Nationalised industries, quangos and Ministers

The way the Post Office, a nationalised industry throughout, treated its sub postmasters must have destroyed the myth that nationalising a business makes it ethical, good for its staff and customers and capable of resolving public policy problems. Just as the old nationalised water industry tipped sewage onto beaches, and the nationalised railway  kept cutting services and sacking staff whilst failing to run  the trains on time, so modern nationalised bodies show they are no good at doing what customers need and want. The Environment Agency wrecked the Somerset levels by not using pumps and not keeping the drains and ditches  clear. The North Sea Transition Authority delights in closing down our oil and gas fields so we can import more fossil fuel generating more CO 2. Local Councils pursue vendettas against motorists. DEFRA has been specialising in stopping us growing our own food with large grants to let the land go wild.

It is curious how this century Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Ministers have been keen on more so called independent bodies with greater powers. They seemed to think they would do a better job and would take the blame and the strain. Instead many of them did a worse job whilst the blame as far as the public is concerned rested with the Ministers who could have changed the instructions or the management of the body. Some Ministers have become timid or have been house trained to believe they must simply rely on the advice and defend the statements and actions of these independent bodies even when they are obviously wrong and or upsetting many members of the public.

Government needs fewer of these bodies. It needs to supervise them effectively. When I was a Minister with reporting quangos I insisted on an annual review meeting of the previous year’s performance and actions prior to publishing the annual report, and an annual  budget meeting to discuss how much they should spend and how much public money or underwriting they might need in the year ahead.  If big issues cropped up or if their performance was poor there could be additional meetings during the year. I reported any intervention I made to Parliament and was prepared to discuss the published budgets and annual reports which became open documents.


If necessary I asked a CEO or Chairman to leave


  1. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2024

    Indeed but these organisation have very little motivation to serve the public or do the right things they are mainly interested in their wages, pensions, power base and nice offices. Only Ministers have any incentive to make them do the right things for the public and even this is far too weak. Climate Change is often their pathetic and dishonest excuse for abject failure.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 15, 2024

      Like so much of government the quangos are likely to spend loads on PR propaganda, wages, bonuses, pensions, diversity, lobbying for more power, the deluded net zero religion green wash gimmicks and other lunacies rather than anything of value or actual service to the public.

      1. Ian Wraggg
        January 15, 2024

        Nothing changes when you appoint a quango to oversee a department. First it has to put in place a large administrative cohort and then the priority is to maintain and expand this cohort. The amount spent, not the efficiency is the measure used to justify these nonesense jobs and we’re still waiting for the bonfire.
        Fortunately it won’t be your problem after the election.

        1. Donna
          January 16, 2024

          Same applies to the City-Region Mayors no-one wanted and the Police/Crime Commissioners.

      2. Michelle
        January 15, 2024

        Birds of a feather. Any outside threat and they’ll circle the wagons.

    2. Peter
      January 15, 2024

      So nationalisation is the big problem?

      It’s strange that Royal Mail operated so well for so long, with the monarchs head on postage stamps, effectively ‘nationalised’ before the term was in use.

      Same with the armed forces. Standing armies instead of militias raised by aristocrats when needed or East India Company, a Royal Navy instead of privateers who shared the spoils of war.

      Only doctrinaire hardliners refuse to admit rail privatisation was a complete failure. We used to have a joined-up service, sensible fares and passengers not customers.

      Nationalisation was also misused for private profits and public losses.

      A deflection too far.

      This government has been in power for many years now. The buck stops here.

      1. Dave S
        January 15, 2024

        The best performing railway in Europe may be Switzerland’s SBB. It’s mostly been public sector since 1902.

        *Please* do what works. More data, less dogma. I think the test whether an industry should be public or private is often but not always to ask ‘is it a natural monopoly?’ Railways are, airlines aren’t. An interesting example – the USA retains a nationalised letter post and private competitors are barred. Coast-to-coast first class post costs about 60 pence. Ours is £1.25. Why does Royal Mail charge more to take a letter on average a shorter distance?

        Simon Jenkins’ interesting 2007 book ‘Thatcher and Sons’ describes the over-centralisation of parts of the UK economy, including universities, since about 1988. It continued after Mrs. Thatcher left office and became more marked under the next three PMs, hence the book’s title. Sometimes costs rose, probably helping to explain many of today’s stubborn public sector problems. Can we ever reverse those mistakes?

  2. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2024

    Wes Streeting was on Camila Tominy GB news yesterday trying to defend Labour’s proposed 20% VAT attack on Private Schools. This will clearly damage many good schools and force many back onto the state system, Thus raising negative net sums. He was helped in this by quoting the socialist fool Michael Gove “Private schools are welfare junkies being addicted to state support.” Actually Gove if VAT comes in parents at private schools will pay four times over with income tax and NI paid for others state schooling, then again on the money they need to earn to pay the fees, then the fees then VAT on top of the fees. You are totally deluded Gove.

    Same if you want private medicine but with IPT insurance tax at 12%. What is needed is free and fair competition between state and private in health care, dentistry, education and indeed energy, transport, BBC broadcasting, banking…

    1. Lifelogic
      January 15, 2024

      An organisation is far better and more regularly steered by paying customers that is by politically driven ministers and usually incompetent regulators. Regulators have their own interests (more power, more regulations, more ability to fine…) which usually have little to do with the interests of the public.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 15, 2024

        Indeed often regulators of profit from the regulated delivering a poor service they then get given more money by government to enlarge and improve their regulation systems.

    2. Everhopeful
      January 15, 2024

      From the ghastly socialist point of view I’d have thought it would make perfect sense to let those who can pay…pay.
      In both medicine and education it would free up the tax payer funded services. No interference, no Dickens sowing seeds of doubt about private provision. Let private compete with private.
      As I have said before ( drone drone) the NHS subsumed the valuable voluntary sector ( wonderful Red Cross arthritis spa near Trafalgar Square and many others) bringing health under national control, leaving a few private beds in NHS hospitals to screw the private sector. Plus all health insurances had to be surrendered and stultifying regulations flooded in.
      They say I think…socialism/marxism/communism = the politics of envy.

  3. Mark B
    January 15, 2024

    Good morning.

    There seems to be a failure of ‘oversight’ and being too close to those in said QUANGOS – ie mates of mates.

    We need root and branch reform on how we are managed in this country. The government needs to take back control and make the CS’s responsible for what does and does not happen. MP’s, whether they be Ministers or on Committees should be monitoring departments and making recommendations where necessary. Where there is poor performance the Civil Serpent responsible is held to account.

    We need a more business minded approach.

    1. Timaction
      January 15, 2024

      What’s the point of Ministers if they aren’t managing and directing their staff?
      Action plans and time framed reviews with agreed milestones or standards? What is it they are expected to achieve to what standard or numbers? Are they working to a particular strategy or plan? Do they need to write one with appropriate actions by staff members? Who’s going to do what by when? What sanctions if this is not achieved? How does it feedback to their reviews, bonus payments or promotions/ sacking? What is the process for recruitment and progression of staff?
      I’m afraid my interaction in a past life with the Home Office doesn’t instil confidence when they were all ……………useless, part/flexy time politicised lefty’s.

      1. John Hatfield
        January 15, 2024

        Yes Minister.

