Dame Lucy Doolittle is feeling chipper

In a rare moment of frankness, Permanent Secretary Dame Lucy was heard setting out some of her innermost thoughts about the current political situation to a colleague as we run up to the election. As a senior civil servant she is pondering how to prepare for the next government after May and did not know that one of my sources was recording her every word. Here is the gist of what she said:

“As you know, the civil service must prepare for every eventuality after an election. We normally prepare a detailed brief setting out the issues and requirements of the most likely next government, and a lesser brief on the manifesto of the main rival. We do not normally pay more than passing reference to the views of the other parties in a General Election.

This time may be different. If the current polls are to be believed and if they do not change much over the next few weeks, the electorate may decide to decline any party a majority, and indeed may decline any likely combination of two parties a majority. In such circumstances it is beholden on us, the official government, to ensure stability and continuity of policy, and to seek to help politicians of good will to form a majority to see through the necessary conduct of orderly business.

In such a situation We will need to remind those trying to form a coalition or other informal arrangement for a majority that they do not have the necessary strength or authority to undertake major constitutional change based on a balanced Parliament. According to current polls it seems that those wanting to disrupt our important nexus of relationships with the EU will not have a majority, so we will be spared an agonising attempt to renegotiate followed by a referendum on whether to stay in at all. It is an irony of the present position that the continued support for UKIP is denying the Conservatives victory to hold their referendum. The Foreign Office has anyway carried out a wide ranging study of our current relationship with the EU, explained its complexity and importance, and concluded that the current position is fine subject to a few tweaks on benefits and borders which the Germans are now likely to want as well. It will be important to explain this to any new government.

We may also face the position of an important block of SNP MPs. It is another irony that these socialist inclining candidates may well deprive Labour of a majority. Whoever forms the government will need to remind them that the country regards the issue of Scottish independence as settled by the last referendum. Any group of MPs forming a government is likely to want to honour the terms of the offers made to Scotland during the referendum campaign. We must be ready to assist, whilst pointing out that the offers were not detailed and in some respects were different between the parties. The Treasury will need to do more work sorting out how the new tax system will work, with different taxes being devolved in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. The most difficult part for us will be to get political guidance on the new grant settlements required by these new levels of devolved tax.
I suspect any weak coalition will wish to be particularly generous to Scotland, as it may need SNP support or abstention to conduct other business.

The issue of England will be raised by some, but the political imperatives are likely to mean deferring a solution as any coalition is likely to need support from MPs from the other countries and is unlikely to see the England issue as a priority or helpful. We should have ready alternative proposals for devolution to regions and cities which may command more support. We will need to caution against hasty moves to strengthen the largest country in the union. .

In such a balanced Parliament there will need to more guidance from civil servants. We will need to be strong in reminding Ministers of their duties under European law, which mercifully now covers so many areas. We should expect more progress in European integration under the new Commission, as they seek to buttress their great advance of the Euro. We will need to explain the realities of being a good European to our new political masters.

Whilst colleagues will have to look forward to rather more work in such difficult conditions, I feel sure we will be able to reverse the recent slimming of the civil service in the years ahead. We will be able to point out that there is far more work to be done when a government is based on several parties, and when the political situation in the Commons and Lords is fluid. Both the EU developments and the need to complete a new settlement of our own Union means much more detailed civil service work, which needs proper staffing levels.

An outright win by either of the two main parties is of course still possible, and we must cover those options, but the possibility of a balanced Parliament offers most scope for the civil service to rebuild and show its importance as the custodian of stability.”

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75 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Anything other than a Conservative majority will be a disaster, no EU referendum, more EU, higher interest rates, higher cost of Government borrowing and longer to reducing Defecit and longer to get our Dept down.
    If there is no arrangement with UKIP in certain constituencys we can all look forward to a rainbow Coalition!!!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed a UKIP agreement is needed the country is crying out for a real Tory government rather than this dreadful Libdem one.

      It seems however Cameron and even UKIP would far rather lose and have Labour under the dreadful Miliband than come to a sensible agreement.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Not just Cameron is enamored with the LibDems it would seem, as according to Lord Ashcroft: “Tories would rather see the Lib Dems or the Greens as part of a coalition than Nigel Farage’s party.”
        I wonder if our host feels the same way?

        Reply I have no wish to be in coalition, and certainly not with any party that is against a new relationship with the EU based on trade and friendship rather than treaty driven EU government.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          The electoral popularity of the Libdems is very clear. They cannot even hold their deposits. Their policies (ever bigger government, ever higher taxes, over regulation of everything, endless green crap, expensive energy, fake “equality”, augmentation of the feckless and ever closer EU union are damaging, misguided and hugely unpopular.

