Who will rid us of these hopeless “independent” bodies?

Politicians of all parties have this century been in a hurry to shed responsibilities for anything difficult. There has been a rush to create more arms length bodies from government and to transfer more powers and money to the many quangos we already had. The politicians thought that this would remove them from responsibility for outcomes, and  would improve outcomes. Neither of these ideas came true.

The Bank of England is responsible for monetary policy and inflation. It has a prime aim of keeping inflation to 2%. It let it go to 11% by debauching the currency but most politicians declined to criticise or comment. The government got blamed for the inflation, and the government joined the Bank in  blaming  the Ukraine war.

NHS England with its high paid CEO and large Board and top management team is responsible for running the NHS, for recruiting, grading, rostering  and paying all the many staff. A series of strikes hit the NHS. The executives denied all responsibility for staff relations, pay and grading and said the dispute was a matter between Ministers and the Unions. It is difficult for Ministers to resolve the disputes when they cannot hire, promote, regrade, alter shift patterns or reward anyone in the NHS as all that is controlled by senior executives.Whatever goes wrong in the NHS the senior executives  always blame a lack of money, however much extra  the government provides. The government gives large sums to get the waiting lists down only to see them go up.

The arms length Post Office is regulated and monitored by UK Government Investments. They approved senior management, paid them large salaries and bonuses and just watched as they lost a stunning £1400 million as well as sending many innocent staff to prison for fraud and wrong accounting  they did not carry out. Ministers intervened to try to get criminal charges quashed and compensation paid, only to find the Post Office was still holding back in many cases.

The Rail Regulator, HS 2  and the nationalised Network Rail run by well paid senior executives have presided over a big loss of passenger numbers and revenue, and  have racked up huge losses for taxpayers .Parts of HS 2 have had to be cancelled owing to the absurdly large overruns on cost and timetable. Ministers are blamed for the results.

This could be a very long list. Many cases would reinforce the obvious points of these first three. High pay is a  reward for poor outcomes. No-one makes the senior managers responsible. Opposition parties have no interest in criticising the managers or holding them to account before they go so wrong, but delight in blaming the government when they do. Government is too cautious about intervening, fearing the Opposition would complain if they did. Both sides mouth the doctrine of independence, with the Opposition contradicting it often in the same interview by blaming Ministers for failures.  So overpaid managers get away with disaster after disaster and the taxpayer ends up with a huge bill.

Parliament and Ministers need to go back to accepting responsibility. They need to monitor, influence and if necessary change these top managers before disaster strikes. If someone wants private sector levels of CEO pay to run  the railways or the Post office they should expect private sector levels of surveillance and should expect no bonus or the sack if they make big errors. Ministers need to institute regular review meetings and proper reporting to them as shareholders or leading stakeholders in these bodies, so they see problems as they develop and require fixes before they get out of hand. Those few of us who warned of the likely inflation or sided with the sub post masters were ignored.

129 Comments

  1. Mark B
    March 24, 2024

    Good morning

    “Who will rid us of these hopeless “independent” bodies?”

    Not the political party that has been in office for the last 14 years and has been promising to do just that and not doing so.

    We do not trust those kind of political parties.

    1. Lemming
      March 24, 2024

      Short and sweet! Well said Mark

    2. Ian Wraggg
      March 24, 2024

      None of the liblabcon because as with EU membership they like to contract out their responsibilities. Nothing to do with me guv, EU, law, independent decision etc etc.
      The Reform Party is the only one giving us any hope of becoming a self governing democracy.
      You’ve had your chance ans blown it.

      1. JoolsB
        March 24, 2024

        Well said Mark B and Ian. Reform are our only hope now.

      2. Timaction
        March 24, 2024

        Agreed. No credibility on any policy or objective after 14 years.

        1. M.A.N.
          March 26, 2024

          None. Absolutely none. I can’t even think of one

      3. Hope
        March 24, 2024

        The largest quango, the EU!

        Treacherous May, like slimy Brown before her, slid off at night to do her dirty dealing with the EU. If we believe Baker and Davis she acted behind their back and therefore cabinet.

        If it was not for Farage, EU voting and local elections Treacherous May would still be in office with a minority fringe carping about the rotten deal!

        May could not beat Corbyn and used DUP to gain office only to backstab them! Sunak finished off her treacherous behaviour by his EU sell out where we were told by Tories no British PM would put a border down the Irish Sea or allow goods to be checked from one part of our country to another!

        Sunak, through Heaton-Harris, cut the pay of DUP MPs and used every trick to coerce bribe and threaten DUP to accept EU rule- the Tories have the effing cheek to talk about Russia and Ukraine, of no strategic use or purpose to our country whatsoever, but happy to sell our country out as a vassal state without a cross word! Did Sunak forget the threat to cut off electric, stop PPE coming here, stop gene therapy jabs coming here from hostile EU?

        Your party and govt. have betrayed the nation once too much. Stop blaming others. Get out.

    3. Ian B
      March 24, 2024

      @Mark B +1 – on the money as always thank you

    4. Peter
      March 24, 2024

      Strangely enough there is an interesting article in ‘Conservative Home’ – ‘What if the polls are right?’

      This contemplates a scenario where the Tory party is completely wiped out in the general election, a similar result to that which occurred on Canada in 1993.

      There is the usual response – a Blairite ‘parties can only win from the centre’ plus another trope ‘changing demographics mean a right wing party can never win again’

      The comments section is the standard Lib Dem material. The most laughable from a poster by the name of London Carer who sounds like the type ‘The Guardian’ would approach for a vox pop, or might pop up in a rather unlikely location on ‘Question Time’.

  2. Sakara Gold
    March 24, 2024

    Everybody involved in undertaking the private prosecution of the unfortunate Horizon postmasters should be prosecuted by the State for perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

    And that includes those Fujitsu executives who made huge bonuses out of this fiasco, the Post Office management and the Horizon executives who knew right from the start that their software was flawed. Particularly the “investigators” employed by the Post Office to persecute the postmasters, many to the point of suicide.

