murdoch and co about education. These links are very shocking but also very complex and are therefore are difficult to understand. The substantial deletion of emails at the DFE and the use of undisclosed email accounts for communication makes things even more difficult.

        I’m not into pantomimes outsider. I don’t believe in perfect goodies and demonic baddies. Does Murdoch actually believe that the single minded pursuit of profit and the shutting down of state media and so on will improve society or is that just what he wants people to believe in the interests of his businesses? What do you think? Clearly Michael Gove does/did completely believe it.

        I’m also not claiming that I’m perfect in my judgement or complete right and your criticisms of and challenges to particular points are always welcome.

        • outsider
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Dear Rebecca Hanson,
          “There you go again” as someone once said. A mixture of conspiracy theory, ad hominem attack and unsubstantiated generalisation. This mixture is much the same on your website blogs about ofspare, Mr Mauve and Mr Mogul. To me, it all seems more like inchoate ranting than rational argument. Not that Mr Redwood bans inchoate ranting but one expects something better from a professional “expert”.

          You have mentioned your special interests in exchange schemes, twinning with schools in developing countries and assessment technology but, as far as I know, there is no conflict between any of these and government policy. Why do you somehow juxtapose them?

          As for Mr Murdoch, we all have different views of great figures like Lady Thatcher or Lord Reith. Of course he fights for his interests against the big state-sponsored competitor, just like Sir Richard Branson and British Airways. “We the people” know where he is coming from and can filter his views accordingly. But you can hardly claim that Mr Murdoch embodies ” the single-minded pursuit of profit”.

          In my view, the Leveson Commission made rather too much of vague allegations of favour when Mr Murdoch took over The Times, that being some 30 years ago. But to the best of my knowledge, The Times has been run at a loss for every one of those 30 years, sometimes tens of millons a year. You will no doubt put that down to courting influence rather than “love of newspapers”, as Mr Murdoch would have it but you cannot claim it is single-minded pursuit of profit. If that had been the case he would have closed it or merged it with the Telegraph, Guardian or Mail years ago rather than subsidise a “quality” newspaper from The Sun. You cannot have it both ways.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 28, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            Could you pick on a particular point you don’t understand outsider so I can explain it please?

            Re: para 2 it’s best if you ask questions about twinning where and when I comment on twinning as each comment has it’s own relevance to the conversation it’s in, which I’m happy to explain. If there’s one you’d like to ask about which is no longer being discussed please post a link to it.

            Re para 3 I’m thinking about James Murdoch’s speech which has been extensively discussed recently.

            Re para 4 I watched with ‘interest’ the way in which The Times built up Gove’s young advisers as being credible characters in education despite their lack of experience in or knowledge about anything, let alone education before the last election.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Mr Gove is an elected Member of Parliament and the appointed Secretary of State. And your democratic credentials, Ms Hanson, that give you the right to say who is talented and who is not?

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        I’m not trying to say who’s talented and who’s not Lindsay. I’m happy to leave that job to Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and co.

        But I have repeatedly said that Michael Gove is not suited to education. I say this because he lacks experience in consultation, leadership, not succumbing to paranoia and straw men and in discerning who is telling him the truth and who is simply telling him what he wants to hear for reasons of patronage. I hear they want to beef up the whips office in the next reshuffle. Why not put him there? He’d be far more suited to that.

        • Mark
          Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Your paranoia about Murdoch is absurd. News Corp has a small venture in the USA planning to experiment with the use of tablet computers in education. That’s about it, as far as I can see at the moment.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            Mark – imagine how you’d feel if you’d been a middle manager in an industry you loved and had dedicated your life too and you’d had to watch a minister come in an inflict policy after policy after policy which was clearly not fit for purpose (and which rained merry hell on the people in your world and what you do) without consulting any of these policies with anyone who actually understood your industry (while proactively running a huge media spin campaign to label everyone in your world as being self interested and ignorant extremists).

            Suppose that after more than two years said person was still there and clearly in favour with the PM even though everything he’s done is clearly very seriously flawed and he’s done precisely the opposite of the good things he’d promised.