  4. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2024

    From the Telegraph today. A YouGov survey of 14,000 people forecasts that the Tories will retain just 169 seats, while Labour will sweep to power with 385 – giving Sir Keir Starmer a 120-seat majority. Every Red Wall seat won from Labour by Boris Johnson in 2019 will be lost and the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will be one of 11 Cabinet ministers to lose their seats.

    This when against the dire tedious Keir Starmer who has the same wrong headed and mad tax borrow and waste socialist/net zero, open door immigration policies as the current tax to death Socialist Sunak but is even worse. What is needed is the right policies for a change lower taxes, far less government, freedom and choice, ditch net zero, far less immigration, vast deregulation…

    1. Lifelogic
      January 15, 2024

      “Tories ‘absolutely’ can turn things around, insists the renowned genius Grant Shapps after this dire opinion poll”

      Well perhaps Grant after all the opposition is basically the same green crap, tax to death socialism but even worse – but Sunak is not even trying is he? He has clearly given up on his promises/pledges economic growth, reducing government debt, reducing NHS waiting lists and reducing immigration/stop the boats. They have not even ditched the insane, anti-growth, net zero lunacy yet not have they cut taxes they are still rising rapidly despite his slight NI cut due to fiscal drag. Plus he will not leave the ECHR either. The man needs a working compass (his current one is 180 degrees out on nearly all issues). Preferably he needs evicting. But given the typical Tory MP any new one will prob. be another broken compass person.

    2. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      You have lost leave of your senses. Tory and Labour are the same, Tories have implemented and built on Labour policies. Cameron wanted to be the heir to Blaire, May stated she would build on Miliband’s energy policy etc. You even comment on it especially the climate rot! Tory half of the Uni party had 14 years and a85 seat majority to implement their manifesto, they decided and CHOSE not to! The difference as far as I can tell is that Labour do not insult their voters, nor openly state they will implement Tory policy.

      Sunak has betrayed the nation and betrayed his manifesto and pledge to implement the manifesto. Sunak’s EU Windsor sell out is against everything May and Johnson said a British PM would never do! As a matter of fact and record Tories have the worse economic record than any Labour govt since WWII, highest taxation, highest debt, highest money printing (Osborne claimed no more funny money!), highest mass immigration (a choice to act against their manifesto), highest illegal immigration despite huge sums of taxpayers cash to France for nothing, same for Rwanda. Public services no longer provide the service they were intended to provide- education, police, military, councils, NHS, dentists, but are consumed with left wing Marxist rot, Tories introduced sex and relationship act to brainwash 4 year old children!

      LL, have a reflection of your comments against Tory policy and no reasonable could could ever trust them to vote for them.

    3. Mickey Taking
      January 15, 2024

      No surprise. Many of us have been giving the message from our own views, our circle of known voters, our social/business links. When did the Government show even the slightest understanding of the rapidly growing trend to wring hands in despair? Sir John often shares complaints about political aspects of governance, but misplaced loyalty reigns over the more and more inevitable. He may just survive the GE, but oh it will be lonely from across the floor watching the current opposition and their similar mad activities as his Party has been guilty of for much of 13 years.

      1. John Hatfield
        January 15, 2024

        This government appears to be following orders but not those of the electorate.

    4. Percy Openshaw
      January 15, 2024

      You are quite right, but even a cursory examination of the threads on various right leaning websites betrays the enraged despair of many voters, so desperate to punish the conservatives that they no longer listen to reason. When confronted with the dire prospect of a Labour government, they retreat into bluster, insult, wishful thinking and denial. Worse, they have echo-chambered themselves into this profoundly negative and impractical attitude and in such an attitude they are supported by a number of polemical podcasters who should know better. Among the sillier points made by such persons is that things must get so bad that they will provoke civil strife. That such a damaging and – frankly – immoral stance should appeal to people is a very, very bad sign; and – alas – the prospect of recalling such voters to sobriety, wherein they may judge between evils, is getting ever more remote. Finally, we have the dripping wet, hand wringing Tory left preparing to make things even worse by offering a watered down response to the migrant crisis. One has to hand it to the Tory left, they are about as capable of winning elections as their ideological friends, the Libdems. Let us hope that the lightbulbs turn back on among the right wing electorate before they hand us all over to Starmer and his vandals.

    5. Lifelogic
      January 15, 2024

      Politics latest news: “Stick with my plan – it’s working” insists Sunak after dire poll results!

      Sure Sunak you are still increasing taxes hugely, sticking to the net zero rip off intermittent energy lunacy, doing nothing to reduce immigration to sensible levels, still increasing red tape, still wasting tax payers money hand over fist, still blocking the roads, still running the NHS appallingly, still funding millions of worthless degrees… Your plan is just as bonkers as Starmers!

    6. Timaction
      January 15, 2024

      Too late LL. The bone head Tory’s, particularly the liberal One Nation Grouping have done for their Party. Out here in the real world even the busy people, non political types have worked out that the Tory’s aren’t conservative. Take the boat people. We all know the solution is to get tough with France and tell them to secure their borders, move the boat people away from spitting distance off their shores or expect them returned the same day by tow backs, boats or train! Rwanda is a red herring. The one Nation grouping just want to introduce legislation that won’t work, is a sop and kicks their can down the 3 year road and counting.
      Mass immigration is also killing the Tory’s. No one wants it, no one asked for it and it is in direct contrast to their manifesto promises. Students and families, low wage workers and their families, family reunion for all of them has no benefit for English people, just longer waiting lists, congestion, higher taxes and building everywhere. It seems those low wage workers (on welfare) and students never go home and need replacing every year!! Fool me once and all that Tory’s.

  5. DOM
    January 15, 2024

    Systemic change can only be achieved under a government that does not include any MP from the legacy parties and will involve violent opposition to such change ie union thuggery and personal threats from the fascist left. That alone will deter any move to impose change.

    It’s game over for those who believe in a smaller state, lower politicsed public spending, individualism, accountable democracy and freedom from the state. Gramsci rules the roost, DEI rules the roost. Racism rules the roost. And what have the still Cameron Tories done about this poisonous developments? SWEET FA

    A vote for Labour is a vote for more DEI poison. A vote for the Tories a vote to endorse that poison

    1. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Exactly. Uni party are exactly the same. JR can keep trying blaming others, however he has only to look at his own party which has left him.

      Based on record, policies and manifestos, No rational sane person could vote Tory.

    2. Timaction
      January 15, 2024

      DEI/ESG/NET ZERO, the POISON PILLS of the 21st Century and the legacies who all want it must go.

  6. Sakara Gold
    January 15, 2024

    The amount of sewage dumped into our bathing beaches by the old Water Bards was nothing compared to the vast quantities “routinely” discharged by the privatised foreign-owned water companies. And into our trout rivers, no matter how pristine. Regardless of the efficiency issue, generally privatisation has been a disaster for the British public

    The humungous amounts of dividends paid out to foreigners by the privatised industries empoverish us all and distort the financial markets. They are run for the benefit of their foreign shareholders and not for their customers – the British public.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      January 15, 2024

      I tend to agree, but now we have more people in the Country, so more sewerage, and now less undeveloped land to soak up the rain, likewise we still have the same number of reservoirs as decades ago, again for more people.
      We should have never let the basics of life, water, power, sewage treatment, and transport, get into foreign hands, especially when it was under the control of Government, inefficient as it may have been at the time.