    The judges who heard the cases and who handed down lengthy prison sentences should be retired

    Nobody is asking the obvious question – who actually nicked the Horizon missing money? Forensic accountants should be engaged to track it down so that the true culprits can be held to account.

    Reply It is assumed the money was paid into the Post Office account. Do you know otherwise?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      Why is our court and legal system so poor that innocent people were advised to and felt they had to plead guilty?

      Why were judges finding people guilty beyond reasonable doubt in large numbers on zero credible evidence when merely the numbers being accused gave rise to reasonable doubts? The UK legal system is often dreadful. Hugely slow, arbitrary and expensive too.

      1. Dave Andrews
        March 24, 2024

        The judiciary needs to be hauled before HoC select committees and forced to explain why they failed to deliver justice and condemned the innocent. They should not be allowed to slope shoulders onto the Post Office.

        1. Lifelogic
          March 24, 2024

          +1

      2. Hope
        March 24, 2024

        If money was paid into post account from posts masters the theft of money still applies and should be repaid, those responsible for the theft prosecuted. The offence of False accounting was also committed.

      3. Christine
        March 24, 2024

        The justice system in this country is a joke. Only the very rich, poor and foreigners have access to seek justice. You have the likes of Harry who takes time up in the courts with his frivolous litigation. You have the failed asylum seekers who lodge appeal after appeal. You have the poor who get their costs paid by legal aid. Then we have the establishment which goes after anyone who voices an opinion they don’t like or is perceived to have damaged someone with their hurty words. An ordinary person can’t risk going to court on pain of losing their home and worldly possessions and even their freedom. Ask Katie Hopkins and Alex Belsfield about justice in this country.

      4. Berkshire Alan
        March 24, 2024

        Lifelogic

        Agree, sadly it is now justice if you can afford it.
        People plead guilty because the cost of defending it would bankrupt the family, so it is the simple option if you can live with that choice.
        Remember you are up against an organisation that appears to have limitless funds, so they can bleed you dry, and even if you win you would never get your true costs back, if anything at all.
        Plenty of legal aid for those with nothing, or the illegals though !
        The whole system needs revision.
        I note no one was convicted for the error of banking more money than recorded, why did the system only report shortfalls, and not overpayments as well, simple enough question which few seemed to ask or even thought about, sure sign a programme has an error if it is only ever one way !

        1. a-tracy
          March 24, 2024

          It’s a good question Alan, why were there only shortfalls, and where did the money go?

      5. Mike Wilson
        March 24, 2024

        In the USA, some massively high percentage of cases are settled using plea bargains. They accuse you of something and offer 100 years in jail if you have the nerve and temerity to go to court to protest your innocence – or a short sentence if you are scared enough to plead guilty. How they can call this justice baffles me.

        I have said this before – why is nobody up for perverting the course of justice regarding the Horizon scandal? Mr. Redwood – care to press the point in Parliament?

        1. graham1946
          March 25, 2024

          America does not have a justice system, it has a conviction system as you describe. That’s why they have such high conviction rates, unheard of in countries other than the likes of Russia and China.

      6. Lifelogic
        March 24, 2024

        Very high legal cost often used, in effect, to force people to admit liability. Why can some lawyers get away with charging £1000 an hour when (often far brighter and rather more useful) doctors are often paid less than £150 a day? One qualified consultant doctor I know converted to law and now does medical litigation mainly against the NHS and is now far better paid – what a waste.

        The duff legal and regulatory system (employment law, health and safety, the sick joke £400 million Covid Inquiry…) causes perverse and hugely damaging incentives. Often the more parasitic, pointless and unproductive your job the more you get paid.

      7. Lynn Atkinson
        March 24, 2024

        The British Justice System is just like the Ritz hotel – open to everybody.

        1. glen cullen
          March 24, 2024

          Including every illegal immigrant and over-stayer

        2. Mickey Taking
          March 24, 2024

          Brits have always been able to get ‘justice’, or even avoid justice but you have to have serious money to be able to fund it.

    2. Donna
      March 24, 2024

      You should never assume. It makes an ASS of U and ME.

      The British Justice System should never assume. There should be PROOF …. and there isn’t.

    3. Sakara Gold
      March 24, 2024

      @Sir John – reply
      I have no inside knowledge of who or how the missing money was nicked. But it occurs to me that if the money disappeared into a Post Office account it should have been easily traceable and the postmasters would not have been blamed

      Testimony was given by several witnesses during the inquiry that numerous software engineers both here in the UK and in Japan had access via the “back doors” built into the software. The system was completely insecure – a fact which was denied the defence during the trials. I suggest that, as is usual with all computer software, a digital trail would be left behind and forensic accountants should be able to trace where it went

      Reply I was talking about the money the postmasters were made to pay to the PO for alleged losses.

    4. Peter Wood
      March 24, 2024

      ‘It is assumed……’ Seriously, is that the extent of investigation! Hasn’t Plod of the Yard not been involved with ‘following the money’?

    5. forthurst
      March 24, 2024

      The money obviously finished up in the wrong account. Whether this was because sub-postmasters were not trained in the Horizon system properly or whether the system itself was accepted into production before it had been properly acceptance tested and was applying deposits incorrectly has not been established because it is obvious that neither the Post Office nor the government knows anything about the design and installation of computer systems or even in the case of the government whether one is actually needed or what it should actually do which is reasonably achievable.

    6. IanT
      March 24, 2024

      For a change SG, I can agree with most of what you say…

      As for the ‘lost’ money, I suspect it probably never existed. Computers can create numbers just as easily as they can delete them – it’s all just some binary digits floating around in a system somewhere (which never make mistakes of course) But Humans do and if some of those involved lied under oath, then they should be prosecuted for perjury. This seems pretty straightforward to me.

    7. Original Richard
      March 24, 2024

      What about the Post Office’s accountants and their auditors?

      Surely the books cannot have been balancing?

