Rooting out corruption must start with the Civil Service, not within Churches.

The Prime Minister’s plea for a return to some of the values of the King James bible probably struck a chord in the country, even among non-church-goers, such as myself.  Yet the deeply felt malaise of the country, visible in so many areas of national life and the mainstay of comments on this web-site, cannot really be laid at the doorstep of churchmen. The real corruption comes from the top. It oozes from the system put in place for the benefit of, and administered by, our own permanent civil service, itself corrupted by overlong and overly close association with continental methods of public administration, dating back from our entry into the Common Market, nowadays best known by the increasingly loathed initials EU!

Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote in The Spectator Magazine, on 15th October 2011, as follows:

“…amid all the aerating about standards in public life and ministerial codes, no one seems to worry  who now exercises power in these situations. The answer is civil servants, and people should be worried by this.  It was the permanent secretary of the MoD who was asked to look into Dr Fox’s case, and the Cabinet Secretary who took charge. Why is this considered appropriate? Civil Servants are, as their name suggests, supposed to serve ministers, not discipline them. If they investigate minister’s conduct, it is only natural they will tend to apply to them the standards which they would use for their own kind. They always detest the idea that ministers should be advised by any but themselves, so they will use petty scandals like this one to circumscribe them still further. Yet ministers are different, being directly answerable to the public who elected them to office. They have even heavier moral duties than civil servants, but they should also be freer, and should be able to insert various irregulars into the system……Prigs like Sir Alistair Graham say how disgraceful it is that the last word in handling this (Dr Fox) still rests with the Prime Minister. Actually Mr Cameron has farmed out too much of his responsibility.”

Four days in advance of the publication date for the above article, Douglas Carswell MP wrote a plea for more parliamentary control of the civil service, which is quoted in full on my blog, as the first posting of the day on 20th December 2011, linked here.

This is a topic to which much attention now needs to be given before we establish revised governance procedures and revitalized democratic practises for Britain in the looming post-EU era.

4 comments for “Rooting out corruption must start with the Civil Service, not within Churches.

  1. Daedalus
    December 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I remember reading Carswells comments at the time and thinking he was very right. The trouble is it is not just the civil service, its everyone who is supposed to be serving us. They just seem to find more and more ways to make the rest of us conform or pay more!!


    • December 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Spot on! I’ve got a post coming up on that, funnily enough…

  2. December 21, 2011 at 8:15 am

    It’s not just corruption that’s the problem. The Civil Service has a tendency toward doing it’s own thing and just using the elected officials as mouthpieces, and I’m not just saying that because I used to watch Yes, Minister. Last year I heard an anecdotal account of a conversation with someone in the Victorian Public Service (they call it Public Service here both at federal and state level) a while after the state election in which Labor lost and the Liberal/National coalition took over. The account of the conversation was that the public servant guy was asked what it was like with the change of government and whether they were making big changes, and the response was that it didn’t matter much to the Public Service who’s in government because “we’re going to tell them exactly the same thing anyway, whoever it is.” Obviously I’ve no idea how true this is but consider the number of things the government opposed when in opposition that it’s now decided to carry on with after all it doesn’t seem all that implausible. And if it happens here it probably happens in the UK too.

    • December 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

      They seem clearly outside proper control, unhappily with you as well, it would seem.

      The killer sentence for me in the section I quoted above was this “If they investigate minister’s conduct, it is only natural they will tend to apply to them the standards which they would use for their own kind.”

      The standards I presume he referred to being what ordinary members of the public would describe as “none what ever”, or more charitably perhaps,”the fewer the better” so that whatever an appointees transgressions that may be known, they can be subsequently used to keep him/her in line. I can think of no other reason than that,for appointing “Sir John” Chilcot to lead the Iraq inquiry, given the non-disclosure of his profiteering from the obnoxious and pointless foreign produced wind farms that now deface the countryside! As, of course, has since been disclosed across the blogosphere and even in the press eg:

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