The role of Ministers

There have been too many changes of Minister under Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments. If the civil service think someone may only be in post for a year or so they can delay or impede actions the Minister wishes to take that they do not favour. Frequent changes of Minister means frequent changes of attitude and decision making in ways which may be unhelpful. Ministers are often allocated to a department without proper consultation or discussion of their skills, knowledge and interests. From the moment they arrive in office they are expected to be able to answer a range of difficult questions and make well informed decisions with no training for that role.

Ministers have to perform a variety of tasks. They are there to represent their department in government and to the country. They need to argue its corner in government debate and policy formation. They need to approve necessary actions by civil servants to administer the body of inherited policy and to enforce the inherited law in their area. They need to be the complaints department, seeking improvement and redress where things have gone wrong. They need to make judgements in difficult cases and situations which are brought to their level for decision.

They also need to remember they are elected with others to carry through a vision and a set of promises from a Manifesto. They need to be the change makers in the department where change is needed and where the case for change has been accepted by the public in an election and or made and accepted by Parliament. They may need to reallocate resources, establish new programmes, put through new laws , address new issues.

Ministers will see when they arrive that the department has a culture and a set of defining attitudes towards policy and its tasks. Some of this will be well based and the Minister needs to learn and reinforce it. Some of it will be contrary to what the Minister and government are trying to do, where the Minister should make the case for change in the department and offer leadership to correct what he or she sees as wrong or misguided. It is no defence for bad policy or decisions to say the Minister followed the official advice. It is best where the Minister knows about the matters being discussed and has past qualifications and experience that are relevant as in most other jobs. Where this is not possible a Minister should be kept in post long enough to learn the job and do it well for a bit before being moved.


  1. Peter Wood
    May 21, 2022

    Good morning, let’s count how many ministers heading departments who actually have experience in the sector in which the department works.

    1. Ian Wragg
      May 21, 2022

      Precisely. That’s why we pay farmers to rewild when there’s a food shortage and build thousands of useless windmills which require massive subsidy not to work.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 21, 2022

        +1 the energy secretary is an historian who demonstrates how little he understands about science, energy, climate almost every time he opens his mouth. Depressingly Kwasi is one of the brighter and more sound ones – so dire are most of the others.

      2. miami.mode
        May 21, 2022

        IW, an ex-army chap once told me that the most dangerous thing on a battlefield was an officer with a map. The most dangerous thing for the UK currently seems to be a minister with a plan.

      3. Fedupsoutherner
        May 21, 2022

        Ian. I believe all these fields that are being subjected to rewilding will eventually be classed as scrub land and eligible for building on.

        1. Shirley M
          May 21, 2022

          Why bother going to that trouble when there is seemingly no obstacles to building on top quality arable land. Thousands of acres have disappeared under housing in our locality. Every direction I look in, what used to be farmland is now housing.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            May 21, 2022

            Shirley. True but look how much better it looks if they can say the field is useless. They are building on fields that flood every year in Sussex.

        2. Original Richard
          May 21, 2022

          Fedupsoutherner :

          I beleieve that is the also case for solar farms and hence the reason they exist at all.

        3. Mickey Taking
          May 21, 2022

          It wasn’t so long ago that local ‘Planning’ (!!_) expected evidence that an proposed infill plot of land to an existing house needed evidence of it being gardened!

  2. GilesB
    May 21, 2022

    Backbench MPs should spend at least half a day learning ‘How to be a minister’, at the level of an MBA, or Master of Public Policy. This should include briefings:
    – from Civil Servants on the organisation, responsibilities, assets and challenges of each Department
    – from external experts on policy development processes, government accounting, planning and control systems in large organisations, and influencing and negotiation skills
    – from ex-Ministers on their ministerial experience and lessons learnt.
    and role-playing exercises, particularly on issues between Ministers and. Civil servants, between public sector bodies and private sector suppliers, between U.K. and foreign governments.

    They may never be a Minister, but it would be useful knowledge and skills anyway for every MP and for a post-Westminster career.