      1. IanT
        March 24, 2024

        If the only records available are electronic and they are corrupted, then possibly not Richard. This appears to be phantom receipts or some such…

  3. Lynn Atkinson
    March 24, 2024

    The political class are desperate to outsource the job but keep the prestige and salary. They will outsource the governing of Britain to ANYBODY.
    If they don’t govern, do we need them?

    1. BOF
      March 24, 2024

      Lynn, IMO there is evidence that government has been outsourced for many years, especially since Blair.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        March 24, 2024

        Since 1972.

  4. Lifelogic
    March 24, 2024

    Indeed endless waste and indeed corruption. Scrap the sick joke Committee for Climate Change first please.

    Amanda Prichard NHS CEO (modern history Oxon) showed herself to be hopelessly ignorant & out of touch within a few days of taking the job. She like the Heath Sec. seems to have no medical qualification yet gets paid circa 8 times what a junior doctor get. Nearly all junior doctors would do a better job I suspect. The NHS has committed to making all new emergency ambulances electric by 2030 and the entire fleet net zero by 2045. This alone is surely is proof the NHS is run by complete morons. EV ambulances will kill patients by running out of power and having to charge, cost far more and will not even save any CO2 (not that that is a problem anyway).

    I watched the Climate the Movie free online it is excellent. Read also the Death of Science book. The distortion of real science by Governments, the BBC, vested interests, big Pharma, crooks, university research grants, cancellations, professional bodies… is pure evil.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      In a rare example of honesty aired on the BBC, former Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, admits that the skyrocketing inflation and living costs experienced worldwide post-Covid, were a predictable result of money printing by central banks.

      Indeed all this under Chancellor Sunak who still thinks or lies that Covid Vaccines are unequivocally safe.

      He is now joined by Mel Stride (PPE again) Chair, Treasury Committee, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
      “Among the major drivers of the increase to which the hon. Gentleman (Bridgen) refers are mental health issues and musculoskeletal issues. I am not entirely sure that he is accurate when he says that the upward trajectory in the number occurred just as vaccination occurred—I think it predated that moment—and I certainly do not subscribe to the view that vaccination is in any way unsafe.

      Which is worse? Simply not looking or are they just lying, the stats clearly show it is one or the other. Bridgen is accurate Stride as you should know this or damn well find out.

      1. BOF
        March 24, 2024

        LL. +1

      2. Richard1
        March 24, 2024

        You should cite some evidence on this anti-vaxx stuff, from what I’ve seen it’s nonsense.

        1. David+L
          March 24, 2024

          The journal MedrXiv has just published The Extent and Impact of Vaccine Status Miscategorisation on Covid19 Vaccine Efficacy Studies (Fenton, Neil & Law). There is plenty of evidence casting doubt on the safety and effectiveness of the gene therapy but for some reason there is a reluctance by mainstream media to publish any. This is changing and you will find more evidence as time goes by. I was a believer in having the jab, but conversations with several non-NHS doctors, seeing the numbers of excess deaths and the rise in myocarditis cases have caused me much concern. Also, in Wokingham a young mother’s death from heart arrhythmia in January 2022 was ruled by the Coroner to be due to the mRNA “vaccine”

        2. Lifelogic
          March 24, 2024

          The stats. are very clear indeed and are worldwide. Dr John Campbell has many good videos that refer you to the many damning statistics, experts and various studies. The Covid vaccines were neither remotely safe nor remotely effective and they have done huge net harm,

      3. Christine
        March 24, 2024

        I’d put my money on Bridgen – the only decent MP who sticks his neck on the line to find out the truth for the people.

      4. Berkshire Alan
        March 24, 2024

        lifelogic
        Yes, shame Mervyn King left BOE when he did, the two since then have proved rather hopeless, especially the present one.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      So Chancellor Hunt claims £100,000 ‘is not a huge salary’ well it is three times what a Junior Doctor in London gets paid after 6 years of training and with perhaps £100k of student debt. But the government says they are not underpaid.

      But true, after Hunt’s absurdly high taxes, loss of child benefit and even personal allowance about £100k it is not a lot to live on. Also still not enough to afford to buy a small house or flat in many areas.

    3. Bloke
      March 24, 2024

      THIS GOVERNMENT is difficult.
      It won’t get rid of itself and is resistant to medication, causing our people’s health to suffer.
      We need to find an anti-anti-democratic antidote to wipe it out.
      Then our people, free of its scourge, can grow happier, restoring our condition to the fit and healthier nation we previously were.
      What will be this government’s epitaph?

    4. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      Hunt is right, a £100k is ‘not a huge salary’ and certainly not after the Hunt’s vast tax levels and fiscal drag. But it is however three times the national average wage and more than three times what some junior doctors are paid (and they often have circa £7k pa of student debt interest to cover too).

      But just how stupid must Hunt be, in his position as a tax to death Chancellor, to actually say this in public?

  5. DOM
    March 24, 2024

    Good morning Mr Redwood

    Blair
    Brown
    Cameron
    May

    The four loathsome horsemen of the democratic apocalypse.

    I see no value in describing the issue without apportioning blame.

    1. Ian B
      March 24, 2024

      @DOM +1 – agreed. It is in the gift of those in Government to correct the anomaly, as we all know it is them and them alone that are responsible – they control the purse our money. We need a Government that will do what we empower and pay them to do, the Conservative Government is not that body.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      You missed of Heath, Wilson and John ERM fiasco Major who made us suffer the appalling Blair Brown disaster for 15? years before the Cameron + disasters.

      1. Mickey Taking
        March 25, 2024

        Why does it take about 14-15 years for our very dim (as in the boiling frog) electorate to realise the mess they/we are in?

  6. Javelin
    March 24, 2024

    I think having Public Relations and Technocrat PMs and Chancellors are responsible for proposing and signing the budgets off. The PR PMs have few ideas and technocrats are only interested in saving money.

    Civil Services Thrives. Democracy Dies.

    Major – technocrat
    Blair – PR
    Brown – technocrat
    Cameron – PR
    Boris – PR
    May – technocrat
    Rishi – technocrat

    1. Javelin
      March 24, 2024

      On the Plus side. I think you may be able to persuade MPs of all colours to have a revolution about this.

