Memo to an incoming PM Changing the Downing Street organisation

Under Boris Johnson the size of the Downing Street and Cabinet offices expanded. Each time Boris was persuaded that the centre was not working as it should nor serving him well he would add additional people. It became increasingly difficult to know who under the PM was in charge, who was responsible for any given policy or problem, who might write the  brief for the PM or who might follow up any PM decision and get action from Whitehall once decided.

The simple structure under Margaret Thatcher rested on three senior officials, the Principal Private Secretary, the Head of Policy and the Chief Spokesman. Each of us knew the PM’s mind on things we were handling and each of us made sure in our spheres of action that any wish or decision by the PM was put through the proper Cabinet and Cabinet Committee procedures or referred to the responsible department for decision and action. As Head of Policy I made sure the PM had personal briefing on the major issues coming before her from Cabinet and from inter departmental correspondence analysing problems from a Head of government viewpoint to see if they were in line with strategy and made sense in the light of the government’s other objectives.

Number 10 today has a Chief of Staff, a Permanent Secretary, a Principal Private Secretary, three Deputy Chiefs of Staff, a  political Head of Policy and an official Head of policy, a Cabinet Office Minister of State and various other senior officials. The Cabinet Office has expanded its roles with a Permanent Secretary as well as the Cabinet Secretary who used to run it. Clearly many of these individuals  cannot always be in the room when the PM considers or decides something. There is  no clear structure of who should brief the PM on an issue, attend the meeting and organise the follow up.

The incoming PM would be well advised to slim the structure down and appoint a handful of senior people they trust, with a working plan to ensure that every meeting matters, every meeting with an outcome is properly recorded, and every issue the PM wishes to pursue is properly followed up. The PM also needs to take more control of the diary. Time is the most precious PM commodity. How it is allocated will help determine what gets done and what is important to the government.Slimming Downing Street would be visible proof of the wish to run a leaner and more effective government machine more generally.


  1. Lifelogic
    August 5, 2022

    Indeed slim down the whole of the vast, bloated, misdirected, incompetent government and state sector. Do only those very few thing that the state really can do better than people and the private sector.

    David Frost today:- Rationing is back – and Britain’s authoritarian greens are delighted
    Too many seem to think it is preferable to limit water and energy usage than to ensure a reliable supply.

    Well said Suella Braverman:- I was horrified to discover that hundreds of government lawyers spent nearly 2,000 hours of their taxpayer-funded time last year attending lectures on ‘micro-incivilities’, different ‘lived experiences’ and ‘how to be a straight ally’, courtesy of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity Stonewall.

    This lunacy is everywhere in the state sector and even much of the private sector too. Is it any wonder productivity growth is so low in the UK. Vast numbers of “workers” produce nothing or do net harm to the productive.

    1. PeteB
      August 5, 2022

      LL, spot on about cutting the bloated No.10 office and wider public sector.

      To be fair to Boris he did say find 20% staff reductions. The Union leaches, sorry leaders, didn’t respond well.

      Don’t do in goverment anything that the private sector can already demonstrate they do successfully. Starting list of suggestions: Arts, sports, entertainment, healthcare, education, all forms of forecasting (economic, weather, social)…

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      August 5, 2022

      Yes and in many workplaces attending these time wasting exercises is mandatory. No amount of indoctrination or bullying into making you think a certain way is going to change anything. In fact it will probably make things worse. I’m fed up being told how I should view a certain topic.

    3. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      One of those doing large net harm to the productive is one Andrew (39% personal overdrafts for all) Bailey – inflation target 2% his prediction is now 13+%.

      So is he and all the other many incompetents at the BoE to remain in office. What does Truss and her new Chancellor (to be) think?

      1. IanT
        August 5, 2022

        Watched him yesterday – he’s not the best communicator and abit too quick to blame the Ulraine crisis for all our woes. I’m pretty sure we had problems before then – Putin just helped speed things up.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 5, 2022

          Rather like Sunak blame it all on Covid and Putin’s war. But actually the pointless extended lockdown, the net zero lunacy & Sunak and Bailey the currency debasers are largely to blame.

      2. miami.mode
        August 5, 2022

        Laughable that Andrew Bailey blamed almost all inflation on outside sources such as Russia and when asked what difference an increase in interest rates here would make he didn’t have a credible answer. No mea culpa at all.

        You can see it now – Prime Minister Truss changes the remit for the BoE and he resigns.

    4. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      “Britain will pay a heavy price for falling into a net zero trance
      We all face an apocalyptic financial disaster paying for the Government’s green pursuit”
      BEN WILKINSON in the Telegraph today.