            Suppose then you found that while he’d been ramming those very ignorant key changes through and not talking to anyone in your sector he’d actually been chatting to News Corp instead.

            Wouldn’t you be just a little curious as to why said SoS is doing what he’s doing and whose interests it was in? Most of us here are struggling to adjust to Govism and are keen to get some kind of steer as to what he actually wants to achieve.

            So I’m interested. But I’m not paranoid. I’m open to any explanation anyone would like to give as to why Gove is in office.

          • Mark
            Posted August 29, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            Gove is an excellent education minister, devoted to restoring standards in schools after they have slipped for almost 40 years under previous governments – Labour, Conservative and Lib/Lab (please see the Royal Society for Chemistry study I linked previously showing the decline in chemistry standards very graphically).

            There is no MP of any party I’d rather see in the job at the moment.

            Those people who presided over the gradual decline of standards in our education system may be rather shocked to find a politician who has rumbled grade inflation and educational mumbo-jumbo that ignores the consequences for children emerging to compete with immigrants from elsewhere and is prepared to call a halt. Truly, they should be ashamed of themselves.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            I take it you don’t know anyone who works in state education then Mark?

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I am afraid that I believe in this line a lot. I am sure it is typical of the Civil Service mentality – and indeed that of the BBC too.
    But – hey – what do I know!

  8. oldtimer
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Very revealing. It would be interesting to read the exchange of correspondence between Roy and Dame Lucy on yesterday`s topic, what to do about QE.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s more important to read the real correspondence between the Governor of the Bank of England and two successive Chancellors.

      Ostensibly all the letters that they exchanged about QE are listed here:

      http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/Pages/apfletters.aspx

      Except that they’re not all there, because Darling’s first letter of January 29th 2009 was taken off the list some time ago, and now the link to his letter of March 3rd 2009 no longer works.

      They can still be read, but only in the National Archives where the Treasury has decided to put them.

      I don’t know whether it’s standard Treasury practice that material more than (say) three years old gets put away in the archives, or it’s been done in this case to hide the letters away from easy public view.

      Anyway Darling’s first letter of January 29th 2009 is here:

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/ck_letter_boe290109.pdf

      and his letter of March 3rd 2009 is here:

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100407010852/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/chxletter_boe050309.pdf

      Those two letters are crucially important to understanding what has been done with QE, and are well worth reading.

      In his first letter of January 29th 2009 Darling authorised the Bank to set up the APF – presumably the Bank could not have proceeded without that legal authorisation from the Chancellor – and the APF could borrow up to £50 billion from the Treasury – existing money which the Treasury would have to borrow from private investors – and use that money to fund the purchase of high quality private sector assets for which there was at that time no liquid market – the stated aim being “to improve liquidity conditions in some UK financial markets”, and:

      “I expect the Bank to wind down the fund as normal conditions return. The facility will consequently be withdrawn when it is no longer needed” –

      and Darling indemnified the Bank and the APF against any losses arising from its operations; and in the penultimate paragraph:

      “Given the range of assets that will be purchased and the indemnity that HM Treasury is providing, financing of this facility by Central Bank money will require my consent.”

      That consent to use “Central Bank money” came soon enough, in Darling’s letter of March 3rd 2009, along with his agreement that the APF could start buying up previously issued gilts from private investors.

      Now it was no longer up to £50 billion of existing money to be used to purchase private sector assets, but up to £150 billion of newly created money which could be used to “purchase UK government debt on the secondary market”, while still paying lip-service to the original stated intention of buying private sector assets to improve liquidity conditions.

      And at the end of the letter, “the Government will not alter its issuance strategy as a result of the asset transactions undertaken by the Bank of England”, ie the Treasury would carry on selling new gilts to private investors in parallel to the Bank buying up previously issued gilts from private investors.