      A rousing speech to all MPs that all they do is act as constituency MPs and not law makers any more should pick up a lot of support.

      Don’t mention any policies just tell them democracy has died.

      I would think as you may be in parliament for one more term before you retire you should make it you mission to create a cross party group to get rid of quangos and super national bodies.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2024

      I might replace the above “technocrat” and “PR” with “deluded fool” or “bent car sales” person. They all alas had severely broken compasses.

      Why on earth did Thatcher appoint a man – who failed his maths (and nearly all his other O levels) Chancellor and then, against sensible advice, allow him force her into the disaster of the ERM as a precursor to Euro entry. Surely even within Tory MPs there were far better people like JR for example for the job.

    3. forthurst
      March 24, 2024

      Major’s and May’s sole expertise was in climbing the Tory greasy pole which explains why both were disastrous PMs.

    4. glen cullen
      March 24, 2024

      ….and they got rid of Liz, the only leader that wanted growth and a new way

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        March 24, 2024

        Yes, she wanted us to be wiped out militarily. A whole new way!

    5. Mike Wilson
      March 24, 2024

      You’ve got the ‘crat’ bit right. You’re missing the ‘auto’ before it.

    6. Mickey Taking
      March 24, 2024

      Javelin – I suspect you were lost for words? No mention of bullshitter nor 5th Columnist? in that list.

  7. agricola
    March 24, 2024

    The answer to todays title is nobody, certainly not those whose backsides currently polish the benches in the Commons.

    Looked at objectively the achievments of politicians since WW2, with the exception of what Margaret Thatcher accomplished, have been utterly abysmal , specifically for the people who elected them.

    Compare the UK with Singapore, both island states. The UK has ponced around the World pretending it still had the great empire which had long gone. It enjoyed great assets of energy which it managed to squander while at the same time impoverishing its people with its cost. It has systematically destroyed much of its industry rather than develope it to modern standards of operation. It now proposes to tax us for what we are forced to import. It has resorted to coupe de tate to maintain a government to please vested interests. It keeps the UK attached to the umbelical of the EU for emasculating industrial and environmental law plus of course power supply. One could go on at length, not forgetting the punative, negative effect on growth, taxation on everthing and everyone. However you all know the details.

    The collective effect is a country with no acceptable infrastructure, currently residing in deaths waiting room witb a population that has fallen to 21st place in the personal wealth GDP world table. All because we have lacked leadership with vision, at least since the 1980s.

    Then look at Singapore whose only asset beyond its people is its position. Realised by Stanford Raffles and developed as a trading centre. Later destroyed by the japanese thanks to UK penny pinching and lack of military strategy. It could not even point its guns in the right direction. The eventual destruction of the bestial japanese of that time gave rise to one Lee Kwan Yu a strong charismatic politician who applied sense and order to the broken nation of malays, chinese and indians. A nation still exploiting its strategic position for trade.
    , has expanded, grown, and developed to the posution it now holds. It has creaated an immaculate infrastructure that serves its population supremely well. A nation that in terms of personal GDP holds fifth place in world tables, with a $ sum of almost twice that of the UK. That is the difference between good and useless political leadership.

    There would be no need for our host SJR to go litter picking in Singapore, except perhaps for discarded peanut shells on the floor of the Raffles Long Bar after a session of gin slings. Give it serious thought when you vote.

    1. Donna
      March 24, 2024

      +1

    2. Dave Andrews
      March 24, 2024

      Well said, but you really have to question the electorate for not promoting competent people as parliamentary candidates. They have failed to advance anyone who will govern well, and then not elect them to office. All we have are career politicians with a political degree.

      1. agricola
        March 24, 2024

        Dave,
        The electorate have little say in who from the various parties stands in a GE. They are products of the party machines. It is just one item in evolving democracy that needs addressing. Yet another is that major policies get sanctioned by government that have not received electoral sanction. Nett Zero and its implications and costs should have been subject to referendum. An advanced form of democracy that scares hell out of government and its blob. If democracy is to survive it must be allowed to evolve. After all, we joe citizen are expected to pay the bill.

      2. Mickey Taking
        March 24, 2024

        The problem lies with Central Office, or if you prefer smoke-filled rooms with beer and sandwiches.
        The calibre and contribution of MPs brought to bear in the H of C, and then many moved on to the H of L, often to get them out of the way, is at an all time low.
        The end result is the electorate have become apathetic, seeing no way to get the aforementioned fools out of the system. A shrug of the shoulders is what you get mentioning politics, or possibly downright unbridled anger from those who wish to engage.

    3. Narrow Shoulders
      March 24, 2024

      And the difference?

      Law and order, benefits and taxation.

    4. acorn
      March 24, 2024

      Singapore. It’s a democracy Jim but not as we know it. It’s been a one party state since 1965 independence. There were no opposition MPs in its unicameral parliament for the first two decades; there are still only 10 out of 93 now. A quarter of its population are foreign “invited workers”.

      1. Donna
        March 25, 2024

        The Westminster Uni-Party, FPTP electoral system and the Blob effectively ensure that there is no Opposition in our “democracy” either.

    5. Ian B
      March 24, 2024

      @agricola – we are electing MP’s that are not fit for purpose. When parliament selects the Government it also is responsible for scrutinizing their actions, the way the spend and what they do with our Taxpayer money.
      In return we the People permit a raid on our wallets to fund things deemed necessary – we go to jail if we fail to deliver(our money). What happens to the MPs we empower and pay, fail, not a peep, not a challenge because the way the circus works is when they fail they get to work for an ‘independent’ body or Lord it Up in the other House(HoL) – still all at the Taxpayer expense

    6. Original Richard
      March 24, 2024

      agricola : “The answer to todays title is nobody, certainly not those whose backsides currently polish the benches in the Commons.”

      Correct, because a majority of those who currently reside in the Commons are perfectly happy to see our country’s population changed through mass immigration (legal and illegal) and to implement Net Zero to de-industrialise and make us poorer and to destroy our energy and military security.