    2. Everhopeful
      January 15, 2024

      And water and sewage always went together without much fuss.
      After all…mankind survived to this point and said fuss is very recent and probably more about controlling natural assets/resources than anything else.
      Historical “facts” may have been crafted to fit the money grabbing narrative?
      Before water was taken over and monetised ( for our own good lol) it was very often used as a natural sewer…lavatories positioned over streams and the sea for example.
      And now look at us…plagues popping up all over, health systems unable to cope ( so we are told ) and excess deaths rising up like Mount Pleasant. More tax money needed?
      And more sewage creators than you can shake a stick at!

    3. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Correct. My water company made 242 dumps of waste into rivers last year alone!! Where do rivers go… the sea! The council introduced otters previously, the water companies have still not got rid of combined sewers for could and storm water! Despite huge increase in Charges for that infrastructure purpose! Another Tory privatisation failure. Scotland has better performed without the additional water charge!

    4. graham1946
      January 15, 2024

      And what do we have to show for all the money raised in the privatisations? Sweet FA. Same with the North Sea oil revenues. No wealth fund for this nation, nothing we can point to as being provided by the billions raised, just all wasted and a national debt off the scale. I do find it rather a cheek to blame everyone else when the government is always at the bottom of it all. They chose how to do the privatisations, to fragment the railways so they wouldn’t work, selling off our assets to foreigners. The list is endless and the one common denominator – the Government. And they expect us to vote for more of the same. They also control the nationalised industries if they could be bothered to do the job. Such chutzpah!

    5. a-tracy
      January 15, 2024

      Where are you getting your facts from Sakara?

      I read this ‘The water industry in England has been transformed since privatisation 30 years ago. It’s easy to forget how bad things were, so it’s worth reminding ourselves.’ We seem to have committees for this, quangos for that with no one taking responsibility for anything. One group say one thing, another says another. Isn’t it time these quangos and committees actually stepped us and tell us what they’ve been doing in the last 30 years and prove that things are better rather than worse.

      1. hefner
        January 15, 2024 31/03/2022 ‘Water companies leaked sewage into UK waters 370,000 times in 2021’., 15/08/2023 ‘Water companies are playing dirty over sewage’., 31/03/2023 ‘Sewage entered rivers and seas 825 times a day in 2022’.

        a-tracy, your reference is from 2019 before the worst cases were documented and before some class actions were started. It was then found that £966 m were distributed to shareholders by the UK water companies while the companies were (and are still) pleading for increase to their customers’ tariffs to help them carry on their statutory duties (, 10/07/2023 ‘Thames Water secures £750 m cash injection).

        1. Sakara Gold
          January 16, 2024

          I am impressed with your command of statistics, which I confess is not my forte.

          As the nation locks down wondering if the Houthi are going to cut off the supply of LNG from Quatar, maybe you could look at how much money we are saving by capturing free wind and solar electricity to run our heat pumps and EV’s

          1. Donna
            January 16, 2024

            Shows the absolute lunacy of refusing to use our own energy resources – gas, oil and coal.

        2. a-tracy
          January 16, 2024

          Hefner, what is the typical sewage leak per year compared to 2021?
          The shareholders are interesting in the BBC article you shared, pension funds, one a UK university pension fund so it’s good they are in a position to pay dividends but if those same shareholders have to put in £1m they may have to sell their holdings.

          It’s also interesting that the big sewage dumps all happened after 2021. Everyone carried on paying their water bills during and after COVID-19, so what changed? Anti-Political machinations perhaps, the water companies will be sorry if they don’t sort themselves out, I’d guess Labour would just take them over.

    6. Dave Andrews
      January 15, 2024

      Both nationalised and privatised models don’t work for water supply, for various reasons.
      I prefer a mutualised industry, where the customers are the owners. Conservatives would never bring this in because they want the sale to bring money in for the government and Labour wouldn’t either because they are committed to nationalisation dogma.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 15, 2024

        On your car bike energy calculation an EV does about 5 miles on 1kwh about 800kcal walking about 4 times less efficient than cycling and human food need about 2-30 times the energy in it to produce. Meat is hugely inefficient.

    7. Michelle
      January 15, 2024

      I agree that none of our essential services should be seen as just another set of figures on a ledger, and they should not be owned by foreign entities.
      However, my concern with nationalisation is the power of militant Union members who could hold these services hostage until their demands met.

      1. a-tracy
        January 16, 2024

        I agree Michelle.
        Our nationalised industries are a mess, and their unions are out of control in order to effect a change of government that they feel they can control better. Removing services from us and then getting their money paid back when their ransoms are finally paid.
        They can’t all just blame government ministers, their organisations are getting more money than ever, it is us taxpayers of all sorts from people that pay for goods (vat) to those on PAYE or taxed on pensions subsidising them, when do you hear about us getting free rail tickets each for our subsidy on off-peak times, Never! The railway workers want all those perks at our expense for themselves and their families only it is selfish and arrogant.

        We don’t get water strikes, we don’t get gas strikes, we don’t get electricity strikes we do when they’re nationalised. I don’t think they realise just how many people are sick and tired of them now.

  7. Chris
    January 15, 2024

    Privatised bodies eg water companies can be just as bad. There needs to be more personal accountability of both private and public company executives where key services to the public are involved. And they should not be able to bring private prosecutions.

  8. Wanderer
    January 15, 2024

    I can comment on the Environment Agency, as I had a lot to do with them, both as an advocate for my coastal community and later as a member of the funding allocation body for one of their English regions.

    Even 15 years ago, the long march through the institutions was well on its way to capture the Agency. Advisory groups had been set up overwhelmingly comprised of green NGOs and “charities” (RSPB, National Trust, FoE rtc) that supported and encouraged extreme views about nature conservation that the Agency’s own staff wanted to promote. A constant churn of Ministers (I met 3 within a relatively short time) at Westminster let them get on with it.

    Any human intervention to control, or that might affect the environment, was seen as bad. Global warming was the result of our interference with nature, so we must stop interfering, ran the logic

    Rewilding was already popular – Ministers were told that letting rivers rise and sometimes flood (only onto farmland, they’d suggest) would save maintenance money plus improve wildlife. Cue cuddly photos of water voles. The coastal equivalent – “letting natural processes take their course, through managed retreat” was gaining traction.

    “Managed retreat” meant letting land and homes be destroyed by erosion or flooded by the sea. I remember arguing with the green lobbyists. “What about the homeowners, the business owners, there is no compensation?” (EA could withdraw maintenance with impunity, so long as they warned occupiers there was a risk of flood/erosion). They would shrug their shoulders, and not even support the idea of compensating for homes and businesses destroyed. The National Trust representative even wanted his own tenants’ homes and land destroyed. Talk about a twisted view of the NT charter!

    Needless to say the EA prosecuted landowners who tried building their own ad hoc sea or river defences. It lobbied against such schemes that entered the planning permission process, and for conditions that made them more expensive to execute.

    With Ministers not taking responsibility and not gettinginvolved, this anti-human nonsense was allowed to flourish. Goodness knows how deep the rot is now.