    It should all be cross-party. Organised by, and under the control of the Speaker.

    If MPs have enough time, outside their constituency responsibilities, to be a Minister, surely they have enough time to prepare for doing the job.

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 21, 2022

      Half a day? That’s preparing for the job? No wonder Ministers get criticised if it is no better than that!.

  3. GilesB
    May 21, 2022

    Half a day per week!

    1. miami.mode
      May 21, 2022

      GB, your original comment is the actualité.

      1. John Hatfield
        May 21, 2022

        Actualité? Je ne pense pas. Réalité, peut-être.

        1. Mickey Taking
          May 21, 2022

          sacre bleu!

    2. Ian Wragg
      May 21, 2022

      Up to a year to get power of attorney, probate taking 6 to 12 months. Both websites sighting WFH due to covid. Don’t they know the rest of thworld has moved on.

  4. Bloke
    May 21, 2022


    John Reid is a prime example. New Labour used him like emergency Polyfilla to cover bad holes that emerged in its stints to patch up shabby performance.

    The Home Office, NHS and others needlessly remain far too complicated, unable to function with adequate quality and efficiency. His description of ‘unfit for purpose’ was correct, yet too many stay bloated at wasteful expense with services dead or dying.

  5. Cynic
    May 21, 2022

    What part should the Prine Minister play in making government function properly?

    1. Mark B
      May 21, 2022

      My view is that he is there to appoint MP’s to departments with two clear mandates.

      1) To enact manifesto promises.

      2) To protect the public purse.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 21, 2022

        He seems to have the complete opposite agenda, break manifesto commitments and tax borrow and piss down the drain.

    2. Mickey Taking
      May 21, 2022

      Nobody seems to know judging by recent governments.

    3. Bloke
      May 21, 2022

      He should lead, but he reads lead as a dead weight.

    4. Donna
      May 21, 2022

      Carrie’s a bit busy with the kiddies at the moment. I’m sure she’ll get onto it as soon as she can.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 21, 2022

        she has ‘help’ with the babies- it’s the redesigning of all rooms in Downing St, that keeps her busy.
        God knows who will pay?

    5. Fedupsoutherner
      May 21, 2022

      Cynic. Organising parties at Downing Street. Apparently he and Carrie are ‘experts”.

    6. Timaction
      May 21, 2022

      He’s just a fool who couldn’t run a ………..bath. What Ministers are responsible for 12 years of abject failure.
      1. Highest taxation in 70 years for NO TANGIBLE benefits.
      2. Failed mass immigration with promises of a points based system where the bar is so low that anyone can come in! Immigration once again higher than before new system! Family routes unreformed. One in, all in.
      3. Boat people off to Rwanda! Really, all talk no action and there won’t be until until you get rid of Bliars Human Rights Laws. Designed for criminals. It’s only costing us £5 million a day for illegals and £3000 per head, per year of every other immigrant.
      4. PPE contracts to Tory buddies, no investigation needed. Wink wink. Criminal Furlough breaches not investigated. Too many EU Nationals not living here claiming without checks! Family allowances ditto.
      5. Housing crisis – refer to 2. above.
      6. Health and dental appointments unable to get due to 2. above.
      7. Education placements to decent schools. Not possible refer to 2. above.
      8. Energy strategy. Non existent. Check out our bills to see 25% on Bunters green subsidies plus VAT. All sacrificed on the alter of Boris’s dream eco lunacy. Lets import our electricity from our “friends” the French and listen to them stamp their feet with threats when Boris doesn’t jump to issue unlawful fishing licenses to French Fraudsters. Import coal from the Russians, when we have our own, import wood chips from America and gas from Qatar. The most special kind of stupid virtue signalling. Ban fracking, oil, fracking and gas exploration and threaten windfall taxes. That’ll encourage exploration and not pay dividends to reliant pensioners.
      9. Lets wreck our heavy manufacturing industries and export those jobs to the far East so they can produce more CO2 and then more of the same transporting those goods back here. Refer to 8 above.
      10 Cost of living crisis. My 9 year old grand son could work out what happens when you print money like its going out of fashion then the economy returns and demand outweighs supply. Add the work from home culture so that nothing gets done to support the economy and wham, they’re all working from home walking the dog, shopping, gardening, washing, housework, why not when no one enforces or supervises these …………… woke workers???
      9. Northern Ireland protocol. When are this Government going to stand up to these EU bullies? Never!
      10. Woke/Pc nonsense everywhere without challenge. Every minority group or interest is supported and encouraged, but the English are a forgotten race. Especially working class men and boys.
      11. Etc Etc
      So we’re going to forget you lot at the next elections.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 21, 2022

