No Guilt or Regret from Sir Gus O’Donnell

The man who, one imagines, slimed his way to head the Civil Service and take responsibility to preside over 44,000 civil servants as they devised devious tricks and absurd regulations to utterly destroy the decent underpinnings of Britain’s society, offers no apologies for his actions in a long article in the Daily Telegraph this morning.
On the BBC Radio 4 news bulletin at seven am this morning his words were reported fittingly alongside a report on the utter collapse of the country’s adoption system, which the Guardian also reports as follows:

According to the latest government statistics, children wait an average of two years and seven months before being adopted, while this process takes more than three years in a quarter of cases.
Potentially suitable adoptive parents are often turned away because they may not be the right ethnic match, are overweight or may have smoked.

O’Donnell, see Wikipedia here, was born in 1952, so will only be 59 on his retirement, robbing the taxpayers of years of extra service from an individual in whom they have certainly invested huge sums of money. We will no doubt soon learn where that experience, together with who knows what valuable contacts, will be offered and taken up for hire.
The country of course will be left with his similar successors, to take on the huge disaster he has left in his wake, they themselves presumably will be mostly engaged in forming contacts so that they too may soon follow the path well-trodden by so many of the Knights whom they succeed!
Shameful indeed, I hope I will live to see some at least of them brought to account!

(This post, under a slightly different title, first appeared on Ironies Too 07:52am 22/12/11)


10 comments for “No Guilt or Regret from Sir Gus O’Donnell

  1. john in cheshire
    December 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    He was in office for a large part of the time that the treacherous labour party was in government. And, like you, I’ve long wondered why this man has been given this powerful position within our national offices of public service. Who has he been serving all this time; it doesn’t appear to have been us, his paymasters? EU posting here I come, I hear him say. Or will it be to join traitor blair in some banking group?

    • December 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Who has he been serving all this time…

      The Civil Service?

      • December 23, 2011 at 6:48 am

        I’ve got civil service friends (at lower ranks, what would be termed ‘the frontline’) and he’s utterly loathed.

        So he’s not serving them all, by a long chalk…

  2. December 22, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Sir Gus O’Donnell, the man who could have stopped Tony Wot’s His Name with his dodgy dossier from getting us into the Iraq war.
    The very same man who could have exposed nuLabor’s spiteful immigration policy for what it truly was.
    Again the same man who could have exposed the loony who took over from TWHN as the mentally unstable, Buffty frae Kirkcaldy for what he truly was.
    I could go on, but Sir Gus you certainly served your country well!

    • December 23, 2011 at 6:48 am

      The only question remains, which country!? 😯

  3. December 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Ah yes, but for every couple who would like to adopt, every bureaucratic hurdle they can stick in their way to delay the process by another month or two generates another tenth of a job in the civil service.

    G O’D is head of the civil service. The more civil servants there are, the more powerful he becomes.

    I know I’m rehearsing tired old crap here, but that is exactly how it works.

    • December 23, 2011 at 6:49 am


  4. December 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

    the utter collapse of the country’s adoption system

    That’s not down to him – that’s spin from Martin Neary of Barnardos who want to pitch for the business.

    The short story is this: adoption is the legal fiction whereby we try to over-write what is indelibly written in blood. If we confined ourselves to making care orders which transfer most of the legal authority but not that final transfer of title, then it might work better from the child’s point of view. But we don’t for reasons too complex to summarize here, but the main one is ‘wishful thinking’.

    In the modern world of DNA testing, the internet and sibling and family rights via the HRA, it is nigh on impossible for this to work in the classical fashion where the original parentage is deleted, although one or two very rare cases may work. Judge Munby is trying to do one right now, in order to protect a woman who had a child outside marriage in a certain religion which continues to take a dim view of that sort of thing. Whether he’ll manage it remains to be seen; he’s banking that law is stronger than knowledge, and I doubt that is ever the case.

    Much of the law hasn’t caught up with the fact that the world has changed, and for some reason neither have the politicians, despite having the ghastly example of T Blair, who made the same mistake in 2002 when he backed an adoption drive. All that resulted in was recriminations and long-running compo cases from children who are now adults and are very cross – with reason – at the way they were shunted about like puppies.

    Everything you say about O’Donnell is true, but the adoption system would have creaked no matter who was heading up the civil service.

    • December 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

      WOAR, that’s all very interesting, but what does it have to do with anything like turning down adoptive parents because they smoke?

      If the problem is that people will always find out who their real parents are, then tell them, by all means, or leave the real parents’ name(s) on the birth certificate, it’s no big dfeal.

      I mean, if the mother gives up a baby for adoption, then how can the child later complain that he was adopted and to whom? What are we supposed to do? Force the unwilling mother to look after it?

  5. Mudplugger
    December 23, 2011 at 9:58 am

    The history of adoption is an interesting reflection of changes in society. When my mother-in-law was orphaned, aged 5, 80 years ago, the ‘family’ in her mining community rallied round, worked out how she was to be cared for, and just got on with it – no ‘adoption’, nothing formalised, no money involved, it just happened.

    Around 50 years ago, most adoptions were then of children simply born out of wedlock, that being considered a preferred solution to a socially stigmatising problem.

    Since the wider availability of prevention/abortion, coupled with changing attitudes to illigitimacy, the supply-chain of adoptable children has developed a very different profile, many being disturbed or disabled, many others reflecting the changed racial mix in the country.

    Add into this the dead-hand of state administration, along with the PC-obedience that demands, and we can see how we have ended up where we are. A service more committed to defending itself than delivering its objective.

    On one side of the scales is a large pool of couples eager to adopt a child, on the other side is a large group of adoptable children, albeit many with ‘imperfections’. The scandal is that it takes the authorities so long to match these two elements through the conduct their painfully PC processes that any disturbance is magnified, thus increasing the chances of failure.

    Return to the ‘village solution’ of 80 years ago is impractical but it is the duty of any government to break the current log-jammed cycle of despair, taking some acknowledged risks if necessary, to ensure that the greatest possible number of these unfortunate children at least have a chance of a loving and stable family life.

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