    1. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      EA was a Blaire invention that has provided no benefit to the taxpayer whatsoever. Councils had responsibility previously. When EA created no reduction in community charge but EA cost £3.5 billion to taxpayer ( most of the cost goes to salaries and pension a fraction goes to infrastructure projects, but very EU environmentally complaint). We now have an increase in community charge for councils taking back some responsibility!! Why was the cost not top sliced from EA or EA got rid of? JRs party perfectly for higher taxation without any improvement to service whatsoever. Which minister held accountable or sacked for this gross failing and continued gross failing.

    2. Everhopeful
      January 15, 2024

      Apparently they allowed somewhere to flood ( “ Make space for water” initiative !!!) and drowned all the frogs.
      We used to have a lot of ponds = frogs. No ponds now only housing estates.
      Kids used to collect frog spawn and nurture it into frogs in the classroom. Then released frogs near a pond.
      These people destroying nature know nothing and will not learn!
      To grow a cabbage you need generations of knowledge.
      Book burners!

    3. a-tracy
      January 16, 2024

      Wanderer, I remember being concerned when I read that ‘on 18 May 2023 — Farmer John Price, 68, was jailed after he used an 18-tonne digger to dredge a one-mile section of the River Lugg near Leominster, Herefordshire.’ Mr Price pleaded guilty to all seven offences, which took place in 2020 and in 2021, when he conducted follow-up work on the site. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, ordered to pay £600,000 in costs and to take action to help repair the river, which he said was now thriving.

      This story needs a follow up, it is akin to the Post Office to me, just how much damage did he really do to justify putting this chap in prison. He claimed he acted to protect locals in the nearby hamlet whose homes had been devastated by previous floods but environment agencies claimed he instead ‘made matters worse’.

      “Homes were flooded during Storm Dennis in early 2020, but when Storm Christoph hit in January 2021, houses stayed dry.” Daily Mail. During these recent floods in 2023 was the hamlet he said he was protecting flooded or not? Did other areas where this sort of work wasn’t carried out get flooded? Has there been a checkup on the invertebrates and fish in the years after did the fish eggs they said he destroyed not produce the same number of fish last year? Who was correct, the EA or the Farmer?

      When they showed pictures in the paper they didn’t show the same stretch of river, what does it look like a years afterwards is it still a complete obliteration or has nature recovered. If it wasn’t to reduce flooding as the EA said, what did they believe he did it for?

  9. Lifelogic
    January 15, 2024

    Exactly right. It is indeed “curious how this century Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Ministers have been keen on more so called independent bodies with greater powers. They seemed to think they would do a better job and would take the blame and the strain. Instead many of them did a worse job whilst the blame as far as the public is concerned rested with the Ministers who could have changed the instructions or the management of the body.”

    The same applies to the BoE and the FCA who have been appallingly incompetent. Yet still Andrew Bailey remains in post. Sunak claims credit for halving inflation (still over double the target) but did not take the blame for driving it up to 12%+ as his deluded policies as Chancellor lockdowns, QE, vast government waste, funding of net harm vaccines for all when many had not need of them even had they been safe and effective.

    I see that The Covid inquiry will not start hearing evidence about the development of vaccines and other drugs this summer, as originally planned. Witness hearings will be postponed until a later date, likely to be after the next general election. Baroness Hallett, who is chairing the sick joke Covid inquiry, recognised the decision would be “disappointing for some”.

    This is bordering on criminal in my view & surely a political decision. The key things the Covid enquiry should be addressing is why on earth we locked down for so long and why on earth we gave/coerced serial & experimental new technology, under tested, net harm vaccines. These even to people who never needed them (the young and those who had already had Covid – even had they been remotely safe and effective). Also to look at the causes for the huge numbers of excess deaths currently (almost certainly it seems mainly the Covid vaccines)

    1. Donna
      January 15, 2024

      If Ministers are going to achieve their aim (according to Bridgen) of suppressing information on the level of deaths and severe harms caused by the experimental gene therapies for around 20 years, they need the Inquiry to kick it into the long grass. This is just the first stage in the process. Post election, and under a Labour Gov which is also deeply implicated, we can expect even more delay.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 15, 2024

        +1 also Covid clearly came from the lab (leak or perhaps even deliberate) and they are not looking at that issue either.

      2. Hope
        January 15, 2024

        LL, I think Tory ministers create bodies to hide behind them when the bodies are EU law, regs and rule enforcers. Step forward one EA, no use to taxpayer or consumer.

      3. David+L
        January 15, 2024

        And now Anthony Fauci has admitted to the US Senate that social distancing had no scientific basis. Every measure we were told was essential to save lives turns out to have been based on what made sensational headlines and would make the self-appointed covid “police” feel warmly self-righteous when lambasting the more sensible folk.
        Any delay into investigating the impact and long lasting consequences of the “vaccines” is unacceptable. We’ve had a glimpse into the sordid business of PPE supplies to the government, now the potentially even more disastrous mRNA mandated medication must be scrutinised without delay before even more people succumb to it.

    2. Hat man
      January 15, 2024

      If the Covid inquiry delays asking questions, people will increasingly look elsewhere for answers. And it doesn’t take long to find them, if you follow the money. All that’s left to find out, as far as I’m concerned, is whether government ministers benefited personally from the diktats they were announcing, and if so by how much. I’m sure not everyone’s snouts were in the trough – there were plenty who went along with the groupthink, I dare say. But of course the Covid inquiry would never in a million years raise these issues, so it doesn’t matter how long it delays asking whatever questions it does want to ask. I’m certainly not paying any attention to it.

  10. Jude
    January 15, 2024

    It would appear Sir John, that you should create a Ministers Management Training Pack. That outlines & explains the what, the why, the how, to whom & when. For a Minister to manage the running of a Ministry.
    Because it is becoming very clear. That Ministers do not manage but ARE managed by unelected civil servants & advisors.

    1. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Most of the ministers come across as too thick or too weak to get their depts to implement their manifesto promise to their voters!

  11. Javelin
    January 15, 2024

    The problem with independent bodies is they are out of control by any right wing mechanism of small incremental feedback.

    They are no subject to money feedback of profit and loss.

    The are not subject to voting feedback of winning and losing power.

    They are not subject to behaviour feedback of criminal or civil judgement.

    They are not subject to information feedback of public auditors.

    1. Javelin
      January 15, 2024

      I forgot to add the fifth and most powerful right wing mechanism … of Life.

      5) They are are very difficult to sack so really don’t care.

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 15, 2024

        and friends move them on to the next sinecure.

        1. Peter
          January 15, 2024

          Correct. It is just one overpaid merry-go-round -NHS panjandrums, heads of universities, even school academies.

          “She knows there’s no success like failure
          And that failure’s no success at all.”
          P. Vennells

    2. Matthu
      January 15, 2024

      The creation of such an abundance of independent bodies ( and here I also include regional and London mayors and devolved parliaments) is that it leaves all these organisations open to capture by extreme woke and trans ideologies with no recourse by national government.

      1. Timaction
        January 15, 2024

        We had a Mayor imposed in us in North East Somerset having voted against it sometime ago. Former MP Dan Norris now holds the role and is trying to kill the motorist with his green congestion plans to restrict ice cars and expects us to walk, cycle or get non existent public transport. We previously exchanged correspondence during the expenses scandal. My view of his incompetence has not changed and confirms the expression,” work expands to fill the time allotted”. More expense for useless unneeded or wanted Mayor’s at hard hit taxpayers expense, against our express wishes. Goodbye Tory’s.