        too much nitpicking. Make an allowance here and there.

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        May 21, 2022

        Timeaction. This should win post of the year.

  6. Mark B
    May 21, 2022

    Good morning.
    Sir John’s first paragraph covers what I said yesterday in the beginning of my comments. It is nice to see that others realise that this is an issue and that needs addressing. The Civil Service has the upper hand and, for the government to achieve parity things on the government side must change.

    They are there to represent their department in government and to the country. They need to argue its corner in government debate and policy formation.

    On this, Sir John I disagree. I am not saying you are wrong, what I am saying is that is where I believe part of the problem arises and, where I think we should make changes. I am of the opinion that the role of Ministers must change and that they should only be there to implement manifesto promises and to protect the public purse. The role of defending the department should fall solely on the Civil Serpent in charge. Ministers should be relieved of the role of ‘fall guy / scape goat. This would allow them to better scrutinise and make clear to parliament the failing of the department they oversee and for various committees to scrutinise the CS responsible. This would for Senior CS’s to up their game knowing that is they that will be in the firing line and not the hapless Minister / MP.

    The other area I suggest is one of knowledge and speciality. Very few MP’s can be said to understand all the complexities of what goes on in government. The various laws, rules, agreements and regulations can overwhelm anyone and, with a CS that can easily know more a Minister and his / her advisors can simply be outmanoeuvred by a CS which wishes to ignore or obstruct government policy. To this end would it not be advisable for political parties to have teams of skilled people with real knowledge of a given topic that, no matter who is Minister, the manifesto policies of that government can be implemented. Think of it as an alternative CS but for political parties.

    I am not sure what political parties do with regards to policies and there implementation but, whatever it is, if anything, it clearly needs reform or creation.

    1. Mark B
      May 21, 2022

      A big thank you to, Original Richard for the heads up on the, Kate Bingham talk on YT. Very informative and well worth watching. She covers many things wrong with the way in which the UK is governed and touches upon one thing which many here have highlighted – That of too many MP’s and CS’s with history and economics degrees and not enough people with a STEM qualification. The Tory Party which has recently boasted that 50% of its MP’s will be women needs to take note. It is not race, gender, sexuality or religion that should qualify a person to be an MP, but their character and ability to do the job plus, what skills they have learned in life.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 21, 2022

        was definition of ‘women’ to be observed carefully, would Johnson have a view?

  7. DOM
    May 21, 2022

    The mindset of every Minister must be one of confrontation with vested interest. Unfortunately we have had a succession of Tory Ministers and indeed PM’s who seek accommodation with the enemy and yes, they are the enemy within. I can point to numerous examples of Tory Ministers refusing to reform or abolish obvious exploitation by State organisations their powers and privileges.

    The Tory party doesn’t want the war with the unionised Socialist State so they’ve joined it and the private sector is paying the price

  8. Peter
    May 21, 2022

    ‘There have been too many changes of Minister…’

    Though Gordon Brown was chancellor of the exchequer for a very long time and the results of that were unimpressive.

  9. PeteB
    May 21, 2022

    Sir J, a shame your list of the roles for ministers does not mention to find ways to cut the budget, prevent waste and remove legislation.

  10. Nottingham Lad Himself
    May 21, 2022

    The clue’s in the word “minister” maybe?

    Related to “administer”.