          Hopefully they will have so few MPs they will be unable to assist any other party. Also with luck the greens (and UKIP) will damage Labour.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted December 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            The Libdem people are now unpopular, but their ideas are as popular as they ever were. You have a younger trendier kinda guy in the Ed person, haplessly trying to mimic 1997 Blair, taking some votes and the Greens taking others from the Libdems. The ideas haven’t changed though. Even Dave wants some of them.

            These policies have to be shown to have failed and failed dismally. The next couple of years in Japan and Europe might finally do that before Miliband gets time to make the same mistakes for us.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            JoeSoap

            No their ideas are not that popular, other than in the Guardian, on the BBC and with the EU & state sector. Who wants not to be able to afford to heat their houses or lose their jobs due to expensive energy?

            I agree Cameron is essentially a LibDem, that is why he lost the last election and is about to lose this one.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 27, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            Well, I don’t know to what extent the Greens are taking votes directly away from the LibDems, because looking at the charts here:

            http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

            the collapse in support for the LibDems started immediately after they went into coalition with the Tories, and that process was close to complete long before support for the Greens started to edge up so that now they are coming ahead of the LibDems in some opinion polls, which is a much more recent phenomenon.

            The LibDems got nearly 24% of the votes in May 2010 but just by the end of that year their support was already down to 11% or lower; and as Labour was the only party which showed a significant upwards shift during that period, up by about 11%, the obvious conclusion is that most of the 13% or so of voters who had deserted the LibDems had switched their support to Labour.

            Therefore while many of those who now say that they intend to vote for the Greens at the next election may have voted for the LibDems in May 2010, it is likely that in most cases their journey from the LibDems to the Greens has not been a direct journey but has occurred in two stages, firstly from the LibDems to Labour and more recently from Labour to the Greens.

            The same is true for UKIP, many of the substantial number of UKIP supporters who say that they voted LibDem in May 2010 have come from the LibDems to UKIP via Labour, not directly, and if they decided not to vote for UKIP at the next election then it is much more likely that they would revert to supporting Labour rather than the LibDems; this is why it is wrong for Lord Ashcroft and Peter Kellner and others to note their existence, but then arbitrarily set them aside and ignore them when trying to work out the extent to which the alternative being offered by UKIP is harming the prospects of the Tory party vis-à-vis Labour.

        • agricola
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Reply.

          As UKIP are positive about a new relationship with the EU based on trade and mutually beneficial cooperation you could get on tolerably well. They too are totally against the existing political treaty.
          Let’s hope that we arrive at a situation where the conservatives can govern after May 2015 but only with UKIP support. No coalitions because they taint those in them. We might then end up with experience in government combined with true conservative values. Dame Lucy along with many elements in the BBC could then look forward to a happy retirement at the Magic Marigold Hotel debating what went wrong.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      You have got to be joking!!!! Five years of unadulterated Dave would mean more deficit spending, more failed immigration targets and parliament devoting its time to meaningless causes like “gay marriage”. All you have to fear with Ed is that the inevitable will come a lot more quickly. As JR showed the other day, the plates are being kept spinning at the moment through a combination of consumer and state spending. Its not a question of “if” but “when” that dries up because nobody is going to lend either of them the wonga indefinitely.

      John I had dinner with an Aussie doctor last night who would love to work in the NHS. Naturally he is a native speaker of English, but he is put off having to do another exam to test his clinical skills and the £500 0r so that he has splash out on a work visa. If the NHS is a crisis this winter, why are not doctors of his calibre being fast tracked into a job? Why are we turning away talent from world class medical schools such as Melbourne, in favour of institutions in places such as Bucharest just because they are in the EU?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Well because we have a racist immigration system – EU good anyone else bad irrespective of the individual’s merits.

        • JoeSoap
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Be fair-so long as they have no connection with the Commonwealth, they seem to be welcomed here.

      • stred
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        It is not only EU rules that prevents distinguished from practising here. We know of a psychiatrist from an EU country who has to take a test and training here before working and is overqualified for the course. The delay is also preventing her husband from taking a job for which there are no suitable UK applicants. While another distinguished trauma surgeon from the US cannot work as she has no recent experience in basic surgery for gut problems. It’s the GMC running their numbers game.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Well these Medical and Legal “trade unions” are clearly there mainly to protect the interests of their members. They have powerful friends and “consultants” in parliament. This preserves their pay differentials relative to other (often more worthy) professions.