    3. a-tracy
      January 15, 2024

      Quite right Javelin.

  12. Javelin
    January 15, 2024

    David Frost in the Telegraph repeats the words I posted last month. Remember my job is to make predictions for investment banks.

    “Two or three extra points for Reform, a bit more tactical voting, and this might start to look like an extinction [of Conservatives] event.“ – Frost, DT.

    1. Bill B.
      January 15, 2024

      But the good news is that Hunt is predicted to lose his seat. There’s always a silver lining.

    2. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Good. They will have my vote just to obliterate the Tories who deliberately chose not to implement Brexit, they chose to implement left wing socialist policies and tax me for the benefit. No thanks I would prefer the wooden U tuner Starmer. Sunak already shows how many times he turned, lied and deliberately failed to do what he promised, including acting with integrity! How long did his immigration changes last? A week!

    3. glen cullen
      January 15, 2024

      You’re both correct

    4. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Frost is right. The govt/cabinet is full of remainers implementing lock step with EU! Who voted for that! Even May said a leaver would lead negotiations and reneged on her promise and betrayed her cabinet and country!

      Sunak went further, he gave away N.Ireland making it a vassal state and forced the rest of the UK to act in lockstep with EU under EJC, laws, regs and rules! Border down Irish Sea for UK goods open border to France for mass immigration! Who voted for that? I wonder why Frost might be spot on in his predictions? Cameron just got his Labour supporting sister-in-law to work at CCHQ, read Guido’s scathing article! Why does it matter? Because people had it confirmed Cameron’s EU left wing influence is back and flourishing.

    5. Timaction
      January 15, 2024

      Indeed it is. What’s stopping the real conservatives having the Prime Minister in a room and reading him the riot act? We all know the problems, just that he refuses to deal with them. Do the One Nation Liberals hold that much sway that he is prepared for annihilation at the election?

  13. Javelin
    January 15, 2024

    Might I suggest a handbook is produced for Ministers that list ls all the right-wing feedback mechanisms for quangos.

    1) Financial feedback – how to control quangos by rewarding and punishing them with budgets

    2) Information feedback – how to control quangos by forcing them to publish performance and be publicly reviewed

    3) Legal Feedback – how to control quangos by reporting them for criminal or civil breaches of laws

    4) Political Feedback – ensure board members are voting in every year by political colleagues or other jurys.

    5) Life Feedback – ensure quango staff can be sacked if they do not perform.

    1. glen cullen
      January 15, 2024

      Only give quango’s a one year contract

      1. Mark B
        January 16, 2024


    2. Hope
      January 15, 2024

      Read Guido Javlin, Cameron has got his Labour supporting sister-in-law working for CCHQ. Guido helpfully publishes her Labour supporting tweets and her dislike for conservatives!!

      1. a-tracy
        January 16, 2024

        You really can’t make this sort of rubbish up. It seems to be a controlled destruction of this set of conservatives from above. My MP has already resigned after he voted Sunak in; I asked him not to, but now I see he was already leaving, so didn’t care. Get his sister-in-law out of CCHQ for goodness sakes.

    3. agricola
      January 15, 2024

      Or even more simply end quangoism. Bring responsibilities back into ministries, make named civil servants liable for carrying out government policy, bringing them before parliamentary committees to explain their actions annually. All supported by hire and fire in the ministers hands.

  14. Donna
    January 15, 2024

    Mandelson told us around 20 years ago that we were now in a post-democratic age. The Not-a-Conservative-Party has simply advanced the deliberate destruction of democratic accountability.

    Where will all the brainwashed, lefty graduates with their worthless ‘ologies go if not into the State, the Quangocracy and the Charity-Quango sectors?

    Back in 2010 Cameron “promised” a bonfire of the Quangos. What actually happened, according to the FT in 2012 is “David Cameron’s “bonfire of the quangos” has seen the abolition of 285 public bodies but 184 new organisations were created at the same time.” So a net reduction of 101 ….and since then goodness knows how many new ones have been created. What’s the betting that 12 years later there has been NO net reduction?

    Today, the DT reports that the Not-a-Conservative-Party is facing a 1997-style General Election wipeout. There was a letter published the day before which explains to the Treacherous Tories why:

    “SIR – Rishi Sunak’s attempts to scare former Tory voters away from backing Reform UK at this year’s general election – for fear of letting Labour into government through the back door – are a waste of his breath (“‘A vote for anyone other than Conservatives is a vote to put Starmer in power’”, report, January 7).

    We’ve heard it all before.

    We were taken for granted by David Cameron; taken for fools by Theresa May, who was out of her depth; and, although it pains me to say so, deceived and grossly let down by the underperforming, pantomime PM that was Boris Johnson – a failed messiah if ever there was one.

    All betrayed our trust with breathtaking displays of arrogance and downright dishonesty, which have left lifelong Conservatives and Leavers like me feeling exploited and abused.

    There’s no reason to believe that Mr Sunak’s promises will be any more trustworthy than those of his three immediate predecessors. His pleas will not stop us voting for Reform UK, whatever the short-term cost may be. The day of retribution is upon us.

    It’s time for this soulless and gutless shell of a once-great Conservative Party to be either dismantled and reconstructed or replaced – while Labour spends the next five years demonstrating its innate and ruinous incompetence to yet another starry-eyed generation of soon-to-be disappointed and disillusioned youngsters.

    Adrian Barrett
    Haywards Heath, West Sussex

    Well said that man.

  15. agricola
    January 15, 2024

    It cannot be said that nationalised is good or private is bad or visa versa. The failure of either in the UK I put down to an ill defined purpose and very poor quality management. The latter is a speciality of many UK enterprises.
    Whereas cutomer satisfaction should be the aim, it gets diluted and subverted by doctrinaire party politics, historically and residually by aims of the EU, the shear incompetence and mendacity of management, to which I would add the inexperience of ministers. Customer satisfaction is only partially resolved in private industry. No problem with the local builder who thrives on customer satisfaction. However as UK enterprises grow they distance themselves from the customer, witness banks, insurance companies, and large service companies who hide behind their computers offering only one way communication. Customers are an inconvenience, loyalty is to the shareholder and the size of the bonus. If the Post Office and Fujitsu combined are an example of public and private management styles with civil service and ministerial oversight we have lost our moral compass and deserve the decline we witness on every page of UK life.

    1. a-tracy
      January 15, 2024

      Agricola, you made me ponder what services I buy where I feel there is good quality, service, goods and management. It is not ALL bad, especially from the services I control over who I spend my money with.

      I’m happy with a) the food products I buy, the quality and the choice in the marketplace at the prices I want to pay. I’m glad I plan and don’t have to do too much at the local convenience stores because their prices are a little out of control, and I don’t particularly appreciate remembering a host of membership cards.
      b) the fuel stations I use and the choices I have.
      c) the restaurants and their employees, although I don’t have many local ones to choose from, my town’s takeaways are booming, so they’re doing something right.
      d) the clothes and prices I can get online; although I’m sad about the demise of Debenhams, M&S seems to be turning into Debenhams for clothes.
      e) Hairdressers/barbers and other personal service companies are doing a great job at reasonable costs.
      f) We buy household services, such as window cleaners, and get excellent service from them all.