      Indeed but we already are. Not only this but there are not even any positives coming through from this mad agenda. Not even any political positives. After this winter and the huge energy bills surely even more than 90% will want to ditch Miliband, Cameron, Boris, May’s moronic climate change act and the net zero expensive unreliable energy lunacy. It is job exporting and economic lunacy too.

      So why are Truss (& Sunak) sticking sticking to this patently insane agenda?

      1. Donna
        August 5, 2022

        Because the UN and the WEF demand that they do.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 5, 2022

          Why are they following these insane orders!

      2. turboterrier
        August 5, 2022

        Will ditch Climate Change Acts?
        Hell will have to freeze over before the vast majority of the existing politicians would even try and consider the repercussions of such policies, let alone understand them.

    5. Richard1
      August 5, 2022


    6. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      Also from the Telegraph:- “The Government’s crackdown on landlords has included a tax relief cut on buy-to-let mortgages, a 3pc stamp duty surcharge on additional properties, and a series of other regulations including the tenant fee ban. In 2020, more than 130,000 landlords sold their buy-to-let properties following increased regulation, with a further 201,000 selling up in 2021.”

      Why is the government trying to destroy private rented accomodation it benefits no one not landlords, not housing provision, not tenants (as supply disappears), not job mobility, not the economy! The idiot Osborne started all this off and Gove I think too.

      If someone wants to take up a new job and rents their house out at say £1000 per month to rent another house in the new area at the same £1000 per month they are likely to be worse of by circa £500 per month due to the insane taxations system, agents fees and red tape. So they often do not bother too much risk and hassle. Often house left empty instead. Yet this should really be a simple, net cost zero thing to do.

      1. cuibono
        August 5, 2022

        They want a property price crash ( apparently threatening ) so that certain huge companies can buy up whole streets of houses and let them out! ( Possibly to those who have lost everything through inflation).
        Remember that we will own nothing…we’ll rent it!

    7. Peter Wood
      August 5, 2022

      Quite agree comments on Ms Braverman and also from Ms Badenoch; gives you some hope that there are still some Conservatives left. Cotrast with certain senior ministers continuing talking condescending twaddle.

      The debates are all abour inflation, but NOBODY has indentified the madness of Quantitive Easing, the main cause of inflation. It was announced that Quantitive Tightening is underway, is it, or just another Treasury/BoE lie?

      Tories need to restablish trust in government and faith in Sterling to recover from recession. Not much to see so far, and time is running out.

    8. Mickey Taking
      August 5, 2022

      I remember being forced to attend ‘Diversity’ training – all staff had to…..must be 15 years ago.
      This in an environment where males (and white) were 80%+, Black/Asian hardly represented.
      HR should have been planning recruitment to change the balance – not to run courses for those already there.

    9. X-Tory
      August 5, 2022

      Yes, Braverman has done well to highlight, and oppose, the cultural-marxist indoctrination of her officials, but this is a problem endemic to the whole civil service. So why has the minister for the civil service done NOTHING to stop this? He needs to be sacked for his indifference and incompetence. Fortunately, that’s exactly what is happening! Because the minister for the civil service is none other than the useless, asleep-at-the-wheel, hedonistic, partying, lazy, stupid, weak, cowardly and left-wing BORIS JOHNSON. Good riddance to him. What an appalling let-down he was.

  2. DOM
    August 5, 2022

    The entire structure of immediate (No.10) and unelected government (Labour’s leftist State) becomes meaningless if the person in charge and indeed those around and beneath them are in possession of values and morals that are an anathema to truth, morality and decency.

    I can name at least ten or more issues that if we had a moral PM in No.10 we would not have seen the vileness, barbarity and downright criminal since 1997

    This nation is under attack from WITHIN and the Tories know this. It shouldn’t have to take two ladies (the aptly named Braverman and Badenoch) to expose the poison that has taken hold in the US and the UK

    I do worry that much of the poison is coming in from Washington and then disseminated through Labour’s, unionised public State network

    1. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      I agree that:- “This nation is under attack from WITHIN and the Tories know this. It shouldn’t have to take two ladies (the aptly named Braverman and Badenoch) to expose the poison that has taken hold in the US and the UK”

      Let us hope these two sensible people are given top jobs – can one still say “Ladies” I once put a poster up at university some 40 years back and even than Ladies got crossed out and changed to Women within an hour.

      Though even these two did not seem clear on the insanity of net zero energy policy nor on the ECHR.