      We know where it has got to now, more than three years later after further exchanges of letters: with a planned £350 billion of new money being created, and almost all it used to buy up previously issued gilts and hardly any used to buy other assets:

      http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/Pages/apf/results.aspx

      Ie, with the Bank using newly created money to rig the gilts market and ensure that the Treasury can continue to sell new gilts and so borrow enough to cover the government’s massive budget deficit.

      • zorro
        Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        I think that they tend to use the excuse of archiving material when a new government comes into office.

        zorro

      • stred
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:44 am | Permalink

        It reads as though the process was almost invented accidentally. However, I read somewhere recently, possibly on JR’s, that the Japanese have been using QE for years. Do you think there is a possibility that a decision was taken to copy them?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          Looked at in a charitable light then it could be seen as a classic case of mission creep – it started with the Treasury planning to deploy up to £50 billion in a temporary exercise to oil the wheels of financial markets, and then it morphed into an apparently open-ended programme of monetising the government’s debts so that it could continue to spend £4 for every £3 it was getting in (or £5 for every £4, as it seems to be now).

          Looked at in a more cynical light it might be seen as a carefully executed, premeditated, stepwise plan to rig the gilts market without the general public understanding what was being done and why, and so give Labour some chance of getting re-elected or at least avoiding total annihilation at the election.

          • outsider
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Quite agree.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            Indeed the latter

  9. Acorn
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “Amongst the gems that can be plucked from a book of military staff reports is the remark that “his men would follow this officer anywhere, but only out of a morbid sense of curiosity”. It’s getting a bit like that with the British economy.” (Tim Morgan blog: 0.7% amended to 0.5% but no street parties.)

  10. Tad Davison
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Tongue-in-cheek it may be, but has it really come to this?

    Has the drove of donkeys who lead us become such a derided laughing stock in such a short space of time?

    I recall how much well-deserved criticism Ed Moribund and Ed Balls came in for, with their ‘cutting too far, too fast’ mantra, then the present administration does more or less the same thing. And all the time, the civil servants are not reined-in by those at the head.

    Prior to John Major, the Tories always used to have a reputation for getting rid of jerks. A leader who others thought of as an electoral liability was soon despatched to the Chiltern hundreds. Surely there are still people within the Parliamentary Conservative Party who have the guts to take this matter by the horns and effect the necessary changes?

    Many contributors to this blog have (rightly in my view) said of this present administration that it is just continuity Brown. We really can’t go on like this, but the Tories seem to want to hand election victory to Labour on a plate. Can anyone possibly imagine what a disaster that would be if after this government ceases to be, we had another term of that socialist pro-EU spendthrift lunacy?

    Each day that passes, the patient (the British economy) becomes increasingly more ill, with the only medicine, more of the stuff that made it sick in the first place, and that is no laughing matter. We know what we need to do to put it right, why in the hell don’t the Tories?

    Or again, could we to be forgiven for thinking this is all part of some pre-ordained master plan agreed by the three main political parties to make Britain hopelessly subservient to a federal Europe, whether the people want it or not?

    History is full of instances where leaders who have done their own thing have been deposed. Our weakness is that we stay within the law, which is perhaps what they’re banking on. As each day passes, the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Chancellor, is becoming ever more desperate a necessity. They are clearly not doing the job they were elected to do, so what legitimacy do they have?

    We have been conditioned to accept by subtle increments, Europen integration. This government is merely buying time before the next and possibly irreversible tranche of EU law hits us. If I have one regret that outweighs any other, it is that I ever trusted and supported the Tories in the first place. I feel sorry for some within the party whom I know to be decent people, but they’re just as frustrated. Their weakness is their loyalty. If I had my way, I’d round up the rest, the jellybabies, the career politicians, and the yes-men, and put them on some uninhabited Scottish island where they could do no more harm.

    I have a good sense of humour and will even manufacture a situation to get a laugh, but this present political situation is deadly serious, and no laughing matter!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps financial collapse is the only way the Government can force us to be part of the EU state.

    • Bob
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      @Tad
      “…could we to be forgiven for thinking this is all part of some pre-ordained master plan agreed by the three main political parties to make Britain hopelessly subservient to a federal Europe…”

      That’s exactly what it is.