      150 Conservative MPs and peers are signed up to the environmental activist group called Conservative Environment Network whose aim is to drive “environmental action in Westminster”.

  8. Nick Guitard
    March 24, 2024

    Well said Sir John. If power without responsibility is “the prerogative of the harlot down the ages”, what should we call politicians who deliberately award themselves the opposite?

  9. Ray Warman
    March 24, 2024

    Exactly Sir John, Parliament appointed them so Parliament must restore power to ‘Elected’ representatives. Therein lies the problem and the reason most of your party’s seats will be lost at the next GE.

  10. Bill B.
    March 24, 2024

    Who appointed the chief executives of these useless ‘independent’ bodies? The politicians, probably ‘advised’ by the civil serpents.

  11. Donna
    March 24, 2024

    In answer to the headline ….. none of the branches of the Westminster Uni-Party will.

    The Not-a-Conservative-Party “promised” a bonfire of the Quangos in 2009 and never carried it out. Instead, they created more of them ….. and more destructive (ie the OBR, MHRA and Ofcom).

    They also created the utterly pointless and unwanted Police and Crime Commissioners and they are now busily imposing regional Mayors in areas of England which have never voted for them. In the only Referendum held (Northumberland) the proposal was rejected with a massive majority. But now, in contravention of the Referendum, a Northumbrian Mayor is being imposed by the Not-a-Conservative-Junta.

    “North East moves one step closer to historic Mayor
    07 Feb 2024
    The North East of England will soon enjoy the economic benefits of a £1.4bn investment fund as legislation is laid in Parliament to implement a new devolution deal.”

    We are being subjected to continual expansion of the political/governing class. And at the same time our so-called democracy is being dismantled before our eyes.

    The Not-a-Conservative-Party, having failed to LEAVE the EU, is imposing the EU’s policy of regionalisation on England.

  12. Ralph Corderoy
    March 24, 2024

    One aspect not addressed is what correlates with the increased offloading of control. Is it that younger politicians have ‘impostor syndrome’ and doubt their ability to rule? Or that they are of poorer calibre as a group than their predecessors? It seems too many of them lack a background which readies them for department leadership with a budget of millions and billions that isn’t their own to lose.

  13. James+Morley
    March 24, 2024

    I Agree.

    1. Timaction
      March 24, 2024

      So do I. A lot of the politicians do not have the skills, intelligence, leadership, management skills, qualifications, wit, common sense, experience or ability to run large departments and budgets. Their civil serpents run rings around them, which is why our health, emergency services, Councils, Home Office, Treasury, Quangos etc etc are woke and focused not on essential delivery but DIE, ESG, nut zero, pro mass immigration, anti English white men, non Equality laws and discrimination against the talented on merit.

  14. Roy Grainger
    March 24, 2024

    On the other hand there is absolutely no evidence at all that if you put those organisations directly under the control of ministers and the civil service that they would do any better. Look at the areas that ARE run that way – the Home Office, defence procurement, etc etc.

  15. MFD
    March 24, 2024

    And! Despite all the sloppy shoulders – “ not me , Gov” they award themselves a massive pay rise! Oh! I forgot! They have another quango, so they can slope that responsibility away as well.

  16. Peter
    March 24, 2024

    ‘ The politicians thought that this would remove them from responsibility for outcomes, and would improve outcomes.’

    Passing the buck is always useful. Ed Davey was a recent example.

    Patronage is another benefit. Places other than the House of Lords to reward cronies. If they fail, move them to another position. Hence the merry-go-round in NHS trusts and local authority big wigs.

    Once you have stuffed bodies with like-minded accomplices you can bypass parliament and speed implementation of your plans. Tony Blair favoured this approach.

    Nobody will rid us of this. Most of those calling the shots are in on the game.

    1. Peter
      March 24, 2024

      You can also throw a spanner in the works if there are plans you oppose. Allowing the legal profession to overturn the wishes of parliament means you can prevent removal of illegal aliens and scupper Brexit implementation plans for example.

  17. The Prangwizard
    March 24, 2024

    All sounds good and is correct. However it’s the club of people you live in and accept as the best that are the cause of the problem.

    Strong action for fundamental change is rejected. See how effective it is when the Left, the Ecos and the foreign religious do it. They are changing our society. Our weak leaders appease them.

    Seeking change from those present in charge will fail. A revolutionary approach is needed to take us back to common sense and decency.

    Do what the others are doing. Reject being charged as ‘far right’. The Left are good at their job in doing such things and must be exposed.

  18. Norman
    March 24, 2024

    Thank you for this frightful analysis, Sir John. I recognize the truth of it from my own professional experience in the public sector.
    The unbelievable level of failure is illustrated by the Post Office scandal. Certain recent high profile court cases cause me to wonder if the problem of miscarriage of justice is actually more widespread. Emotive sentiment, corporate scapegoating and legal sophistry are problems a healthy legal system is meant to break through. ‘We obtained a conviction’, ‘even though the evidence was largely circumstantial’ – ‘Job done – someone is paying – law and order upheld’! How many innocents are now in jail indefinitely? Some will say it was always so, but sadly, I suspect it’s even more so now. “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” Isaiah 59:14

  19. Richard1
    March 24, 2024

    Very clever of the Blair-brown govt to big up all these quangos to the extent they did. A trend not reversed and to some extent continued by the Conservatives. and then stuff them with leftist-statist-woke types who much prefer bureaucracy to the rigours of the private sector. The blob was further massively empowered by the fiasco of Liz Truss’s PM-ship. The next election will see pretty much a merger of the government and the blob.

    So I’m afraid the answer to the question posed here is no-one will rid us of these pernicious, wasteful and in some cases downright subversive bodies any time this decade.

  20. Keith from Leeds
    March 24, 2024

    If we employ people smaller than ourselves, we will become a country of pygmies,
    If we employ people bigger than ourselves, we will become a country of giants!