          • stred
            Posted December 27, 2014 at 12:52 am | Permalink

            With a superb HQ and staff supported by the taxpayer.

      • Timaction
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Happy Christmas Mr Redwood.
        I’m afraid that all the legacy parties want more EU and mass migration. No reform of the Human Rights farce, increases in foreign and EU aid above the current £25 billions give away. They’re happy to tax us and give away are valuable and collapsing health and education services to anyone who turns up here free of charge.
        Einstein said that it is the first sign of madness to keep doing the same things and expecting a different outcome. A vote for the legacy parties is for more of the same. This Country, particularly England, needs change and there is only one party who has caused the others to talk but not deliver the change that we desperately need quickly.
        We need political changes to a party that is patriotic and will look after the indigenous people, not the foreign dictatorship we currently live under. We want our Country, its democracy and sovereignty returned here so we can bring to account those who make laws over us. Not Junker, Merkel or Holland who currently dictate to us.

      • Tom William
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        I have a South African cousin who was working as an obstetrician in an NHS hospital. They only offered him a six months rolling contract so he found it impossible to get a mortgage. He and his wife are now in Australia, in an excellent job, for good.

        Why are our rules so absurd?

        • Dame Rita Webb
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Here is another titbit from last night concerning the revalidation of GPs. As most people know the GP service is in just as much a pickle as the hospitals. No one wants to go into it and those that are practicing it at the moment are desperate to get out. So while Dave is more concerned with more pressing issues like “gay marriage” , “re validation” continues to push more GPs out. It’s a sledge hammer to crack a nut exercise which is intended to prevent another Shipman. Because of the amount of work involved to get through it most GPs in their early sixties just say sod it and retire. I could also mention my local hospital which has trouble paying it’s electric bill yet has found the wherewithal to rip out its telephones to replace them with something more “efficient”. With this lack oversight from Hunt what the hell have you got to worry about over the return of Burnham?

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            Be in no doubt that people are dying under these policies.

          • stred
            Posted December 27, 2014 at 1:04 am | Permalink

            Probably a panic measure following mess ups with a few EU GPs who accidentally killed a few NHS customers. They can’t just validate EU doctors as that would not be e’u’qual. Therefore, sod the lot about. Diversite, equalite, fraternite, taxfreesalarie etc.

        • Jon
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          EU rules, favour EU workers above all others.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        We are making it difficult for our own clinical talent.The goal posts keep being moved so the experienced have to take exams at a lower level than they currently practice and have done for years in order to pay for and meet lower standards (which are bulled up so the public thinks they are superior) That is what happens when academia runs the show.

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 27, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          Margaret

          Clearly you know more than I ever will about the current workings of the NHS, although we used to have a family member who was employed with them, so I have some knowledge

          The point you make about academia running the show (or at least attempting to) is not confined to the NHS.
          The Political mantra of a few decades ago that 50% of pupils need to go on to University, which caused many Polytechnic’s to close, and as a result caused immense damage and many a problem in industry and commerce as well.
          Common sense and good sensible working practice developed over years, was often overruled by so called politically correct unpractised theory and new Health and Safety guidelines.

          Too little practical Knowledge, and an over reliance on theory can prove to be a very expensive error.

          Never mind lessons will be learnt as they say, problem is it is often too late.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    They say that many a true word is spoken in jest–or at least I hope you were jesting

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      This was not written in jest. The issues raised are beyond jesting. JR is setting out how the Civil Service will seek to reinforce its grip on the evolution and conduct of public policy towards further absorption into the morass that is the EU.

      • philip haynes
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is alas no joke, this is just how the establishment, most bureaucrats, Labour, the Libdums, half the Tory Party (including Cameron) and the BBC do think.

  3. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    When is Red Ed going to be put up against a wall and asked to account for what he said about Hollande and France? How wrong can someone be? Or would he say that the problem was that Hollande didn’t try sufficiently hard with his Socialism?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Red Ed is going to do the same disastrous experiment for the UK with his energy price controls, “mansion taxes” and his rent act II. It will be even more of a disaster than Cameron’s pro EU, greencrap, socialism and even than the mad Hollande has been.

      Economics not being Cameron and Milibands stong point (indeed what is). Perhaps they dropped it in their Oxford PPE or perhaps they just teach some quack magic money tree version of Economics in PPE.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      How wrong can someone be?

      Well being wrong seems to be an great asset in career politicians.