      I don’t believe EVERYTHING has declined UK life. The little businesses, the average people, the private enterprises are doing well in my opinion if they aren’t getting strangled with new taxes, higher operating costs being imposed on them and more control being promised by Labour, making people seriously consider quitting.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    January 15, 2024

    One assumes that the minister has set the direction for nationalised industries and quangos.

    If the nationalised industry or quango does not change its position or polices that must because government approves.

  17. Richard1
    January 15, 2024

    It’s all academic now. The next election seems to be a goner and there doesn’t seem to be any prospect of the Conservative govt trying to get to grips with the hydra-headed quangocracy in the short time left. Closures is what we need. These bodies need to be shut down and their staff made redundant. If they perform functions which are actually required – which in many cases they don’t – those should be performed by civil servants under ministerial supervision.

    1. Mark B
      January 16, 2024

      “The next election seems to be a goner . . . ”

      You should have stuck with Liz Truss MP. But you and most of the MP’s wanted Rushi. As they say, be careful of what you wish for.

  18. Berkshire Alan
    January 15, 2024

    The difference is John you have had commercial management experience at the sharp end, few Mp’s now have, they tend to be either failed lawyers or financial theorists, who do not have a clue about how a real business is run, of human nature, they lack personal and people management skills, and budget control, hence but just some of the many reasons for so many failed policies.
    Good grief we now have a Prime Minister who puts manufacturing and sales quoters on commercially owned car manufacturers under the threat of fines if they do not comply, how bloody ridiculous is that for a “so called” Conservative Government

    1. Timaction
      January 15, 2024

      And boiler manufacturers. A sure vote winner. I’ll just put another log on my new wood burner and turn on my new gas boiler an hour or so later!! That extra 1.2 million people imports annually have no carbon footprint so why should we treat net zero virtue signalling seriously?

    2. Mark B
      January 16, 2024


      My MP (Conservative) has never worked in the private sector. NHS. Local Authority. SpAd. That is it. A totally insulated from the real world and all its ups and downs. Zero experience.

      That is the ‘modern’ Conservative Party for you.

  19. Original Richard
    January 15, 2024

    “It is curious how this century Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Ministers have been keen on more so called independent bodies with greater powers.”

    It’s not curious at all. A large majority of MPs, particularly those in higher positions, are either communists or WEF feudalists. Both see the way to power by destroying our social cohesion and nationhood with mass immigration and our wealth through the false CAGW narrative requiring the economy destroying Net Zero “solution”. Renewables will ensure rationed supplies of expensive, unreliable, chaotically intermittent electrical power and electrification control over individuals and whole populations using the smart meter.

    So these MPs, to continue as MPs, lie to their voters and hide behind Civil Servants, quangos, regulatory bodies, institutions, nationalised or highly regulated industries, ‘Off’s, the judiciary and other “independent bodies” by instructing them to pursue policies and make decisions they support but dare not admit to the electorate.

    The EU operates on the same principle of course.

    Your version, Sir John, of how a Minister should be working for the benefit of the country explains why you are unfortunately not allowed anywhere near the levers of power.

  20. Bloke
    January 15, 2024

    If Ministers had power of control and operated sensibly and efficiently in the UK interest many of the problems raised would gradually fade away.

    1. William Long
      January 15, 2024

      Ministers fo have the power to control. The problem is that they are not willing to use it.

      1. Bloke
        January 16, 2024

        Those who do not use what is needed are useless, and should be fired.

  21. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    Sir John
    I would suggest in particular with the Post Office it wasn’t the fact it was nationalised that was the fault line, but it is the refusal of Government to ‘manage’
    The Quangos as mentioned are there as a result of taxpayer funding but Government refuses to ‘manage’
    Its about basic management of the economy, you get a vibrant expanding economy when cost are controlled, when expenditure meets income and when expenditure has an expectation of a return placed on it. This Conservative Government in particular with Sunak as PM just doesn’t care, isn’t invested in the UK so refuses to manage the basics.

  22. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    Sir John
    “It is curious how this century Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Ministers have been keen on more so-called independent bodies with greater powers”
    It’s called a neglect of duty, we have had Cameron, May, Johnson and now Sunak that have continued the Blair/Brown doctrine of destroy, destroy, destroy it has never been about the Country, respect of the individual, the framework for everyone to reach their potential. It has from all of them been destruction, the ever moving Left of indoctrination to enhance the personal esteem overriding pure simple practicalities. Its is not about the job they have/had been empowered and paid to do, but moving ever increasing to the Socialist ideals that you are ‘free’ as long as you are in my image.
    The signalling of a ‘virtue’ then doing nothing is seen as ‘look-at-how-great-I-am’

  23. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    To many of these Quangos are actually just bolt holes for the failed, friends of friends unable to hold down a proper job. The Government giving them our money and basically saying enjoy, just remember to support me personally come the election.

  24. Nigl
    January 15, 2024

    You have a weak manager not a leader in Sunak supported by the pathetic Dowden.

    You have no chance.

    The ‘useful idiot’ Shapps running defence, risible.

    In thrall to Damian Green and Theresa May.

    And under ‘not so’ Cleverley it appears most of the migrants allocated for deportation have disappeared. Only the clueless Home Office and Ministers would expect people who have risked their lives to get here to wait patiently to be sent away again.

    Utter ineptitude.,these people couldn’t run a bath.

  25. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    If there can be a natural competitive market place for any entity it should remain free from State Ownership.
    If State Ownership is required, the State should own the Company ‘its fabric’ then award contracts for the supply on a competitive tender basis. What should not happen is that an organisation is given control and ownership of a company’s physical infrastructure, demand taxpayer funding, then for them to sell of the fabric for shareholder reward. That is not a government managing, in control of expenditure and ensuring the taxpayer receives the best for its investment – that a Government derelict in its duty.
    Talking Water Companies, they have got to own the real-estate, the fabric etc. of the facility and service they provide. They then get to sell off reservoirs for housing development and not replace the facility just so they can pay shareholders handsome bonuses. End result shortage of supply, untreated sewerage and so on as it is not and cannot be a competitive market place, the consumer looses as the supply is curtailed, the consumer can’t buy elsewhere. If the State retained ownership of the structures and contracted out the service delivery etc, failure of delivery would have resulted in loss of contract. As it is now the State(taxpayer) would have to buy back all the facilities just to ensure basic supply is met. Or in other words the Taxpayer pays twice, they paid for the facilities to be created, then have to pay all over to maintain them.

  26. Nigl
    January 15, 2024

    And in other news the government is trumpeting doubling fines etc for over running roadworks.

    Well Mark Harper. Who do you think will ultimately pay? Indeed. Another stealth tax!