    Insecure people in top jobs only employ people in senior positions who they feel won’t challenge them. So a culture of mediocrity spreads throughout the organisation, whether government, Quangos, NHS, PLCs, or private companies. That is what has happened to our Government in the last 25 years, a downward slope with lower-caliber people.

    1. glen cullen
      March 24, 2024

      Wise words indeed

  21. Ian B
    March 24, 2024

    Sir John
    You have to start with basics, if an entities existence requires taxpayer money it is not independent, it is simply Government controlled. Those that pay the piper call the tune.
    The Chancellor as custodian of ‘our’ money can’t go around awarding to anyone he wishes then not be 100% be responsible for the outcomes.
    Government and Parliament is there to serve not to award good chums with high paid jobs.

  22. Robert Pay
    March 24, 2024

    This is a good question. I have lost count of the number of times we have been promised a bonfire of the QANGOs or a war on waste. These things never happen.

    Many of us concluded that Britain is now a technocracy with the civil service able to dispose of ministers and prime ministers that it dislikes or who are failing to follow globalist policies (open borders, net zero, the war on farming, gender theory in schools, hate speech that will be used to clamp down on dissenters to the previous list.)
    All this while the media routinely paints the party as ‘far-right’.

    Voting does not seem to have changed a single policy from the Blair days. Not surprisingly, many won’t bother this time around.

  23. Nigl
    March 24, 2024

    Reform party’s manifesto. You should join them. I know I will be,

  24. glen cullen
    March 24, 2024

    Back in 2012 they did have a ‘bomb fire on quangos’ getting rid of about 75 non department public bodies (NDPB) but they didn’t really, they just merged them with others …note the removal of ‘alternative fuels agency’ …even back then they were planning ‘electric’ behind everyone’s back
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a759fbae5274a4368298b33/List-of-abolitions.pdf

  25. majorfrustration
    March 24, 2024

    Why not have a bonfire of the Quangos?

    1. Robert Pay
      March 25, 2024

      Yes, the endless echo down the decades…

  26. Original Richard
    March 24, 2024

    The reason for “arms length bodies” goes far deeper than “to shed responsibilities for anything difficult.”

    It is to enable politicians to enact policies they dare not admit to the electorate they wish to pursue.

    This is evidenced by the Government (aka the taxpayer) paying activist groups to take the Government to court.

    So we have the taxpayer funded ClientEarth taking the Government to court (and winning of course) for not complying with the CCC’s budgets while the PM declares he is “on the motorists side” and that Net Zero henceforth will take a “more pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic approach that eases the burdens on families…”

    Both the Cabinet Office and Home Office use tax-payer money to fund those the organisations taking the Government to court over their Rwanda plans and issue 1.2m immigrant visas in one single year whilst the politicians pretend to be protecting our borders and reducing immigrations to the “tens of thousands”.

    The Treasury and the OBR are Government (aka taxpayer) funded to produce the forecasts the Chancellor needs to pursue his real financial policies (higher taxes for instance) whilst pretending to the electorate he wants to see lower taxes.

    Etc.

    1. Donna
      March 25, 2024

      Correct. “We know what we have to do; we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.”

      Solution: outsource it to a -so-called Independent Body; fund activist organisations with taxpayer money to propagandise and “influence” the so-called Independent Body and then, when the electorate complains, claim “we didn’t do it ….. they did.” The most infuriating examples at the moment are the Government funding the pro-Criminal-Migrant activist organisations and paying £squillions in legal aid to HR lawyers to oppose their deportation whilst pretending they want to stop the invasion.

      1. Original Richard
        March 25, 2024

        Donna :

        Thanks for the additional example of illegal immigration.

  27. Richard1
    March 24, 2024

    Are there really Conservative MPs supporting the ridiculous ‘WASPI women’ campaign to maintain unequal pensions between men and women – a change for which people affected got a minimum of 15 years notice? Who are they? They really should not be reselected (or given peerages etc when they get kicked out).

  28. Christine
    March 24, 2024

    This is what happens when you give away power to unelected bodies. Are you surprised? Our country is now run by tin-pot dictators and instead of learning from these mistakes your party doubles down by giving away our sovereignty to the corrupt and unelected WHO and fails to leave the ECHR. Don’t come to us with your hand wringing. This is all down to politicians. Introduce a bill to stop this happening and return power to the people. P.S. also put a stop to the orchestrated attack on our freedom of speech by the highly biased OFCOM.

  29. Bryan Harris
    March 24, 2024

    Agreed – Parliament and Ministers need to go back to accepting responsibility for the management of UK incorporated by having direct control – no more getting away from doing what they should be doing!

    Dissolve quangos, one at a time, and see how much less money we have wasted on high salaries.

    Who will do this for us?

    We can expect little from the current parliamentary elite.

  30. MPC
    March 24, 2024

    No need to worry. There’s about to be a beacon of best quango practice established which will shame all the others into instant improvement – the new football regulator.

  31. Ed M
    March 24, 2024

    Most Conservatives ignored Churchill’s warning of Nazi Germany during the 1930’s. And some Tories hated him for it.

    There are similarities between Hitler and Putin. One being that Putin will carry on pushing into Europe as long as he is not stopped.

    At moment, Ukrainian defence budget (including with Western aid) is a 1/3 of Russia’s per month. Data show that in long war you need at least same defence budget as your enemy to beat them.

    Therefore the British Tory Party has a moral and an economic duty to do more to help Ukraine (because you can be sure, the costs of Putin heading west into Europe would be HUGE / CRIPPLING on our economy – and for decades to come).

    PS. We also need to focus more on building up our defence system against hypersonic missiles and drones – otherwise we fall prey to Putin and other potential enemies including radical Islamists etc

    1. mickc
      March 24, 2024

      Putin has no capability to push further into Europe even if he wanted, which is doubtful. NATO reneged on its pledge not to advance Eastwards despite Putin saying it was a red line. The line was crossed with Ukraine, Russia responded as many in the West forecast eg. Mearsheimer, Kennan, Kissinger…
      Britain has no obligation whatsoever to help a country whose leaders were foolish enough, or paid, to promote US Neocon expansionism.
      If you want to help Ukraine I am happy to buy you boots, rifle and ticket there; just don’t seek to send others, or their money.