    2. MFD
      August 5, 2022

      Well said Dom, we need to get rid of those foreign representatives sniping around our Government organisation.
      We need a government governing for only Great Britain and not for the benefit of any other non British interest.

  3. Mark B
    August 5, 2022

    Good morning.

    I am in very much agreement with our kind hosts last sentence.

    It is important to know, and in the interests of balance, that successive PM’s since Tony Blair have sought to both extend and increase the size of the PM’s office. I believe it may have been as a result of many factors, one being the power fued between Number 10 and 11 at the time.

    Getting rid of the Nudge Unit would send a clear signal on where this government stands. If, as I fully expect, it is business as usual, then I fear yet another opportunity of reform, starting with Number 10 and then throughout the rest of government, will be lost.

    This time, more than any other time, you need to get this right !

    1. Shirley M
      August 5, 2022

      Yes, they need to get it right! So much has gone wrong, whether deliberately or through incompetence, but few (other than Sir John) care enough to do anything about it! It’ll be ‘business as usual’ and the taxpayer picks up the bill for this incompetence/deliberate damage.

      I live in hope, but I suspect I will be deeply disappointed, yet again! The UK and its people seem to be of no interest (to any of the main parties), other than at election time and then we elect based on a bunch of fraudulent promises and have no democratic recourse.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      August 5, 2022

      Mark. Your last sentence says it all for many.

    3. ignoramus
      August 5, 2022

      Agreed. But this is a pretty small beer issue.

      I’m amazed nobody discusses the fact we have only seen 10-20% of the expecting increase in our aging population, which will increase until 2030.

      This will clearly put massive pressure on pensions and the NHS, as a huge chunk of NHS spending goes on treating older people.

      We are almost certainly going to have to accept an end to the triple lock or raising of the pension age, along with a narrowing of services from the NHS or a major scaling back on end-of-life care or hospices. Strangely neither Sunak nor Truss nor indeed Starmer seem too keen to point this out.

      I think we need a mature discussion about how we propose to deal with this, without screaming growth all the time – which is never going to happen unless we and the E.U find some way through the current impasse.

      1. a-tracy
        August 5, 2022

        Ignoramus, the pension age has risen mine from 60 to 67. The final scheduled increase is for 2028, to 70 but the government has not ruled out more.

        I had two workers last year who died within six months of retiring (not directly covid related) at the ages of 65.5 and just 70. Meanwhile, I know people having spaced out their children’s births and have lived off benefits all their lives, thought they’d get their pension at 60 but they missed timed because now they can’t get their state pension until 66 but can still get benefits with excuses as to why they can’t work.

        The national insurance scheme is a ponzi con and keep rising the age of the people who have been working from 16 full time and paying in for 50 years is hardly fair when the people ruling us want to protect their guaranteed defined benefit pensions and retire from 55. Its all going to go boom.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        August 5, 2022

        Mum’s in her fourth decade of retirement. She is happy enough but totally dependent on us. Kept alive on 12 different pills a day and morphine patches. This could easily go on another decade. Dad was kept alive longer than nature would have allowed for six months – two months of it in severe discomfort and miserable sickness and the last two weeks of it (at home at his request) in screaming agony separated by short intervals of morphine induced peace. I’m sure I suffer PTSD from the experience.

        The NHS is not always kind and it is presenting us with a very modern ethical problem.

        1. Mickey Taking
          August 5, 2022

          If you subjected a dog to such misery you would be prosecuted.

        2. SM
          August 5, 2022

          Sadly, to see an example of the very modern ethical problem you correctly identify, you have only got to look at what is happening currently at a London hospital where parents refuse to accept the decision of several courts that a child’s extensive support system should be terminated.

          I think people of all ages, but especially those over 50, should be strongly encouraged to think about what should happen to them in cases of very serious illnesses or accidents.

    4. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      Indeed, slimmed down but above all cut out all the many things the state does not need to do and all the things where it does where it does huge positive net harm. Like net zero, the hugely extended Covid lock down, bonkers things like HS2 and “eat out to help out”, road blocking, test and trace, diversity officers and training, the war on landlords and motorists… and even (it seems) the net harm vaccination programme

  4. Bloke
    August 5, 2022

    Simplicity is clearer, shorter, easier, faster, less expensive and best.

  5. Donna
    August 5, 2022

    This applies to the whole of the Government, Civil Service and Quangocracy.

    It is bloated, incompetent and inefficient.

    Streamline it ….. starting with the House of Frauds, and reducing the numbers there leeching off the taxpayer by 50%.