  27. Linda Brown
    January 15, 2024

    It comes down to the managers put in charge (don’t give me all the fancy titles they are given these days). When I started working for the Post Office in 1971 after my Mother had been a GPO employee for many years, the managers were taken from people who had worked their way up the ladder, not this small group of people we see banded around every time a top job becomes vacant. Where has this all come from? Sir Bill Ryland who ran the PO/BT in those days knew how long any job should take and when he paid any of us a visit we were on tender hooks in case we got an answer wrong. Where are these types of managers today? Gone along with respect for them too. All new university entrants had to do 6 months in a sorting office working as a postman etc., so that they knew how things worked. Can you imagine any of this lot doing that? Too menial for them but it is the way to know how the work is done. I did 6 weeks on the counter as well as at the management training centre before starting as an auditor of Head Post Offices. I can tell you I would have raised some issues on what has gone on.

  28. Michael Saxton
    January 15, 2024

    Your last paragraph sums up the present failed system. I think there’s also been far too much reliance on the EU by both Ministers and their Civil Servants. I believe laziness and complacency prevails exacerbated by lockdown and working from home. The selection of Ministers since 2019 has been nothing less than a shambles with inexperienced and weak individuals appointed overlooking those with experience, leadership skills and wisdom to remain on the back benches. It takes some doing to ‘blow’ an eighty seat majority but unless there is a dramatic change of policies such as immigration, net zero, NHS and taxation the next election is looking grim indeed!

  29. Everhopeful
    January 15, 2024

    GPO Jan 4th 1793
    To the GUARDS
    I am commanded by the Postmaster-General to desire you will be particularly active at changing and stopping Places and to use every Exertion to keep the Coach to Time at this inclement season, or give a Reason why:— but take Care the Reason is a sufficient One OR YOU WILL BE PUNISHED ( my caps).

    Nothing really changes.
    “Embrace change” indeed!

  30. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    “You may find it hard to believe, but one of the biggest problems the Conservative Party faces at the moment is complacency.”
    “I’ve been warning about this for months. In truth, existing polls already show it. But it is too easy for complacent Tory MPs to dismiss them as misleading. That’s not possible with this poll. “
    David Frost
    Never forget labour can’t win at the next election, all that can happen is that Sunak and his version of One nation’ a Conservative Government will loose it and loose it big time. To reinforce that Conservative Campaign HQ are enforcing they outcome.
    Sir John, to sum up today’s theme, this Conservative Government has done the complete opposite to everything promised at the last election, the State has been expanded, State spending and borrowing has spiralled, they have curtailed the economy not released it. Then after the massive tax and borrowing ‘grab’ they have refused their job to ‘manage’. Will it change? No they are bereft of ideas, inept and weak. Yet as a contradiction if their Socialist WEF Masters say jump the ask how high and follow diktats religiously. They refuse to work for the UK, so the UK doesn’t need them

  31. William Long
    January 15, 2024

    It is beginning to seem that Ministers now will do pretty well anything to avoid admitting their accountability, and QUANGOS and advisers are a tried and tested means of achieving this. And this avoidance of accountability is becoming the accepted norm: how often does one read or hear from the media now, that so-and-so is the Minister ‘Co-ordinating’ some activity or department, and increasingly seldom ‘Responsible for’ and almost never, ‘Accountable for’?
    Even the Daily Telegraph, which one might have thought would know better, is falling into this slack habit.

  32. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    PM Sunak last year alone allowed more immigrants into the UK than the collective results of every year from 1980-2000. So more than that whole 20 year period, who is he working for?

  33. Graeme Dexter
    January 15, 2024

    Dear Sir John

    The Horizon debacle has done so much more than create a terrible injustice for so many well intend and law abiding citizens – it has further demonstrated how badly government departments and public institutions are being managed.

    We can add to this a long list of other examples – the procurement of PPE which is being investigated, countless and continued mention of MOD projects that have gone wrong, reports that government bail-out payments to Govia Thameslink has been used to reward shareholders, the spiralling costs of HS2 whilst benefits are reduced, the perilous state Thames Water and the seeming failure of the regulators to get to grips with anything.

    Where is the Governance in these organisations? Where are the checks and balances that any decent manager would apply so he could hold his head up high when held to account? Are these managers ever held to account?

    The one thing these organisations seem to have in common is that the bosses pay themselves high salaries and award themselves huge bonuses for failure to act in the best interest of the public.

    How much is this costing the tax payer and the public?

  34. Peter Parsons
    January 15, 2024

    Off topic: If Rwanda is a safe country, why is the UK granting asylum claims to Rwandans?

    1. Sam
      January 16, 2024

      Because the broad definition of what a safe country is means there are lots of ways people can claim asylum here Peter.
      Not gay friendly?
      come on in
      Not very tolerant of all religions?
      come on in
      You have the death penalty?
      come on in
      No free and fair elections?
      come on in
      The list goes on and on

      1. Peter Parsons
        January 16, 2024

        So is that safe in the Humpty Dumpty meaning of safe (the word means whatever I choose it to mean), or it is Schroedinger’s safe (the country is both safe and not safe at the same time)?

  35. glen cullen
    January 15, 2024

    1 No civil servant should be given a state honour for their employed work
    2 No civil servant should be given a cash bonus, they have great pensions
    3 No civil servant should be paid more than the PM
    4 No civil servant allowed a second state employed/funded position
    5 No civil servant allowed to be employed in quango or state funded organisation for five years after leaving the service
    Stop the career transition from highly paid civil servant, to getting a gong, to getting a position in a quango ….the same for ministers

  36. glen cullen
    January 15, 2024

    The number of UK state funded quango include –

    766 Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB)
    752 Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs)
    957 Semi-Autonomous Public Bodies (SAPB)

    They all need to be evaluated and at least half scrapped

  37. Atlas
    January 15, 2024

    Quite so Sir John.

  38. Bert+Young
    January 15, 2024

    Things are not what they used to be . Standards of achievement and the capability of management are at an all time low . Incentives are lacking and the Government are incapable of taking things back to a level the public need . Faith in the Sunak/Hunt leadership has gone – all the opinion polls substantiate this . At my advanced age I am able to look back to the plusses and minuses of many years ; frankly I am disgusted at how things stand now . The obstinacy and lack of judgement that now exists in 10 Downing Street is only one of the discrepancies ; we badly need those like the Redwoods to take over – this is not flattery , it is rank bottom sense .

  39. forthurst
    January 15, 2024

    It was the Tories who nationalised the water companies, before which the water companies were local non-profits supplying clean water and removing sewerage and being paid through the rates. Therefore water services have got far worse and more expensive entirely as a consequence of Tory meddling.
    Sometimes the profit motive is insufficient to ensure that public services are universal and provided at costs most people can afford without public subvention.

  40. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    The Rwanda bill, some honesty is needed here the only stumbling block is this Conservative Government and those in the HoC that refuse their job as the UK’s Legislator’s and being our democratic representatives.
    Does any one other than our elected representative, our democratically elected parliament our government have any legitimacy in defining the UK’s ‘internal’ Laws, Rules and Regulations? If those in the HoC think that is correct, they are also saying they themselves are unnecessary, they themselves do not believe in democracy and as such are a waste of space and money.
    The only point of being a Democracy is the people get to choose those that represent them to create, amend and repeal the Laws, Rules, Regulations that affect how this Country is run. That means someone is then accountable and responsible for all outcomes or is removed.
    Follow that through Sir John, isn’t that the same for all the countries woes and ills, the Government and the bulk of parliament refuse or don’t understand their purpose therefore their duties, their jobs?