      John Major, Ken Clarke, Tony Bliar, Neil Kinnock, Leon Britton, Michael Heseltine types and all those who fell for the EURO, the ERM, big government, the global warming, expensive energy, nonsense exaggerations, the “fake equality” religion and all the rest of the damaging nonsense.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Being consistently proved wrong also gave us Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey for example.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “The Foreign Office has anyway carried out a wide ranging study of our current relationship with the EU, explained its complexity and importance and concluded that the current position is fine, subject to a few tweaks on benefits and borders which the Germans are now likely to want as well.”

    This is exactly Cameron’s position. It is one of the reasons that a Labour overall majority still looks about 50% likely. This despite their hopeless leader and hopeless policies.

    The election is a second open goal for Cameron’s Tories or it would be if Cameron were a real Tory who actually believed in UK democracy, smaller government, lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper non religious energy and far less EU. This is what about 70% of the electorate want to see after all.

    Given the result in the EU elections (where UKIP had the most support and Cameron came a poor third) the problem is clearly these fake, EU loving Tories splitting the UKIP vote by pretending to be serious about EU renegotiation – they are clearly not remotely serous at all on this. Cameron is just attempting to defraud the electorate for a second time. Any party that allows (the proven wrong on almost every issue) Ken Clarke types to stand yet again is clearly not worthy of any support at all.

    Cameron is just Ken Clark in a younger more voter friendly disguise. He will clearly rat yet again if he gets the chance. Better to suffer Miliband and his bonkers rent act II and price controls than have to watch the fraud that is Cameron ratting again.

    • Tom William
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      There are two alternatives for a Conservative victory.

      Defenestrate Cameron. Anyone else would be popular and the Cameroons are hardly likely to abstain.

      Cameron decides early next year that he has no chance of getting any agreement to put to the electorate and he goes for an article 50 exit/ Brexit/Flexit.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        There is no one to replace Cameron at this late stage who is likely to win and anyway we would end up with essentially just another Cameron, given the lefty Tory MP mix we have.

        Someone needs to explain (forcefully) to Cameron what he needs to do and quickly.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t chuck Mr Cameron out of a window. He might land on someone useful.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “It is an irony of the present position that the continued support for UKIP is denying the Conservatives victory to hold their referendum. ”

    She probably recognises that any negotiation is futile and the outcome a fudge. Although she couldn’t possibly comment she considers the current PM to be a strong EU supporter, who will campaign to remain in given the most unlikely referendum in 2017 and that UKIP voters realise this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Everyone knows Cameron is “a strong EU supporter” even Cameron says so. He has zero intentions of any renegotiation – other than as a superficial & totally transparent fig leaf for him.

      His proposed renegotiation route is clearly nothing but an attempted fraud against the electorate Mark II.

      The election is an open door for Cameron if only he were a sound Tory and he would seize it.

  6. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Was this Dame talking to the animals ? Everything she spoke of was plausible until she said in effect ,that we must bow down to our political EU masters.Where was this lady when she wrote the speech ; does she not realise that boxing day and all its pugilistic overtones carries the thought of the day to denying to bullies the right to rule.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “We will need to explain the realities of being a good European to our new political masters.”
    I think your source must have mis-recorded the final word – it was not “masters” but “puppets”. Their actual “masters” are in Brussels and Berlin as Dame Lucy would be the first to acknowledge.

  8. Peter2holmwd@aol.com
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I found myself getting angrier as I read this piece. Her attitude to the EU filled me with utter dread. We really must hope for a majority Conservative government, with a leader who is prepared to consider eventual withdrawal from the EU as more likely than unlikely. Also, perhaps a Conservative administration might put her in her place.

    • matthu
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      We really must hope for a majority Conservative government, with a leader who is prepared to consider eventual withdrawal from the EU as more likely than unlikely.

      Unforunately, that option is not on the table.

  9. Bryan
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    An election pact with UKIP, official or clandestine, would almost guarantee a majority for Mr Cameron, and probably ‘kill off’ Labour in England, especially given their stance on EVEL. SNP should see off Labour in Scotland quite comfortably.

    Unfortunately the Boys Brigade at No. 10 are more intent on blowing their bugles.

    Hope you enjoyed your Christmas with the family John.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Except that according to the opinion poll mentioned here:

      http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9031

      an electoral pact between UKIP and the Tories would benefit neither party.

      The reason being that an overt pact with UKIP would lose the Tory party a chunk of its present support, and similarly an overt pact with the Tory party would lose UKIP a chunk of its present support, and probably the overall effect would be for Labour to pull a bit further ahead of the Tories.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense. If Tory and UKIP voters stopped splitting their vote they would have some 47% support with Labour on 33%. In fact a combined and well co-ordinated campaign, shifting the Tories onto a more popular line (of less EU, cheaper energy, far less government and lower taxes) would probably win even more support than that.