      1. Ed M
        March 25, 2024

        I’m not as passionate in my argument as you. I might be wrong. But I might be right. But certainly need to think / debate about just in case (most Tories were passionately opposed to Churchill during the 1930’s and happy to appease Hitler / stick their head under the bed covers hoping the bad dream of Nazi Germany might disappear on its own).

      2. Ed M
        March 25, 2024

        Also I was right about the Iraq and Afghan wars – daft wars which most MPs in Commons voted for even though it was EASY to see at time it was a DAFT war which would cost lives of many of our soldiers, costing out country billions, and making world more unsafe.

        (How was it possible to EASILY see it was a daft war 1. Blix hadn’t been given full opportunity to check for WMD. 2. Winning a war is one thing, occupying the land is another 3. Afghan is a metaphorical and literal minefield. 4. Blair just wasn’t trustworthy. You could see power had gone to his head).

        I was 95% sure about Iraq / Afghan and was right in end. But only about 65% sure Putin is a real danger to us in the UK. But enough for us to consider / take seriously / debate. And we certainly need to improve our anti hypersonic and drone tech.

    2. Hope
      March 24, 2024

      Utter scare mongering tripe. Grow up.

      1. Ed M
        March 25, 2024

        ‘Utter scare mongering tripe. Grow up’ – sort of thing a lot of Tories said to Churchill back in the 1930s about Nazi Germany.

        I may well be very wrong. But you still have to take seriously threats such as Putin. The guy is a deranged psychopath – with lots of money, manpower and dangerous armaments.

        1. Hat man
          March 25, 2024

          You are stuck in the 1930s, Ed. Even Russia’s enemies are mostly living in today’s world, where they know it takes huge provocation to get Russia to undertake military action. They could see what happened when Russia defeated Georgia’s attack on Sth Ossetia/Abkhazia in 2008. Putin did not follow that up by advancing into Georgia and conquering it. His intentions wrt Ukraine were made clear in March 2022, when Russia signed a peace agreement with Kiev. Even after eight years of Kiev’s war on ethnic Russians in the Donbas, he wanted no annexation of Ukrainian territory, just for Zelensky to honour the Minsk accords agreed by Ukraine in 2015, which gave limited autonomy to the Donbas region. But NATO, via Boris Johnson, scuppered the 2022 peace agreement that the Ukrainians themselves signed off on. Sorry if you can’t see it, but after their failure in Afghanistan in the ’80s, Russians don’t want to have the burden of conquering and occupying Ukraine. Putin wants it to be a neutral zone that doesn’t threaten Russia’s security or harbour terrorists, as it is doing now. Whether his strategy will work, I’m not sure, but it has nothing to do with the plans for Lebensraum of the little man with a moustache in the 1930s.

  32. mickc
    March 24, 2024

    They may be independent ie totally unaccountable but they are not unbiased. All of them have an agenda which is usually pro corporatism, and anti individualism.

  33. Berkshire Alan
    March 24, 2024

    Agree does not seem to be any point in the quango’s as Ministers still get the blame, much more sensible to put Ministers fully in charge, and with no one to blame but themselves.
    I see it is now reported that Hertz got rid of their CEO after he had to sell off 20,000 electric cars bought in error because he believed the Governments Net Zero Policy.
    His problem was his customers had more sense, and hired a car that could go where they wanted without any enforced stops.
    What a contrast:
    In the commercial market if you fail you leave, in politics you simply get moved on and create chaos elsewhere

  34. Sharon
    March 24, 2024

    Off topic – sorry! I’ve just finished watching the documentary entitled, “Climate, the movie.” It is excellent! It covers, the science, the politics, the academic funding, society, the cult nature if you don’t agree with the narrative, and our freedoms. May I respectfully suggest that if you have the time to please watch it.

    We started to watch it on you tube on the tv, but couldn’t get past the first minute, so we watched it on Vimeo on the laptop. It’s also on rumble. The fact that You Tube are shadow banning it, suggests it’s hit a nerve!

  35. Geoffrey Berg
    March 24, 2024

    The diagnosis in today’s blog is correct but the proposed solution wouldn’t improve things. M.Ps and Ministers are mostly useless – just look at the decades they have taken to decide nothing about their own decaying building, the Houses of Parliament!
    For quick suggestions on your four problem areas, while the NHS can be publicly funded (though with less funding), it should be broken up and privately run; rail is now a secondary, inessential transport system that should be fully privatised without public subsidy even if that means some lines close as uneconomic; the Post Office needs to be downsized even if that means reducing mail delivery to twice a week instead of daily and on that lesser scale split into regions, privatised by franchises and maybe slightly subsidised. Regarding the Bank of England, I agree it should be more directly run by government but I am not convinced that it rather than the market should be setting interest rates.

  36. Geoffrey Berg
    March 24, 2024

    I think the diagnosis in today’s blog is correct but the proposed solution wouldn’t improve things. M.Ps and Ministers are mostly useless – just look at the decades they have taken to decide nothing about their own decaying building, the Houses of Parliament!
    For quick suggestions on your four problem areas, while the NHS can be publicly funded (though with less funding), it should be broken up and privately run; rail is now a secondary, inessential transport system that should be fully privatised without public subsidy even if that means some lines close as uneconomic; the Post Office needs to be downsized even if that means reducing mail delivery to twice a week instead of daily and on that lesser scale split into regions, privatised by franchises and maybe slightly subsidised. Regarding the Bank of England, I agree it should be more directly run by government but I am not convinced that it rather than the market should be setting interest rates.

    Reply The Post Office does not deliver mail. That is the privatised Royal Mail.