      Note how our police and armed forces have been emasculated; it’s all part of the preparation.

  11. Sean O'Hare
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    On reading this I thought it was a spoof. If it is for real then it deserves a wider audience than John’s blog, it ought to be on the front page of every newspaper in the land. Mind blowing levels of corruption. These clowns need to be sacked forthwith.

  12. Sean O'Hare
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Ah! Tis a spoof. Well done JR I should have researched your earlier posts.

    • Steven_L
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      But you really wanted to believe it was true didn’t you?

    • Bob
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      @Sean O’Hare
      Well, some names have been changed but it reflects essentially what is going on in Whitehall.

  13. Nick
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    And what’s funny is that because their pensions aren’t a debt, you’re not going to pay them.

    Shafted by their own insistence on spend spend spend.

    Of course MPs have got a fully funded scheme, so they aren’t exposed. They even vote themselves more cash when there is a short fall.

    That’s why we need a law that says double the pain, half the gain for MPs.

    Double the sentences, double the tax increases, half the tax cuts. Double the debt to pay off.

  14. Nick
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Mind blowing levels of corruption.

    ============

    Try asking John Redwood as to

    1. Why the state pension isn’t a debt. To quote him, “It doesn’t work that way”

    2. Ask him too how much the cost of the state pension is, because we know one thing, they have no assets to back up that debt.

    Keeping it off the books, and not talking about it comes across as acting like Bernie Maddoff.

  15. Richard
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Always find these “Dame “Lucy” articles very entertaining reading.
    They would be even more amusing if they weren’t so close to my perception of what might go on in the real corridors of power.
    For example, I find it more than just a coincidence, that several Ministers have found figures and statistics they have been given by their staff for publication recently were not accurate, causing them embarassment.
    Ministers like Mr Gove and Mr Duncan-Smith seem to be working in departments who are doing their best to derail or delay Government policies.

    • rose
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      But do these people still know how to write a letter in the way Mr R suggests?

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    JR, you yourself have repeatedly referred to the euro-federalist majority in the House of Commons, so it doesn’t wash to try to blame the civil service for being euro-federalist.

    If a majority of MPs were patriots and were determined to halt and/or reverse the process of EU “ever closer union” then it would be difficult for any minister to remain in office without actively pursuing that policy, and civil servants charged with implementing that policy would either do as they were told or they could be disciplined and ultimately dismissed.

    We have the same nonsense with politicians trying to shift blame onto the judges when the application of laws passed by Parliament leads to absurd or outrageous outcomes, and with politicians trying to shift the blame onto the Bank of England for carrying out the wishes of the Chancellor, even when the Chancellor is deliberately turning a blind eye to breaches of the law.

    Has any MP asked George Osborne why he has never upbraided Mervyn King and the MPC for failing to meet the inflation target, set by the Chancellor in accordance with the Bank of England Act 1998?

    Has any MP asked George Osborne to explain the precise legal basis on which he has been authorising the Bank to create vast amounts of new money, or proposed that in the future he should not be allowed to do that except after MPs have voted on a motion to approve the next tranche?

    If MPs want to blame anyone then they should not blame civil servants, judges or the Governor of the Bank of England, but themselves; they are after all members of our sovereign Parliament, the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom.

    Or if MPs really must blame somebody else then they should blame the voters for electing them, and perhaps they should go back to their constituencies to say that.

  17. Ferdinand
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I business if managers do not do as requested they are removed. Politicians do not have the courage to take such decisions.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    “I am pleased to report that several of our former colleagues have found good jobs in consultancies … ”

    Tim Yeo MP is not even a former colleague, yet, but it is widely reported that he stands to gain personally from the AGW scam he wishes to impose on the population.

    Apparently he doesn’t even have the decency to wait until he’s left politics before cashing in on the policies he advocated, which has been the more usual way to go about it.