        There is much additional synergy in the combination and “new” is a powerful selling point. But Cameron prefers to throw a second sitting duck election it seems.

        • forthurst
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense yourself. UKIP is not just drawing support from the Conservative Party but other established parties as well; it’s not only ex-Conservatives who detest Cameron and his ilk, erstwhile voters of the other established parties could never stand him in any case, and on the other hand there are still presumably plenty of Conservative Party supporters who are as deluded as their leadership in believing we should stay in and renegotiate and make everything better; the latter category probably also believe in AGW, the Magic Money Tree and any other garbage published in the MSM: a UKIP/Conservative alliance is a non-starter.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 27, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          To quote from the article linked above:

          “There is sometimes a lazy assumption that because the Conservatives and UKIP together have a very healthy level of support a pact between the two parties would be a winner. That is not necessarily the case – parties do not own their voters. If two parties agree to stand to together it doesn’t follow that their voters will go along with it. The usual voting intention in the poll showed Labour four points ahead of the Conservatives, but with UKIP on 18%. Asked how they would vote with a Conservative/UKIP pact the Labour lead grew to six points. The reason is that only about two thirds of current Conservative voters would back the joint ticket – some would flake away to Labour or the Liberal Democrats, others wouldn’t vote or aren’t sure what they would do. At the same time only just over half of UKIP supporters would follow their party into a deal with the Tories, others would go to Labour, find an alternate “other” party or not vote. This probably paints an artificially bleak picture because many of those don’t knows would hold their noses and vote for the joint-ticket, but it should still serve as an antidote to those thinking a pact is a panacea to Tory woes.”

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Denis

        There is no need for UKIP/Tory coalition.

        But…

        In constituencies where either UKIP or the Tories could defeat Labour they could keep out of each other’s way.

        I note that the Daily Mail is doing a Ratner/Cameron in a sustained campaign of insult to UKIP, therefore it is alienating a large part of its customer base.

        Truly.

        Both the Daily Mail and the Conservatives have more contempt for ‘white van man’ England than they do for Labour.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          In theory UKIP and the Tories could keep out of each others’ way in certain constituencies, but in practice the Tory leadership would certainly not agree to stand aside and give the upstart enemy UKIP a free run anywhere, and nor is it likely that the UKIP leadership would willing to do any favours for the Tories even if the members of a local branch were that way inclined. Which is itself less likely to happen than in past general elections, given that many of the newer UKIP members were never Tories or Tory sympathisers. I recall one branch unsuccessfully pleading with UKIP HQ to stop another branch putting up a candidate against a particular Tory MP, and I remember UKIP HQ parachuting in a paper candidate because the local branch had declined to nominate a candidate, but I think such things are less likely to happen at the next election because of the changed political complexion of the enlarged membership.

      • stred
        Posted December 27, 2014 at 1:13 am | Permalink

        There is no way some conservative (small c) voters are going to vote for any party with Cameron and his guilty supporters, or Millipede and his ex- Brown/Blair henchpersons, or the Dums. What is needed is a cleansing into clear groups with clear policies and a clearing of class nonsense.

  10. Bert Young
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Dame Lucy is old enough to remember the wisdom and down-to-earth views of Norman Tebbit ; his Telegraph blog’s advice to Cameron – not so very long ago , was to do a deal with UKIP . This , surely , is the only sensible way forward if this country is to retain its dignity and independence .

    One of her colleagues – a bright young member of the diplomatic service , wrote a paper that showed a £1.3bn increase in our GDP were we to exit the EU . He said that staying in would mean retaining almost all of the most onerous and controversial aspects of EU membership . Iain Mansfield was the colleague and his reward won him the prize from the Institute of Economic Affairs .

    The Civil Service is a centre of many very intelligent and worthy individuals ; Dame Lucy is lucky to be surrounded by them . If she has the heart and feeling of the British Public , she will bring the “Mansfields” into the centre and spread his wisdom to all departments .

  11. turbo terrier
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Dame Lucy wants to get her and her kind out into the real world and start walking the talk and better still start listening to all the concerns out here in the real world.
    When are the Dame Lucy’s going to start to think outside the box of personal survival at any cost?

    To the majority of our politicians it is just a job for five years and rely on the party faithful to get re-elected. Unlike our host they are perceived to do 3/5ths of naff all and spend more time out of the chamber than in it.