  41. a-tracy
    January 15, 2024

    One moment..”The way the Post Office, a nationalised industry throughout, treated its sub-postmasters must have destroyed the myth that nationalising a business makes it ethical, good for its staff and customers and capable of resolving public policy problems. “… the bit of the Post Office that was badly treated appears to be the self-employed, small business operators. How many members of staff in the Nationalised Post Offices were taken to court for theft, how many Managers in Post Office owned branches were dismissed for fraud using Horizon?

    In 1990, “The Post Office operates the largest retail network in the country. It has over 20,000 post offices throughout the United Kingdom—considerably more outlets than any bank or building society and more per head of population than in France, Germany, Japan or the United States of America. That means that, in the United Kingdom, post offices are easily accessible to all but those in the remotest areas. In urban areas, the aim is to have offices distributed so that no one is more than a mile from a post office, and in rural areas, no more than two miles…Only a small proportion of offices—some 1,300 out of over 20,000—are directly owned and operated by Post Office Counters. The vast majority of offices, about 19,300, are already sub-post offices, run under contract to Post Office Counters Ltd. by self-employed sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses.” Eric Forth MP Hansard

  42. forthurst
    January 15, 2024

    The nationalised British Telecoms had planned to roll out Fibre to the Premises across the UK and dispense entirely with copper cabling. This plan was blocked by the Tories who wanted to introduce US Cable companies to the UK to provide competition for BT and realised that the BT plan would lock them out. Even so the US companies didn’t come and we didn’t get proper Fibre to the Premises.
    Tories seem to continually underestimate the importance of leadership believing that passing Acts of parliament is all that it takes. BT did have excellent leadership. Now we have poor leadership right across the board; this is why nothing works.

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 15, 2024

      ‘nationalised British Telecoms had planned to roll out Fibre to the Premises across the UK’.
      I am still laughing ….

      1. a-tracy
        January 16, 2024

        Me too, lol.
        It’s a bit like saying the Nationalised railway industry has planned to replace all its rolling stock, improve all railway lines and modernise like Japan.
        How are they going to pay for that, have they made sufficient profit to do this without subsidy?

  43. The Prangwizard
    January 15, 2024

    Dear readers, please understand these problems outlined are nothing to do with me. If my party in government – for the past many many years – had listened to me our country would not have been politically, morally and economically polluted and destroyed as it has.

    However, whatever my leaders do, no matter how much they fail us all I will be unequivocally loyal to them and the party and will try to persuade you all not to worry and one day all will be well.

    1. Mark B
      January 16, 2024

      That is exactly how I read it.

  44. Keith from Leeds
    January 15, 2024

    As the Post Office Horizon scandal demonstrates, the main purpose is to sweep problems away to not damage huge salaries, bonuses and pensions for those in charge. That applies to the Civil Service, Quangos and any Government body, for example, the NHS.
    Yet our Ministers seem incapable of even the most basic skills, like sacking people for poor performance, demanding value for money in everything and not accepting mediocrity. At 530,000, the Civil Service is out of control, but no Minister will grasp the nettle and make 430,000 redundant. They all seem to prefer to waffle on about what they are going to do but never actually do it! This is a rotten Government faced with an even more rotten opposition. Why are we, the voters, treated with such contempt?

  45. Ian B
    January 15, 2024

    Mr Sunak said: “I’m talking to all my colleagues. I know everyone is frustrated – I’m frustrated about the situation – and they want to see an end to the legal merry-go-round.”
    Mr Sunak you have created the merry-g-round you have refused the job and refused to manage.
    Simply make the UK Parliament, its representatives of the people the Legislators, the creators, able to amend and to repeal laws created by democratic mandate that affect how the UK is Governed.
    Or better still resign and let someone with an interest in Democracy and the UK take on the challenge

  46. Peter Humphreys
    January 15, 2024

    You mention nationalised industries tipping sewage on beaches but not privatised ones tipping sewage in rivers. You critise nat industries for cutting services but not privatised ones. A very selective and biased view of the world. You also fail to mention the privatised rail companies stripped of their franchises for poor.

    Best not to let reality spoil your agenda.
    Resident of Wokingham

  47. a-tracy
    January 15, 2024

    People want to blame a government minister, and perhaps its justified if they appoint the public sector boards and quangos, do they?

    Another question is why these Quangos appoint the same people to sit on several boards simultaneously. At lunch, I read about a chap who was Chairman of His Majesty Courts & Tribunals and Chairman at the Post Office. This story keeps getting layer upon layer of strange. Perhaps trying to do so many things (some of which conflicted) at the same time is why there are so many screw-ups in public services. “he would have previously overseen the decision by the Post Office to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on legal fees in an attempt to block appeals.” But now he can slink away into retirement – NO!

    When people say Oxbridge privilege and that one strata of society has the most access to crucial roles, this is what they mean. Things aren’t shared out. Just as you get sick of seeing the same person getting every role on a new tv show from the ‘arts class’, you get sick of hearing about the same person ruling over us here, there and everywhere. Someone supposed to protect our interests on some quango or another is doing nothing.

  48. ray
    January 15, 2024

    I still recall a pledge to have a bonfire of the Quangos, whatever happened to that?

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 15, 2024

      all the matches and tinder were found to be wet.

    2. glen cullen
      January 15, 2024

      Would that be the same bonfire on EU laws

  49. Derek
    January 15, 2024

    It would be of great interest to the electorate to learn of the costs of each these so-called ‘independent bodies’ QUANGOs, et al and how a prospective Government would cull them. To me they appear nothing more than a talking shop and good ‘jobs for the boys’ and the girls.
    As it now seems the Establishment wishes to hive off jobs to such bodies, it explains why they wish us to re-join the EU which specialises in such activity giving the Ministers more time to enjoy the rich benefits provided within the Brussels citadel.

  50. formula57
    January 15, 2024

    I applaud your first paragraph for it is just what I want to hear from the real leader of the opposition (and do not hear from the putative one). Too much in this country does not work, too many official bodies, not least central government itself, act as if they are not on the side of the people which of course most are not.

  51. iain gill
    January 15, 2024

    a lot of public bodies are little more than a thin veneer which subcontracts all of the bulk of the work. and the public sector goes through fashions of who work should be subbed to, sometimes the largest organisations are favoured as they have the biggest pockets to supposedly cover any risks, sometimes its the smallest as they are somehow supposed to be more innovative. rarely is the quality of the organisation looked at, its mostly which fashionable boxes can we tick. often the subby organisation ends up with lots of power as the public body lacks the skills to govern or review them properly. none of this works reliably, and consistently, and when it does work the execs have little clue why it is working. a lot of time we reinvent the wheel for no reason whatsoever, when we would do far better copying what the australians, kiwis, americans, belgians etc do in the equivalent area. the whole sector is massively conned by some of the big vendors, constantly hyping the latest buzz word with a new slide deck. people with substance and a track record are often ignored as salesy presentational BS merchants are listened to far too much. it all needs a rethink, but I dont think the ruling classes have a clue who to ask help them do a rethink. for sure the big consultancies are not going to come up with the right answer.

  52. iain gill
    January 16, 2024

    the @HuntandGatherTV twitter account is publishing some interesting videos about wrongdoing in the judiciary and civil service… this will all go mainstream at some point and people will realise how bad our public sector really is.

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