  11. a-tracy
    May 21, 2022

    When each Minister is interviewed about a failing service by the television news wouldn’t it be refreshing to have the head civil servant for that division sat next to the minister to answer with facts and figures. We are told today that Power of Attorney is being held up for months on end. Which Ministerial department is this, which civil service department is this, who is the head civil servant responsible for ‘Power of Attorney’s, how long have they been in this department job, is the failing down due to them joining, when do we ever take action against poor CS Management teams. We are told people are working much more productively from home so you’d think the response time would be falling. How many people manage this section, how many people work in this section, how many Power of Attorneys do they pass each week, how many is that per headcount, has their productivity increased or decreased?

    Actually the newspapers could investigate more when they highlight a problem. Don’t the Americians’ elect their head of civil service departments that are working for their needs at the end of the day and then the public choose whether someone is doing a good enough job? We don’t seem to be able to hold people responsible and if a department fails the Minister gets blamed. Footballers do this to Managers they don’t like all the time, if they want to get rid they drop their game and the Manager gets the boot.

  12. Mickey Taking
    May 21, 2022

    Daily Mail:-
    Bank of England officials enjoyed a pay bonanza as they worked from home during the Covid pandemic, figures reveal. The number of staff members earning more than £80,000 increased 8.9 per cent – from 988 to 1,076 – between 2019/20 and 2020/21. And the number on more than £150,000 increased by 6.9 per cent, from 87 to 93. By comparison, the Prime Minister takes home £157,000 a year.
    Despite the fact that lockdown has long since ended, Bank of England officials still only have to go into the office one day a week. Governor Andrew Bailey takes home almost £500,000. Including pension benefits, he earned £575,000 in 2020/21. On Monday, he was criticised by Tory MPs for warning of ‘apocalyptic’ food price rises at the same time as admitting he felt ‘a bit helpless’ in the face of global pressures.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 21, 2022

      While telling people on circa 1/25 of his wages not to ask for a pay rise!

  13. Donna
    May 21, 2022

    Since Parliament has been “professionalised” the age, experience and quality of MPs has nose-dived. The majority go from private school, to Oxbridge where far too many took PPE or Law (hardly a science or engineering degree to be found); if we’re lucky then they spend a short time in a real job, before beginning their political “career.” But far too many have gone straight into politics as a SpAd or working in the public sector/Quangocracy/Charity-Quangos. They have no business experience …. and most have little experience of real life as experienced by the vast majority of the people they claim to represent.

    We need some minimum standards before people can become an MP and then a minimum period before an MP can become a Minister.

    I would suggest for simplicity that either a minimum age is set (30?) before someone can become an MP. OR a minimum period of 10 years following completion of full-time education (including university if they attend) so that the candidate will have to have worked for a significant period following completion of their education before entering Parliament.

    And an MP should have to have completed at least one full Parliament (4-5 years) before becoming eligible for any kind of government appointment, including a Minister’s bag carrier.

    The next problem then is to get the Prime Minister to choose the best candidate for the various Ministerial roles regardless of “diversity issues” such as their colour, sex, sexual preferences and “back story” which is what we have at the moment.

  14. Mark J
    May 21, 2022

    Today’s posting begs the question:

    Why are you not a Minister Mr Redwood?

    You have been in Parliament for many years, have good knowledge of business and financial issues and certainly have points of view many of us agree with.

    Boris should be choosing people with experience into Ministerial roles. Not those with a ‘face that fits’ or ‘Yes people’ who are afraid to say No.

    1. turboterrier
      May 21, 2022

      Because he knows what he is talking about. His attention to detail is exemplary. What he says gets done.
      The present wizz kids are sadly not upto the task, not even near it and all the while the country bleeds.

    2. Mark B
      May 21, 2022

      And to this day remains the only MP when he was a Minister to give money back to the Treasury.

    3. Pauline Baxter
      May 21, 2022

      Mark J.
      I think Sir John is the best Chancellor of the Exchequer we never had!
      He is not quite as old as me but even so I am gobsmacked at how much work he does do for us.