    We have all these faceless people dictating our lives and far too many of the elected members are too happy to be guided by them. There are far to many areas that are critical to the country’s survival and still we are perceived to be going around in circles. A rainbow parliament will just make matters worse and will raise concerns in the financial markets

    Instead of crippling the country’s effectiveness with trying to address CO2 reduction with useless turbines and all the susbsidies to provide back up to keep the lights on, the constraint payments they generate for their foreign owners, lets start with trying to reduce transport pollution. With the shambles of yet another landslip outside Ballantrae shutting the A77 causing a 200 mile detour to get the goods to the Cairn Ryan port is it not about time that investment is made in the research to using for example Airships capable of carring four containers which is four lorries off of the road. Routes could be allocated above motorways or along coastal routes. Most ports are near the sea. The actual body of the airship could be used for advertising the company and its clients. It is just a thought but at least it is outside of the box unlike Mr Davey and his electric cars.

  12. ian wragg
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased John is using the blog to get his message across that a vote for UKIP will deny us a referendum. He knows full well Cameron will resign rather than give us a referendum so we can get the excuses in early.
    Dame Lucy is probably styled on CMD’s hero Clogg who may be off to Brussels after the GE.

    Reply A Conservative government will provide a referendum on the EU

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      If you put a commitment in your manifesto to hold a referendum within 6 months of the election, you would have a resounding majority. CMD knows this and will not entertain the idea. The last thing he wants is a working majority.
      Is it still policy to rid us all of our heating and cooking facilities within 20 years. I’ve just been reading about the proliferation of log burners where people are using plastic bottles to assist burning when the wood is wet. So we shut our power stations down and poison the population with the toxins from unburned plastic.
      The law of unintended consequences me thinks.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Why are people going on about log burners when the government’s policy is to burn wood pellets in power stations which they obtain from half way around the world? Why do they think people have resorted to wood? If, like us, you are lucky enough to own a very small wood or know a friend who does, then when you get a storm and a tree falls down it amounts to free heating. If not for that we would have to run our oil boiler which although cheap at the moment is not always so. Neither is electricity or gas. It is failure on the part of the government that our fuel for heating our homes has become so expensive and when we have to pay over £100m in subsidies to wind farms to turn off and pay subsidies for dirty diesel backup is it any wonder we are all so angry and fed up with this government. Get rid of the Lib/Dems and their stupid green ideas and get Farage in who at least has the good sense to see how stupid this all is. France has just announced their unemployment rates are the highest ever and Germany is struggling so when are the EU going to knuckle under and get into the real world? All this eco/green/anti CO2 crap is destroying this country and Europe and the rest of the world is laughing and at the same time getting on with making money for their economy and their people. Shame on our governments who seem content to keep the people poor and destroy everything our forefathers worked for. I truly despair.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted December 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Burning wood added with plastic gives off lethal toxins if not burnt above 850 degree centigrade for 4 seconds. I don’t think naturally aspirated log burners fulfil this requirement. Just watch soon they will be subject to stringent controls as we are now seeing with diesel engines.

          • fedupsouthener
            Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I have already seen the comments about pollution from wood burners in the papers. My thoughts too. How long before they bring in a tax on wood burners for joe public and still go on burning wood pellets in our power stations?

          • stred
            Posted December 27, 2014 at 1:22 am | Permalink

            There was a fire at Newhaven incinerator recently, where the pile of recycling junk waiting to be burned went up. The area for miles was subject to fumes, which I remembered were similar to plastic burning and lethal. We diverted upwind to avoid it. Last year an inversion during anti cyclonic weather also resulted in a smell of burning plastic- a nerve gas in large concentrations.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      A Conservative government will provide a referendum on the EU, just as Cast Iron did on Lisbon I assume. Heart and soul will only give a referendum if he thinks he can win it for IN. Otherwise he will say his “Ken Clark wing” will not let him or he will find some other pathetic fig leaf. Perhaps some other lie/fig leaf like “a treaty is not a treaty once ratified”?

      Anyway the chances of an overall Tory majority are only about 8% and this “majority” will include about 100 Ken Clarke/Cameron types anyway.

    • Hope
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      No chance, it is simply not possible in the time frame. Deluded nonsense. How many broken EU promises does it take for you to realise? No more closer union to the EU, then Cameron gave taxpayers’ money to do exactly that, no bail outs to the EU, how many were there, the recent deception of the £1.7 billion given away to the EU, recent lost case to allow people from Turkey to claim welfare when it’s citizens are not in the EU! EAW where our rights were handed over by Cameron when he did not have to comply! I previously voted Tory, however, I would rather vote Labour than Cameron. UKIP is the only party to bring change the rest are different cheeks of the same ar5e.