  6. Nottingham Lad Himself
    August 5, 2022

    Well, that’s want you get with people who want power, but who don’t want to do real work themselves – Tories, that is.

    They delegate to those whom they can bully.

  7. formula57
    August 5, 2022

    I thought you had briefed Boris on this before so he knew what he should have done. Why ever did he not listen?

    Surely missing from your “Number 10 today has…” list is a Social Secretary (plus deputies) who organized all the working BYOB meetings?

    O/T Even the Bank of England now at long last sees the Sunak Slump coming.

    1. Mitchel
      August 5, 2022

      It’s more than a slump and it’s not down to Sunak-it’s the cumulative result of the disasters of -and since -the Great Financial Crisis.

      Dr Tim Morgan of Surplus Energy Economics comments on 3/8/22:

      “The UK depends ENTIRELY on two things-continuous credit expansion and the funding of the CA deficit with asset sales.

      The first is why the government can’t borrow to create growth and then use that growth to “pay down debt”.Businesses can do this,and they do,but an economy dependent on credit expansion can’t.

      The Bank must show determination to protect the value of GBP.This isn’t 1976,and the IMF can’t provide a lifeboat.A Sterling crisis would be an end game.”

      He adds that the never likely Singapore-on-Thames scenario could more easily become a Sri Lanka-on-Thames.

  8. Fedupsoutherner
    August 5, 2022

    I just hope if Truss gets in she listens to experienced advice from people like Sir John.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022

      +1 and on energy sensible people like Lords Ridley, Lawson and Lilley!

    2. X-Tory
      August 5, 2022

      Truss needs to (i) get good advice and (ii) ACT UPON IT. Her response last night when questioned about energy bills was appalling. I honestly don’t think she understands what the so-called “green levies” that she proposes to drop are! I have explained before that these are the “environmental and social obligations”, and only account for 8% of our bills. And VAT is only 5%. So yes, eliminate these by all means, that’s a good thing – but it’s NOT the MAIN problem. The main problem is the CARBON TAXES (the “Climate Change Levy” and the “Carbon Price Support”) on the fuel in the first place!!! THAT is what needs to be cancelled. But she seems to be too STUPID to understand this.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        August 5, 2022

        X TORY. I have always said this. Why tax a product that the UK NEEDS? The country cannot survive without fossil fuels so why put an aggressive tax on it and why not drill for more of our own? It doesn’t make sense but then not much that this government has done does..

  9. Nigl
    August 5, 2022

    Just another example of Boris’s chaotic approach and probably a metaphor for wider government/civil service/public sector.

    Neutron Jack stripped out layers of management and it is widely accepted, fewer layers, clearer lines of communication etc make for vastly more efficient decision taking.

    And in related news Kemi Badenoch in the ST was unambiguous in her criticism of the Civil Service. Agendas captured by zealots, the Centre trying to please everyone, weak Permanent Secretaries unable to push back against non conforming/non performing staff, Weak Ministers being their civil servants mouthpieces, not the other way round, selective leaking if a Minister disentangle do what they are told. Failure to take difficult decisions.

    The whole woke/white privilege agenda that has infiltrated across the CS continuing push back against Brexit, wfh, are just examples of how your government has lost control.

    Whatever the new No 10 structure is, unless it has a backbone, any changes will be akin to moving the deckchairs on the Titanic which Boris could well have been the captain of.

  10. SM
    August 5, 2022

    Having a big (and ever-growing) team working for you massages the ego, doesn’t it?

    And if you have never actually managed an enterprise or even a small team within a larger organisation (which Mr Johnson hasn’t), you will be susceptible to suggestions that the inevitable answer to every problem is ‘more staff’.

  11. Cuibono
    August 5, 2022

    On the one hand JR describes Government and on the other the hellish, satanic chaos, which we now have.
    Chaos scattered by arrogant, malevolent and utterly inept people.
    I would guess that this “country with no borders” is beyond redemption.

  12. Narrow Shoulders
    August 5, 2022

    A good leader sets the direction and then removes barriers for their reports to success with support and challenge.

    A good leader knows what is going on across their organisation without directly influencing it.

    We need a good leader.

  13. Graham
    August 5, 2022

    She’s a flip-flopper, she will change any way the wind is blowing

  14. The Prangwizard
    August 5, 2022

    Let us hope Sir John is immediately invited to become Head of Policy in the new cabinet.

    1. a-tracy
      August 5, 2022

      He should be utilised for two years to train up one of the would-be Ministers well, so they are ready rather than dropping inexperienced or failed people into Ministerial roles all the time.

      Sunak or Truss’ hands will be tied by all the stitch-up support deals they will have been making to get support, won’t they?