      You are quite right, though, to point out how and why Ministers are badly chosen.

    4. Lifelogic
      May 21, 2022

      Honesty, being right and competence rarely get rewarded in politics it seems. Cameron did not even put Anne Widecombe in the Lord instead we get dire dishonest socialist fools like Blunket.

    5. acorn
      May 21, 2022

      Sadly, JR was a “free place” boy and was never ever going to be headhunted by the female recruitment officer, for the male only Bullingdon Club; in that Boris Johnson and David Cameron era. That era; which “leave voters” particularly, will have absolutely no idea of; has been running the UK since 2010. That era, conned you into voting for Brexit. Trashing the UK economy was just an extension of trashing another Oxford restaurant and another Magdalen College.

      Next time you vote, remember what Forest Gump said “stupid is as stupid does”.

      1. Peter2
        May 21, 2022

        Sad (and wrong) that you think all voters who decided to vote for brexit were “conned”.
        You still cannot come to terms with the result of the 2016 referendum can you acorn.

        1. acorn
          May 22, 2022

          Another earth shattering intervention by toxic negative peter2.

          1. graham1946
            May 22, 2022

            The con was Heath and his lies and the subsequent liars ever since, including especially Maastricht, railroaded through parliament by one Johnny Useless Major without a proper vote. That man did more damage to this country than anyone since, except Blair and his illegal war and yet has the nerve to want to be regarded as a statesman, and shame on all who take notice of him.

          2. Peter2
            May 22, 2022

            You said all brexit voters were conned and stupid.
            Ever thought that it is you that regularly posts toxic and negative comments about those that dare to vote or even think differently to you?

  15. Norman
    May 21, 2022

    I had occasion yesterday to look up Ernest Bevin’s long and impressive career. It makes for very interesting reading, relevant to this topic. A man of his times, and a stark back-drop to our own day.

  16. Mike Wilson
    May 21, 2022

    The first role of a Minister is not to upset the Prime Minister.

    The second role is to go on the media and defend the indefensible or inexplicable.

    The third role is to to be discreet when sexual indiscretions are on the go.


    Don’t upset the boss.
    Don’t do anything.
    Don’t get caught.

    That would only need half a minute, not half a day that could be better spent in the subsidised bars and restaurants. How many workplaces have a subsidised bar!

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 21, 2022

      Fourth role is to smile sweetly and accept gratefully when Johnson says ‘you’re going to xxxxx, off you go now!’

  17. turboterrier
    May 21, 2022

    The minister is akin to the CEO of any organisation and their role is to inspire and have a vision for improvement. His most senior staff are responsible for exceeding expectations and managing the changes.
    When a football club appoints a new manager he invariably brings in his own team who can and do deliver what he wants.
    À mentioned earlier it has to be the senior heads that are accountable if the executive plan, proposals are not meeting targets and expectations. That said it is the Minister/CEO one assumes has to have more than a basic understanding of the departments he heads up. Sadly the perception is that a lot of our MPs are ” a few shillings short of a pound” when understanding what is happening in the real world. Making them easy prey for the street wise civil serpents.

  18. Tony Sharp
    May 21, 2022

    Sir John,
    I am old enough to remember that Denis Healey told Wilson that he expected to stay in one department as Minister for four years so he cold get a grip. Wilson agreed.
    I am also of the view that we should remove the two senior tiers of Permanents and fill the roles with ideologues for the Party policies. This is what Corbyn was going to do and for a change I agreed with him.

  19. Christine
    May 21, 2022

    The key to managing any successful business is to have the right people in post to deliver improvements and value for money. A minister can never fully understand the complexities of a large department.

    Unfortunately, the Civil Service has a tendency to promote and reward people who don’t rock the boat. I’ve seen this happen over many years in my dealings with Civil Service managers. There is no reward for staff who are innovative and think outside the box. In fact, these people are deliberately kept down and their lazy inept colleagues get promoted above them. Dominic Cummings could see this so he had to be removed as quickly as possible. Outside influencers, lobbyists, and charities want to keep the Civil Service just the way it is. Ministers tend to just want an easy life so pander to their minority views. You, Sir John, are a rare exception which is why you are no longer in Government.