    • agricola
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply
      A conservative government will only agree to an unequivocal in out referendum if it’s existence in power is dependant on a small number of UKIP MPs who will not settle for anything less. Being solely dependant on Cameron’s integrity in this matter is pure fantasy and you know this or are politically blind to reality. His whole stance has been subterfuge based on a time buying renegotiation programme that does not exist and will never be allowed by Brussels. Dame Lucy explains this to you in her submission in which she suggests a sprinkling of ground bait but no more.

      Reply. Not so. Conservative MPs will insist on the referendum.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        Just as they kept the last “cast iron” EU promise? Ratted on even before they threw the election and had the Libdems, and the IHT threshold promise of 6? years ago – now not even mentioned.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        but will a referendum get us out?

      • agricola
        Posted December 27, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply.

        I wish I had your faith in your colleagues. Under different leadership it might be possible.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “It is an irony of the present position that the continued support for UKIP is denying the Conservatives victory to hold their referendum.”

    It surprises me that somebody as astute as Dame Lucy has swallowed this story.

    The large scale transfer of support from the LibDems to Labour, yes, that is a major obstacle to a Conservative victory in 2015; and the LibDems blocking the boundary changes, yes, that is another major obstacle; but as for the effect of UKIP, no, even Labour strategists have now worked out that this will be only a minor obstacle to a Conservative victory.

    From Table 1 on page 9 of their leaked document “Campaigning Against UKIP”:

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03138/CampaigningAgainst_3138005a.pdf

    68% of UKIP supporters would not consider voting for any other party; only 16% would consider voting for the Conservative party, and they are countered by 10% who would consider voting for the Labour party; 16% – 10% = 6%, and taking the present level of support for UKIP as being about 17% of all voters, 6% of that is equivalent to just 1% of all voters; so on that basis even if UKIP were to completely disappear from the political scene the potential net benefit to the Conservatives vis-à-vis Labour would be about 1%, which is much smaller than is required to overcome either of those two major obstacles faced by the Conservative party in achieving a victory in 2015.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      ““It is an irony of the present position that the continued support for UKIP is denying the Conservatives victory to hold their referendum.”

      It surprises me that somebody as astute as Dame Lucy has swallowed this story.”

      I was surprised that Dame Lucy dropped her Civil Service impartiality to make it; in fact it made me wonder whether Dame Lucy has been visiting relations in Wokingham.

  14. BobE
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Predictions
    By next Summer Boris will lead the conservatives.
    This time around the SNP will be kingmakers.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      So how is Boris going to save the UK.? The only plus point I can give him is that he never bothered to change his accent like Cameron and Osborne. After watching him on “Have I got news for you” and him trying to play football, the thought of him providing competent leadership does not exactly spring to mind.

  15. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    A new Government firmly based in Parliament , firmly based on democratic representation would need to take a firm hand to the Civil Service as it obviously has difficulty coping with the finer parts of democracy.

    Early retirement settlements and/or redeployment to less taxing and frustrating and demanding areas of administration would be kind and most generous.

    • stred
      Posted December 27, 2014 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Also a special tax on Civil Service pensions, similar to the Brown raids on private pensions, that they organized, would be helpful to the economy.

      Calm down Rita. There would still be enough to survive.

      • stred
        Posted December 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Rita. I meant Lucy.

  16. fedupsouthener
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    When are our politicians going to stand up against this garbage? John, where are the rest of your colleagues who used to be so against all of this? Is it because an election is looming and you don’t want to upset the apple cart? For goodness sake where are our MP’s with some guts?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2887312/Now-Whitehall-s-crazy-eco-zealots-want-ban-gas-cooker-writes-CHRISTOPHER-BOOKER.html

    This is horrifying.

  17. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I know UK politicians use the term “socialists” in what can only be a rhetorical sense when Joe Bloggs is in earshot . But even most Mr Bloggs are very well aware that real socialists if they ever existed in the UK, died out somewhere around 1950-60.

    One sees/hears echoes of them variously when angry young men stage Anti-Globalization demos, but like in yesteryear they are never able to communicate with “the workers ” to any great effect because of the polysyllabic pseudo-intellectual and archaic words they utter like “proletariat” and bourgeoisie. ”

    That someone high in the Establishment actually believes any party in the whole of Europe even the SNP is “socialist” or “socialist-inclining” is one of the most disturbing things I’ve heard this Yuletide.
    Has reality completely escaped the notice of those in the Corridors of Power?