      They thought Davis would beat Cameron, we will get the person who will conform to the global expectations/G7/EU/USA etc. of the UK, or be so severely damaged from within like Trump was that he couldn’t move without restriction accompanied with a biased personal damaging comment.

  15. No Longer Anonymous
    August 5, 2022

    Rory Sutherland puts it well: “The Conservative party leadership contest is a milestone for diversity and inclusion. This time, we get to choose between someone who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Lincoln College, Oxford and someone who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Merton College, Oxford. I can barely contain my excitement.”

    There is something inherently wrong with this degree and the type of person who takes it.

    1. formula57
      August 5, 2022

      @ No Longer Anonymous – Sutherland sounds too clever by half. What is his point? It has escaped him, it seems, that we all need to overcome the limitations of our youthful education.

      He might have said diversity is not served by having a choice only of B. Johnson cabinet appointees. Given the shortage of Labour leaders of the female persuasion, he might have welcomed the diversity that is present and likely more germane.

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      August 5, 2022

      Not necessarily wrong but narrow in the context of making decisions for the nation. It’s largely a degree for self-publicists as most folk who have sat in an Oxford College JCR for 4 years would confirm.

    3. Sea_Warrior
      August 5, 2022

      I suspect that the degree is too philosphical and doesn’t produce people able to ‘do’. I would welcome the introduction of a diploma course for new MPs, focussing on the mechanics of governing. And as they think that all police officers should have degrees, I’ll counter with a suggestion that MPs shouldn’t be given ministerial rank until they’ve been awarded their diploma.

  16. Berkshire Alan
    August 5, 2022

    What result do you expect if the people in so called charge have no commercial experience, have never managed people, departments or sizeable budgets before, simple answer, Chaos and failure.
    You are right John, you should take advice from people who you trust, problem with that is few politicians trust anyone anymore, because they think they may be after their job.
    Thus we have the chaos of reactive action, instead of a well thought out pro active plan.
    I can only hope that the new PM will seek advice, or put in position, those who have the right experience and knowledge.

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    August 5, 2022

    OT but Bailey saying uncertainty about the end of furlough scheme in October stopped any pre-emptive BoE action on interest rates. So a coterie of stupidity and waste between Sunak keeping furlough going until (yes) 10 months ago! and Bailey blaming uncertainty around the end of Sunak’s stupidity for sitting on his hands. Perhaps the answer was always for this much heralded but totally stupid laziness-inducing furlough scheme to be a loan scheme along the lines of student loans for those who needed it, with repayments petering out at age 60 or whatever?

    Also Bailey saying that demand would have been higher in 2021 had it been responsible for inflation. Well mate it takes time for printed money to induce demand, does it not? Demand doesn’t take off the minute you print!

  18. Roy Grainger
    August 5, 2022

    You failed to mention the PM’s wife who also seems to have been influential in policy and recruitment decisions.

    Truss had a good policy on regional pay boards but abandoned it within hours of pushback and misrepresentation from Sunak. It hardly fills one with confidence she’ll stand up to organised resistance from Whitehall if she rocks the boat.

    1. IanT
      August 5, 2022

      Hopefully, she just showed her hand a bit early – I don’t see a problem with regional pay boards – it happens in effect within the (local) private sector.

    2. Peter Parsons
      August 5, 2022

      At least we are finally seeing the attitude of both candidates to the less well off areas of the country.

      Sunak – Caught on video promising to divert money away from deprived urban areas to places like Tunbridge Wells.

      Truss – Promising to reduce the income of workers in those same deprived areas. I’m sure making it even harder to recruit and retain nurses, teachers in shortage subjects like STEM and police officers will be nothing but positive for those areas.

      1. Peter2
        August 5, 2022

        You don’t get a vote for either Peter.

        1. Peter Parsons
          August 5, 2022

          Correct. I’m not and never have been a member of any political party.

          However, at some point one of them will have to face the electorate as a whole and I’m sure that some of the minority of those whose votes actually count for something in a general election (the voters who live in marginal seats) will remember the attitude of both candidates towards some of the most deprived areas of the country, and even if the voters don’t remember, I’m sure that the other political parties will do their utmost to remind them.

          1. Peter2
            August 5, 2022

            In two years you will get to vote for your local constituency candidate.
            You and every member of your constituency can vote exactly as they wish

          2. Peter Parsons
            August 6, 2022

            And because of where I live, I already know that my vote makes no difference. I have about the same ability to influence who governs the UK as the average North Korean citizen has to influence who governs their country.