  20. Original Richard
    May 21, 2022

    “Ministers are often allocated to a department without proper consultation or discussion of their skills, knowledge and interests.”

    Very true, and at the very heart of the reason why we are so poorly governed.

    The CS, who also suffer from a lack of skills, pick their Ministers by finding people who know even less than they do.

    Just look at the education and skills at the top of BEIS, who are driving the Net Zero Strategy, an engineering project once the political decision to unilaterally reduce to zero our 1% contribution to man-made CO2 emissions by 2050 :

    Classics/History, Modern History, PPE/Economics, Modern Languages, NHS experience.

  21. William Long
    May 21, 2022

    It is a very difficult one this, isn’t it? On the one hand, what you are saying sounds no more than common sense; on the other I cannot help recalling that a certain Mr Hunt was Health Minister for a good long time, six years I think, but that did not seem to be of any benefit in making the NHS any more efficient or able to cope with a shock like the the Pandemic, or recovery from it.
    There are very few Ministers with the strength of character or interest in their brief to take on the officials, who are very well aware of that.
    Whatever his subsequent failings, one success does seem to have been Mr Gove in Education; he put a great deal of time and effort into the subject in opposition, and I am sure there is a lesson here.
    Perhaps a period in opposition under a different and determined leader is what the Conservatives need now.

    1. Mark B
      May 21, 2022

      The problem I believe with the NHS is, that Labour and the unions have turned it into a political sacred cow which is out of reach of much needed reform. It is why I propose the government make private healthcare a non-taxable benefit and encourage people to go private, taking some of the burden off the NHS and introduce people to private healthcare and ween them off state provision.

  22. graham1946
    May 21, 2022

    Manifesto? Is that the thing lurking in the litter bin since election day, or have the cleaners taken it away?

  23. Original Richard
    May 21, 2022

    We are poorly governed because of the lack of STEM subject skills and industrial/commercial experience in both the politicians and the CS.

    The passing of a STEM subject should be a necessary requirement for any university course and a STEM subject should be included in the PPE course.

    Political parties should start selecting Parliamentary candidates based upon their industrial/commercial/STEM experience and hence abilities to run departments of state appropriate to their knowledge, experience and skills.

    Not selecting youngsters who have only studied PPE/economics and never held a proper job outside of politics.

    Then Ministers will have the knowledge, experience, authority and capability to deal with the CS and actually sack CSs for laziness, negligence, incompetence, malfeasance, corruption, and misbehaviour.

    1. Mark B
      May 21, 2022


      I watched the YT vid of Kate Bingham and fully agree with what she said. It is strange that so many here were, and are, saying much the same things she has said, and as such, I believe that that is something that all political parties need to work towards.

      We need to create a meritocracy based on an individual’s ability and not a quota based system designed around ‘other’ metrics.

  24. acorn
    May 21, 2022

    Another nice little earner Gas day. At the time of posting, of the 220 mcm/ day going into the NG Grid; 94 mcm/d is going down the Bacton pipes to the EU at a handsome profit. Don’t worry about the UK having piddling on shore storage build more LNG tanker berths with regas kit.

  25. Iago
    May 21, 2022

    The government-arranged invasion on the south coast continues, i.e. the destruction of our society, about a thousand invaders in the first half of this week. Our or the Queen’s ministers seem to be frontmen and woke revolutionaries/ communists; is there any policy of the government which can be said to be for the benefit of the nation? In this situation your blog is pointless.