    And he’s not alone in this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9498568/The-tangled-tale-of-Lord-Deben-and-a-dodgy-Severn-barrage.html

    (why don’t other MPs worry about this apparent conflict of interest-ed)

    And it might be thought that the local Tory association in South Suffolk would be reacting by telling Yeo that his days as an MP are numbered, because he will certainly not be reselected as the official Tory candidate as the next election, and in fact they would prefer it if he went now.

    Unfortunately we still don’t have the law to permit constituents to recall their MP.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      That’s true Denis, and it’ll be a long time a coming! Why does that not surpirise me?

      Yet more blather and bullshine intended to dupe the trusting, hapless public.

      My Welsh Border Collie has learnt to leave the room every time I either swear, or use the word ‘politician’ because she knows I’m just about to follow it up with a profanity. .

      Tad

    • Mark
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Zac Goldsmith is right about the need to implement the promised recall measure.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      The Climate Change Act is designed to ensure that we waste as much money as possible on unreliable energy generation whilst offering plenty of opportunity for scamsters and banksters to make a killing. Rather than focus on those who might predictably be engaged in consequent troughing, it would be preferable for Mr Booker to identify those who are behind the AGW conspiracy in the first place. These crooks need to be exposed in the MSM as they already have in the alternative media. They are trying to control the West’s access to proper energy sources and thereby control our economies.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        If MPs are troughing, even if predictably, then we need to know about that and it needs to be stopped.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is way for politicians to divert tax payer’s money as they would like.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    “We also have a duty to brief Ministers of the importance of not trying to disrupt this autumn’s complex negotiations on keeping the Euro together with any demands for the UK to get powers back or have a looser relationship. This would be seen as very unhelpful by our partners and lead to a further loss of UK influence, which is bad enough thanks to our position on the Euro and banking matters.”

    There’s no need for civil servants to brief ministers on this, as Cameron is quite prepared to give Merkel whatever she wants and ask for nothing substantive in return.

    Which is what he did with the radical EU treaty change agreed by EU leaders on March 25th 2011, the subject of this Bill which will receive its second reading in the Commons on Monday week, September 3rd:

    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/europeanunionapprovaloftreatyamendmentdecision.html

    An e-petition calling for that EU treaty change to be put to a referendum is here:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33825

    It should be put to a referendum despite Hague having resorted to legal chicanery to deny us one, contrary to the spirit of the oft-repeated pledges made by the Tory party before the general election.

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I used to find this sort of post funny. Not any more; it’s too close to the bone.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Linsay

      “too close to the bone”

      I could not think of any comment to add either, funny or otherwise.

    • Mark
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure Peter Bone would explain that his wife knows the truth of the Spendlove letters…

  21. stan francis
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    What owner of a company would employ one of these useless lot anyway, they must have been given enducements to employ them, but hold on you cannot employ one of this LOT unless you wanted to commit Harry Cary, for they just appear at a building, check their gilts on line and go through the throws surely, I would have given them a 6 shot gun with five bullets, that’s more than generous?

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Stan

      You mean you do not think them even capable with one, at point blank range.

      Well I suppose they can quadruple the debt, need huge budgets, so why not quadruple the number of bullets, just to make sure you understand in case they miss their target more than once.

  22. Jon
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Its a tough life, 5 x full pay as a payoff, pension augmented to the hilt.

    Lets take someone on £30,000pa salary. Gets a £150,000 pay off and an equivalent pension fund worth £500,000 atleast.

    Take a mandarin on £90,000 and their pension pot is worth £1.5m. Plus during their career they never had to answer or be accountable for their decisions like you would do in the private sector. Gus O’Donnell thinks that would be above their pay grade.

  23. Jon
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    By the way are we still paying for “civil service” union reps to work full time for the unions at our expense from the public purse?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      A few full time union reps oiling industrial relations? What are you like Jon?
      Is the BBA the leading trade association, mouthpiece and lobbing group for British banking and financial services still receiving funding from from failed British banks even after being implicated in the LIBOR rate fixing scam? How much was Angela Knight paid for her full time work. She has now quit and is now an apologist for UK energy companies again subsidised by the taxpayer by billions,The former politician was often outspoken in her five years as BBA chief executive, defending banks over executive pay, taxpayer bailouts and the mis-selling of products.