          3. IanT
            August 6, 2022

            Let’s get real about this. In the private sector, there are large variations in the cost of living & housing around the country. Private employers kmow this, as does anyone who has to move south with their job (as I did many years ago).
            I now live in Wokingham and can assure you that getting a tradesman (for example) down here is considerably more expensive than other parts of the country, where labour costs are much lower. A single national rate may sound fair but will always lead to paying more than neccessary (and it’s our money – not the Governments – that’s being spent).
            Of course, those who object to this policy would also object to the removal of final salary (index linked) pensions that many public sector workers still enjoy – final salary pensions that Mr Brown effectively destroyed within the private sector.
            Paying public sector staff higher rates than required in “deprived” areas doesn’t do anything for the “deprived” either, as they are most likely either unemployed or on minimum wages. Paying a public sector worker a fair (but locally assessed) wage, won’t effect local deprivation but might make it easier for local employers to compete with the ‘State’ for staff.

          4. Peter2
            August 7, 2022

            Nonsense Peter P
            It is just that the majority in your area prefer in large numbers to vote for a different candidate to you.
            The voters create these safe seats.
            They dont agree with your choice.
            But they can at any election en masse decide to vote differently if they want.
            In North Korea there are no elections
            Your analogy is ridiculous.

  19. Vernon Wright
    August 5, 2022

    Memo to an incoming PM — Environmental Policy

    1. Hire some honest scientists to advise you on environmental matters, particularly relating to climate change;

    2. Abandon the ‘Net Zero’ disaster;

    3. Repeal the Climate Change Acts; and (having done those things)

    4. Sell honest environmental policy to the rest of the World.


    1. glen cullen
      August 5, 2022

      The No10s structure doesn’t even realise that our inflation and potential recession is ENERGY & FUEL INFLATION and directly due to this government policy of net-zero

      Too many people at No10 still saying that ‘green’ ‘renewable’ energy will save the day

    2. MFD
      August 5, 2022

      Vernon, one little problem with your suggestion.
      Where would the new PM find honest scientists? I believe, like good doctors in the NHS, they are very rare.

    3. ignoramus
      August 5, 2022

      This is a dead argument.

      Economics have made fossil fuels redundant. Or are you proposing fossil fuel subsidies like Arthur Scargill?

    4. Lifelogic
      August 5, 2022


  20. rose
    August 5, 2022

    “Yesterday BBC R4 invited me onto their PM programme. They then asked me my views on the economy and Bank of England. They thought about it and cancelled the invite. GB News and LBC ran interviews. Once again I did not fit into the BBC’s narrow and repetitious story line.”

    Every time I hear the BBC interviewing someone and it sounds unnatural, rehearsed, with the interviewer feeding thoughts to the interviewed, and the interviewed obediently taking them up and mouthing them back, I think of Sir John’s many withdrawn invitations to perform in this way!

  21. Richard1
    August 5, 2022

    Interesting. It is unfortunately becoming increasingly apparent how unsatisfactory Boris is as PM, despite his undoubted political gifts. His place in history is assured, he did a magnificent job delivering us from the potential hell of a far left corbyn govt. but it is clear he is not up to the job of governing as PM. We are in last chance saloon as regards the next election with the new PM.

    1. Mickey Taking
      August 6, 2022

      a ‘magnificent’ job, or bullshitting which is his way? – period.

  22. ukretired123
    August 5, 2022

    KISS Keep it simple applies again.
    If you complicate things you end up a confusion a la Boris.
    Women can multitask and have a track record as in the vaccine crunch development. Truss has a natural advantage here to call upon wise advice and hit the ground running. Sunak will be incapable of promoting anyone but his friends.

  23. agricola
    August 5, 2022

    With this daily stream of advice on how to organise and run a government, the next PM could be well advised to appoint you as the head of office in number ten. The only losers would be your following here as in such an event the diary could not continue.

  24. No Longer Anonymous
    August 5, 2022

    Lots of things exploded in size under Boris including the state and taxes. He was chaotic and incapable of shame was totally chaotic which is why he had to go.

    I voted for him to avoid Corbyn but we got Corbyn on speed along with record Woke, record Green, record immigration, record tax, record petrol and vat on commuting costs (and obstructionism by government) and record poverty .

    For example. The railways. Workers on the railway took a pay freeze for three years (willingly in the crisis) and there was no recognition of this from the Tories nor the Tory press. Yet the ticket prices STILL went up by RPI (so it wasn’t staff causing inflation) and now we find that the owners are making huge profits and syphoning them out to tax haven islands.