  18. turbo terrier
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Trawling through your blog. The record by Bonnie Tyler comes to mind: Where have all the good men gone? (You should have been a hero) It appears to me that a lot of people have more and more less faith in the current Westminster inhabitants.

    More and more turbines being passed north of the border being paid for by UK subsidies. Is it not about time that if they want them let their politicians pay for them and not us.

    When the bills go up through the roof as in some European countries the sit back and see what happens.

    So what is the point of supporting shale gas and then removing all gas heating and cooking as highlighted by the Daily mail today?

    The quality of what we have running our country with a very few exceptions is at the moment very second stream. It is about time that all politicians started to think as business men have since time began. If it adds value and brings better profits “just do it”

    It is time to cancel all subsidies and constraint payments whatever and lets have three years of whoever is the most efficient and effective get the governments business. For once in my life time lets play on the same level playing field, with the same ball and the same rules. Is it too much to ask?

  19. fedupsouthener
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    We may have to be generous to Scotland for SNP support? Haven’t we given them enough? When are England going to be properly represented? It grieves me that it is looking more likely that living in Scotland I will be forced to vote Labour just to keep the SNP out. What a disaster. I have never had to vote Labour until living in Scotland. Another reason to try and leave but thanks to the SNP this is proving impossible because of the enormous amount of useless wind farms we are surrounded by and the impossible political situation up here. There are so many houses up for sale and nothing is moving. I see no signs of an economical revival in this part of the country. Nothing to look forward to.

    • Richard
      Posted December 28, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      fedupsoutherner :
      “It grieves me that it is looking more likely that living in Scotland I will be forced to vote Labour just to keep the SNP out.”

      I think you should only vote for the/a party you want to be in power. To vote Labour just to try to keep out the SNP will only make Labour believe they have the policies you support.

      It is this tactical voting which has led to all 3 main parties having identical policies on such issues as climate change, the EU, foreign wars etc..

      The SNP’s achievements are the result of their voters constantly voting for them and not tactically.

      If there is no party on the ballot paper for whom you wish to vote then enter “none of the above”. If sufficient people “spoil” their ballot paper in this way it would eventually have an effect on the democratic process.

      Unfortunately we did not vote for AV when we had the chance.

  20. bluedog
    Posted December 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    An excellent, most accurate and perceptive post, Dr JR. Of course, in moments of political chaos the civil service is free to implement its own agenda. It is hard to avoid the impression that this opportunity is now both anticipated and welcomed by the more cynical mandarins in Whitehall. It goes without saying that the FCO is staunchly pro-EU, regards the Americans with disdain and the Commonwealth as boring if not simply ghastly. To the extent that the FCO provides intellectual leadership to the rest of the civil service, one can confidently predict that Cameron’s promised referendum on the EU in 2017 will be subject to an intense civil service revolt as the day draws near. If the political leadership is too weak to over-ride the civil service, as seems likely, the UK will continue to be a fully compliant member of the EU in all regards except the currency union.

  21. Richard
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I think Dame Lucy Doolittle will have said :

    I don’t think we have anything to fear from next year’s GE. The 3 main parties all have exactly the same policies to increase immigration, the national debt, government regulation and taxation and to remain in the EU. So it really does not matter who wins or which coalition forms. The result will be the same.

    I have liaised with the BBC to ensure that there are sufficient scare stories about the expected loss of jobs and reduced NHS staffing levels should we leave the EU, never mind our total loss of world influence, to ensure that any anti EU parties are not in the running.

    BTW, I have also warned the BBC to not allow any of their journalists to advise the public of Einstein’s definition of insanity so that all main parties can continue to promise whatever they think their voters want despite never fulfilling these promises.

    I know the Conservatives have promised to hold an EU referendum in 2017. But really this promise is so full of loopholes that I am absolutely certain that we can obtain the right result, if in the unlikely event it is held. Anyway, the referendum has already been defined as non-binding and with Scotland voting to stay in the Union we are certain that Scotland will vote to remain in the EU and will have a veto on leaving. And we can always have another referendum should the country not vote the right way.

    In the meantime we have our foot to floor to increase immigration so that anti EU voters will become a small minority whilst also at the same time ensuring that we continue to have a supply of cheap, trained labour.

    Our continued involvement to destabilise the ME and create millions of fleeing refugees will help our country become truly a beacon of excellence in multiculturalism.

    I know that some of you have been wondering what we do when the supply of EU cheap labour starts to dry up, although we hope this will not happen in the short term as we can expect Turkey and all those eastern European countries as far as the Urals to become EU members. However, you will be pleased to learn that we have started negotiations with China.

    Dame Lucy Doolittle
    Barbados

  • 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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