    1. Geoffrey Berg
      March 24, 2024

      Thank you for the correction, Sir John. One lives and learns – can’t say I had ever noticed Royal Mail was privatised, or part privatised as stamp prices are controlled publicly.
      However that makes the Post Office situation even worse – paying out about £120,000 for each branch (I wouldn’t have any arrears of rent or failing businesses to cope with had all the shops I am landlord of each got a £120,000 subsidy.). Post Office shops mostly have just 2 or 3 staff at a location running a franchised personal commercial business (of the kind most other franchisees pay a franchisor to run, not vice versa). While I could see some public interest in preserving some mail service even in difficult times (due to the internet), apart from a tiny bit of banking in towns without banks, I cannot see any public interest in running Post Office shops publicly rather than privatising the lot and saving fortunes.

  37. Bert+Young
    March 24, 2024

    Taking control and managing depends on skill and experience – features that are sadly lacking in the background of MPs so if there was to be a grip on the public bodies Sir John refers to the method of selecting MP candidates would have to change . As things stand there are few in the House of Commons on both sides of the benches who meet this standard so the mayhem that exists is the direct result . There are also far too many MPs , debates are too long and briefings depend largely on the Civil Service – a body that has carved its own way for a considerable period of time . It is time for a complete overhaul of governance .

  38. Derek
    March 24, 2024

    Sounds like it’s time for a new Ministry. The Ministry for dismantling Quangos. With SJ as it’s First Secretary of State. PM, do it now! No more procrastination, as is currently the way in the civil service world. Don’t do today that which can be put off to next year or the year after, etc.

  39. Bob Dixon
    March 24, 2024

    How can you be a minister of health and have no responsibilities?

    1. glen cullen
      March 24, 2024

      The first rule of management is that you can delegate tasks …but not the responsibility of those tasks

    2. Mickey Taking
      March 24, 2024

      …in sickness and in health?

  40. Bryan Harris
    March 24, 2024

    …and another one rolls off the production line – another unnecessary quango , destined to kill everything good about football.

  41. Peter Gardner
    March 24, 2024

    “Politicians of all parties have this century been in a hurry to shed responsibilities for anything difficult. ”

    Well of course. That was the beauty of EU membership, greatly missed in Westminster and Whitehall. Alternatives must be found. Yes, minister.

  42. forthurst
    March 24, 2024

    The government should take responsibility for the whole of the UK not just England and when it relates to harmful drugs with permanent effects such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones being prescribed by the NHS to children, it is preposterous to believe the government is right to ban this in England but that the SNP is right in Scotland about allowing this. If it wrong for the NHS in England to do this why should it be lawful for for profit private clinics to prescribe these drugs?

  43. Sir Joe Soap
    March 24, 2024

    The answer to your question is Reform

  44. Stred
    March 24, 2024

    Although the automonous companies quangos are incompetent and wasteful, there is no evidence that politicians or civil servants could do any better. Even the House of Commons Library, which was trusted to produce impartial truthful advice has become politicised and gives untruthful information, as with the supposedly cheap renewables recently produced.

    1. dixie
      March 25, 2024

      This is the key point – getting rid of a quango or “independent agency” means work would transfer to an enlarged civil service. Ingnoring the apparent incompetence of politicians to control either properly at least independent agencies would permit competition as a whip for efficiency and effectiveness.

  45. ChrisS
    March 24, 2024

    Quite the opposite strategy is called for.
    These bodies need to be fully independent. Given their budget and ordered to fulfil key performance indicators within it. If the targets are not met, the boss gets fired, just like in business.

    Bailey would have been gone two years ago as would the boss of the NHS, Network Rail and HS2.

    1. dixie
      March 25, 2024

      If a body is truly independent the customer (government) can’t fire the boss, but could fire the company provided others exist to provide the service.

  46. Lester_Cynic
    March 24, 2024

    May I recommend “Climate Change, the movie” which reveals the truth behind the story

  47. Lynn Atkinson
    March 24, 2024

    The real problem is that nobody at all does any work. Not the Govt. Not the Quangos.
    We need to know if all these people who have developed cancer that the medics are calling an ‘epidemic’, have had the Covid jabs? If so how many, what sort?

  48. glen cullen
    March 24, 2024

    Just getting rid of the office of budget responsibility (OBR) and the climate change committee (CCC) would show clear intent before the election …but its needs to be done today

  49. a-tracy
    March 24, 2024

    The Care Quality Commission is a quango to check on hospitals, doctors, dentists, and care services isn’t it?
    Have they discovered which hospitals and GP surgeries are successful because not all are dire?
    The top ten services failing, do they concentrate on why? Is it number of clients, co-morbidities, lack of staffing?
    We pay these people to report to us, where are the league tables?
    Those with the biggest waiting lists, what do Ministers do when they discover the top 10 worst hospitals for waiting lists?

    When you have a failing unit that is not productive you investigate that first. You compare to the best to see what is different that could be corrected immediately.

  50. ChrisS
    March 24, 2024

    I see that Aviva trains have “negotiated” a new pay deal with Inter-city drivers.

    They already get £68,000 for a four-day week but will now get a flat £600 if they work their “Rest Day” which for everyone else is, of course, the fifth day of the working week !

    Oh, and it is us that will be paying for this act of largess because Intercity lines lose money and we have to subsidise them ! With pay deals like this, it’s hardly surprising, is it ?

    1. a-tracy
      March 25, 2024

      This is what will happen with all those public sector 4 day for 5 day payers, they will demand quadruple time to work the fifth day they used to that are required to keep competitive pricing.

      How does their week compare to European drivers and what hours, days and terms do they have, how do they make it work?

  51. Linda Brown
    March 25, 2024

    I thought Cameron was going to get rid of the Quangos? Not so and we have more now than ever. This goes back to EU rulings where the people are now not able to make decisions by themselves as the education system does not teach responsibility, morals or ethics. Give us Brexit as we asked and take responsibility for running business and social services which means the sack if you don’t deliver and not being banded round for another cushy job which becomes available and no one notices the failure getting another top job.

  52. Reform_Now
    March 27, 2024

    Who will rid us…?

    Well, that’s your party’s job, when it formed a government – one with a clear majority.

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