    I am a Thatcherite and now I’m even questioning that because we’ve seen how it has panned out:

    – Mums having to go to work and farm out their kids in the early years because of record house prices. The complete failure of the housing market and particularly social housing.

    – Private water companies who will NOT repair leaks or build new reservoirs despite record populations and dry seasons and spank the customers for charges and restrictions instead in this land of winter rain.

    – A sub class in place of proud industrial communities and the outsourcing of their work which was the direct cause of the emerging military super power’s battle fleets now surrounding Taiwan. The outsourcing of their work which caused us to have to suck up the devastating fatalities and economic impact of a virus and be powerless to deal with the nation that caused it.

    Thatcherism was a mistake, I conclude. And it did nothing for the grammar schools which might have averted the situation where we have a PPE graduate from Merton College Oxford vying for PM with a PPE graduate from Lincoln College Oxford.

    So we gave the Tories their 80 seat majority to get Brexit done and to stand up to woke and all they’ve done is cave cave cave on everything.

    So what do the Tories do ?

    Take on the petrol company execs raking in profits out of a crisis and offshoring them ? Take on the rolling stock leasing company presidents raking in billions of taxpayers’ money and offshoring them ?

    Nah. They’re in on it and tack on their own tax and vat theft out of the already taxed income of people trying to get to work. Tax tax tax. So they don’t want to take on the industrialists.. they take on the cleaners, the guards, the Orange Army instead. People who have already accepted year on year pay freezes (without dispute) and thus proven that their component of the ticket prices (which have gone up by RPI year on year) is not inflationary.

    The Tories cannot stand anything other than an Uberised workforce. It is THEY who expand the welfarist state to make it a survivable system. It is THEY who paid former mining towns NOT to work (or to cut each other’s hair), it is THEY who created an underclass that they don’t know how to control and the police who placate and submit to that underclass making decent people the enemies of the justice system and it is THEIR anti working class thinking that created the rise of a new and frightening super power.

    Sir John.

    Please prove yourself once more.

    Do a one-to-one with Eddie Dempsey. It should be easy to arrange via one of the independent YouTube channels and put a link to it here.

    If someone doesn’t debunk what this guy is saying (because it’s what we’re all thinking out here- that we’re being shafted by the Tories) your government is toast.

    All an 80 seat majority has done is proven that you hate us.

    1. No Longer Anonymous
      August 5, 2022

      Problem is a total loss of moral and ethical compass top-to-bottom in the Tory party. The zest for self preservation of the Party has become an existential threat to the UK civilisation itself.

      The sight of two PPE grads fighting over leadership is two bald men fighting over a comb.

      You are NOT the solution. You ARE the problem if all you can say is “we’re not as bad as Starmer.”

    2. Mickey Taking
      August 6, 2022

      An interesting reflection. Do you not consider the apparent switch from hero Johnson, to horror Johnson has rather a lot to do with your conclusion? Or do we look further afield for who are pulling the strings?

  25. Sea_Warrior
    August 5, 2022

    Wise words, Sir John. I suspect that the simplest fix would be to bin the Chief of Staff position and re-empower the Cabinet Secretary. But the Johnsonian mess is so Augean that a small team of management consultants should be brought in to conduct a proper review. What’s Lord Hague up to these days?

    1. rose
      August 5, 2022

      “What’s Lord Hague up to these days?” Getting on the wrong side of every question.

    2. John Hatfield
      August 5, 2022

      Working for the WEF.

  26. Mark J
    August 5, 2022

    The country continues to go down the plughole whilst this leadership charade continues.

    I agree with calls to shorten this process and get Government back to sort out the issues that are getting increasingly worse.

    The country cannot wait until September for the Conservatives to sort themselves out, or hang around for Parliament to return from yet another recess.

    People need action now.

  27. Mark J
    August 5, 2022

    If civil servants in Whitehall do not do as they are paid to do – then they should be sacked for gross misconduct – end of. The last time I checked, refusing to do work that your employers require you to do is a disciplinary offence, repeat offences eventually leading up to termination of employment.

    The civil service do not have the right to, and should not be dictating what Government policies they will and won’t implement.

    If Liz Truss wants to save money on civil service spending, she could start by saving a fair few pounds by getting rid of the militant idiots in Whitehall.

    1. anon
      August 6, 2022

      Web search “Schedule F” a Trump solution to the swamp, reversed by BIden. Acting in a certain manner automatically makes them able to fired by the President. Particularly useful at post-election reshuffles.

  28. Richard Oliver
    August 5, 2022

    Once again another excellent Diary article from JR.