  26. Pauline Baxter
    May 21, 2022

    Well Sir john.
    So far you seem to me to be making excuses for civil servants and for ministers.
    In both cases you have suggested they are moved around too often.
    They are put into place with no consideration of whether they have the background expertise required for the job.
    Oh dear, my heart bleeds for these poor, (highly paid) people, struggling to do their work (not !!!).
    You mentioned ‘quangos’ and implied that they were necessary. I disagree. If the civil service department was properly designed and run, surely it would contain the necessary expertise for it’s work.
    In the reply to your questions about the Nightingale Hospitals, the excuse has been made that the redistribution work was given to ‘Regions’.
    Surely that is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The ‘Regions’ were set up under Blair’s determination to make the UK and particularly England, disappear into a federal European Union.
    Those ‘Regions’ should NO LONGER EXIST. I.e. sack those quasi civil servants.
    My own experience working at a low level as a Central Government civil servant was that no one with the sense to think for themselves, could possibly tolerate working in that environment.
    First time I was doing tasks that no longer needed doing, because the outside world had changed.
    Next time I was bogged down with doing manually, work that could more efficiently be done by improved computer code.
    Just two examples of how large bureaucracy does not work and should be cut down to size.
    Your comments are probably right. Both senior civil servants and ministers are moved around to often.
    BUT ……. Far more important is to cut down the size of civil service departments, staffing them only with people that have the right background knowledge to do the job.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      May 21, 2022

      Oh, and make sure Ministers have the right background knowledge to do the job as well.

  27. turboterrier
    May 21, 2022

    Because he knows what he is talking about. His attention to detail is exemplary. What he says gets done.
    The present wizz kids are sadly not upto the task, not even near it and all the while the country bleeds.

  28. majorfrustration
    May 21, 2022

    All very interesting and agree with majority of the points made. And the result of all this – well we get it off our chests but nothing will happen other than Labour will win the next election and Tory MPs will look round and wonder where they got it wrong. Thick or what!

  29. turboterrier
    May 21, 2022

    The role of Ministers now following on from the Australian election result will be to get their A’s into gear and stop the downward spiral of total disarray being inflicted on the people of this country.
    All the major things that appeared to help the Australian Labor Party to a win we can relate to here. Sir John it’s time for push to go to shove to turn this around.

  30. rose
    May 21, 2022

    Surely a qualification for being appointed to the Northern Ireland Office or to the chairmanship of the Select Committee on Northern Irish Affairs should be that the Minister be a Unionist.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    May 21, 2022

    We don’t need 100 Ministers on the payroll vote, do we? Probably 60 would do.

    1. Donna
      May 22, 2022

      It’s called buying loyalty.

  32. forthurst
    May 22, 2022

    I no longer believe that Westminster politicians as a group are either honest, intelligent, patriotic or fair minded. There can be no other explanation for the main policy decisions being made and followed being so woeful. Why is the Tory Party continuing to flood the country with unassimilable aliens when they know perfectly well that the social consequences of this are all negative? Why does the Tory Party believe that it can materially affect the world’s climate when large manufacturing economies on which we depend are not taking similar actions. Why does the Tory Party believe that the best foreign policy is that which has been formulated in the US State Dept when they know perfectly well that those decisions have led us to endless unnecessary wars?

    What parliament lacks is alternative viewpoints and these can only come effectively from those not subject to the Tory whip. That should not mean that they would have to be associated with the Labour or LibDem parties but, unfortunately, under our archaic electoral system, it means precisely that.

    Having put a shot across the bows of the Civil Service and system of ministerial appointments, is it not appropriate to question whether our archaic electoral system will ever allow a proper cross section of
    those interests that make up a modern nation to be represented in the elective chamber or will we continue in relative decline by being governed by hacks with such similar educational backgrounds which become less and less relevant as time progresses.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      May 22, 2022

      I agree with your three criticisms of the present governments policies.
      I am delighted that you also have detected that this government ‘believes the best foreign policy is that formulated in the US State Department’. !!
      Also, that the other main parties would or will, be worse.
      Unfortunately, I suspect that proportional representation could land us in a worse mess.
      I’d like to reduce the power of the main party organisations in selecting prospective MPs. Legislation?
      Help the emerging small parties to spread their views. Again, legislation. Remember how Ukip never got a fair hearing on BBC television?
      Most of all, ABOLISH the whip system in the House of Commons.
      Mind you, we’ll never get any of this.

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