  24. john w
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    John,these e mails that you keep getting your hands on are infuriating.Keep up the good work.

  25. uanime5
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    So all three political parties are going to work together, rather than fight each other. No surprise there as their policies have been converging for years.

    Good to see someone is willing to tell the Conservatives that trying to milk the Euro crisis for all they can get is not only fruitless but will alienate the other members of the EU.

    Pity that the Civil Service has lost so many talented people but that’s what happens when there’s a bullish government that demands everyone implements their pet projects, rather than something sensible.

    • outsider
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, well, it is nice of you to confirm that you do not favour democracy. One had sort of got the point but it is neat to see it confirmed.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Nothing in my post says I oppose democracy. Though I do oppose the fact that MP can be elected with 20% of the votes, that the Lords are unelected, and ineptness by the Government.

        • outsider
          Posted August 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          ” A bullish government that demands everyone implements their pet projects, rather than something sensible” was the phrase that caught the eye.
          That seems to be a description of democracy, given a pejorative twist and contrasted with “sensible policies” which are presumably decided by “sensible people” rather than by voters.
          The voting system does not really come into it. Some pretty “unsensible” governments, in your sense, have come to power under PR.

    • Mark
      Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      …but the Civil Service grew in the Labour years, although I agree it lost many talented people in that time.

  26. Martyn
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    It is hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. Mr C announced way back that there would be a ruthless axing of civil service and quango bonuses and, sure enough, the bonus scene went quiet for about one year.

    And now? “Trebles all round boys and girls!” Take a peek at today’s DT and you will see what I mean – bonuses for the already well off at taxpayers’ expense are back on the agenda. I know that John’s blog is tongue in cheek, but there is so much underlying truth in it that f it were not for my blodd pressure control medication I would undoubtedly explode at seeing what is going on.

    Take a look at your local district or county county council and note who is actually making the decisions and driving everything. It is not the elected people, because the expensive ‘officers’ to whom so much authority has been delegated (or taken by them) who rules the roost these days. This mainly came about in Blair’s days when England was regionalised. Do you recall that a referendum was later held to see what the people thought about regionalisation (Yorkshire, was it?), when the elector’s answer was ‘shove it, mate’, Blair and Prescott followed the by then well established EU practice of ignoring the outcome and carrying on regardless.

    Nothing has changed since then, nor is it likely to under current management and the most frightening thing is that the Mr C will lose the next election and we will all be very much worse off under Labour. In the words of Al Johnson in the first movie with sound “wait, wait, you ain’t heard nothing yet!”

  27. Graham Swift
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Cameron is a closet LibDem and a Europhile. He is also a one-term PM. The Conservatives will be annihilated at the next general election. UKIP will probably have more MPs. Liebour supporters are well entrenched in the Civil Service and also have the best propaganda organisation , namely the BBC.

    • Richard Cavin
      Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Graham, that’s it in a nutshell.

  28. John Eustace
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    And is the disastrous decision on the West Coast rail franchise to be laid at the door of the civil servants or the responsible minister? It takes a good five minutes of examining the winning bid to see the crass stupidity of the decision

  29. ed t
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    John. Very good indeed. May I ask when you’re going to compile these and edit them into a kind of political Screwtape Letters? I think that when you compile them, and tweak them a little, we could find them a highly educative tool ie. successful satire. They could seek to unfold the paradoxical story of how ‘cutting’ could lead to bankruptcy, for instance 🙁

  30. Richard Cavin
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant spoof, John. Amazed that it engendered so much serious debate. Keep them coming.

  31. Reaper
    Posted August 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Surely this is a parody?

    Such blatant public sector / civil service for its own interests while blatantly lacking objectivity by supporting Labour & the EU is a fake designed to provoke outrage & laugh at the govt’s failure to get to grips with anything, rather than something that many in the civil service may think but few would be stupid enough to put into words & admit blatant manipulation of politicians & partisanship representing clear gross misconduct & abuse of position.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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