    One thing I do hope Mr Redwood has been thinking about, however, is Comms.

    As he has pointed out himself he often gets bumped by the BBC and the MSM because his views don’t accord with their narrative.

    How will the new PM address the inherently hostile left wing broadcast media and their shenanigans?

    In many ways this is more important than policy as they will come for the new PM – whoever it is – and seek to undermine and constantly sledge them.

    I do hope somebody somewhere is working on a Comms strategy to completely take the blob apart and expose them for what they are, thus completely changing the wider public’s perception of them.

  29. acorn
    August 5, 2022

    Did you know, there are 57 officers in the Cabinet Office and its agencies, that earn over £150,000 a year. The other 11,000 Cabinet Office staff earn less than that.

    1. BOF
      August 5, 2022

      Good God! Where does No 10 hide them all? Are we talking about +- £200M pounds? There is no hope.

    2. Bloke
      August 5, 2022

      Some earn the money they are paid. Some just take it and do nothing useful.

  30. ignoramus
    August 5, 2022

    The only problem is how we make the transition affordably. But the future is not in doubt.

  31. oldwulf
    August 5, 2022

    “It became increasingly difficult to know who under the PM was in charge”

    I have previously suggested that it was a mistake to get rid of Dominic Cummings. Number 10 seemed to go rapidly downhill after he left. The fact that the No 10 civil servants and general hangers on didn’t warm to him, was surely a signal that he was doing something right. Sadly, I don’t expect to see him back in No 10 even though he might be a good reminder for the red wall seats as to why they turned blue.

  32. BOF
    August 5, 2022

    Memo to incoming PM. Take full advantage of the welcome departure of Sir Patrick Vallence and do NOT replace him. As and when you need scientific expertise, ask a range of experts in their field.

    We have had years of so called experts advising on climate change and for the last two years on medicine. All very poor advice resulting in massive damage to the economy and health. Ministers, in their newly slimmed down departments should take responsibility.

  33. BOF
    August 5, 2022

    O T. The BBC today has turned up the volume on inflation and interest rates with prophesies of doom and gloom from the over promoted A Bailey and other backers of Sunak.

    They would not be trying to big up Sunak of the ‘steady hand’ and play down the ‘reckless’ tax cutting of Truss, would they?

  34. Pauline Baxter
    August 5, 2022

    I am sure you are right Sir John, in what you have said today.
    You do have ‘inside knowledge’ after all.
    And some things do not change over time.

  35. forthurst
    August 5, 2022

    I think it’s more difficult to get a job in the cabinet Office now if the ‘Working for Cabinet Office’ website is anything to go by:

    Fast Track Apprentices – links to scheme has closed

    Graduate Entry
    Fast Stream – links to applications Closed
    Graduate Talent Pool – links to Room 404

  36. John Hatfield
    August 5, 2022

    Take charge John. Please.

  37. outsider
    August 5, 2022

    Dear Sir John, Thank you again for this wise counsel. I hope that a folio of these memos will be studied not only by the incoming PM but also by the Leader of the Opposition , who ( regardless of policy differences) would need all the help he could get if he came to power in 2024.
    On specifics, the coalition of 2010 led to a huge increase in the number of SPADS that has not been reined back since and, at the time, ruled out your sensible policy of non-recruitment rather than costly redundancies followed by rehiring.
    From the outside, it also seems that the Cabinet Office has taken the role of having shadow managers for each of the main Departments, presumably under the guise of performance monitoring. This echoes the practice of Whitehall having a shadow team to second- guess the boards of national industries, a constant interference that may in part account for the relatively poor performance of many of them relative to those in, for instance, France or the Netherlands.

  38. Communication Breakdown
    August 5, 2022

    Just got an email from the Council re food vouchers for pensioners.
    Apparently funded by the gov and administered by the council. I had not heard of it nor read about it in the Daily Mail.
    This might be of interest to the many, many thousands eligible for pension credit who
    ” have not applied”
    or more like those who have applied and heard nothing .
    All I have to do now is to work out how to take a snap of my ID and minimise it to attach it to the online only application. I don’t think the Gov are good communicators.

  39. communication breakdown
    August 6, 2022

    also the savings limit for the council food vouchers is 10k, which suits me as my stash is only 2k.

  40. am
    August 6, 2022

    Ministers of cabinet appoint spads. Each one should employ an anti woke spad to remove root and branch this thing from government all the way down to departments. Each such spad should report to chief spad on antiwoke in number 10.
    Still slimming number 10 is required as our host recommends and so is the civil service.

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