In What Way Is This Not Like An Abused Wife Going Right Back To Her Husband?

Stefan Stern on the ‘rumblings’ in the Civil Service:

All is not well in the Civil Service. Ministers are unhappy. Engine trouble is afflicting the “Rolls-Royce machine”.

I really don’t think what we have now can be said to be a ‘Rolls Royce’ machine. In fact, it’s more like a Skoda.

Even the fabled independence and impartiality is no longer a given:

Yesterday, there was new speculation over an apparent desire among senior civil servants to form closer links with Labour before the next election.

But just why would they want to do that? After all, although Stefan phrases this as a problem for the coalition, it’s far from their problem when you look at the beginning of the rift:

Lord Butler’s report into the government’s use of intelligence in the run-up to the war, published in July 2004, is worth reading with this thought in mind. Butler had been Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service under Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Blair. No one knew better how government should function. In finely polished “mandarin”, his words hit home.

He refers to the “frequent but unscripted occasions when the Prime Minister, foreign secretary and defence secretary briefed the Cabinet orally”. Note “unscripted”: civil servants should have helped with the scripts. “Excellent quality papers were written by officials, but these were not discussed in Cabinet or in cabinet committee. Without papers circulated in advance, it remains possible, but is obviously much more difficult, for members of the Cabinet outside the small circle directly involved to bring their political judgement and experience to bear on the major decisions for which the Cabinet as a whole must carry responsibility.”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but this was all under a Labour government, not under the coalition, right?

And yet…the civil servants are supposedly seeking ‘closer ties’ to that Labour Party?

Is it me, or..?

The current Government recently published a White Paper proposing further reform, in particular trying to introduce greater accountability for civil servants in their relationships with ministers. But something more fundamental needs to be done: a complete reappraisal, from first principles, of the relationship between ministers of the crown and the independent Civil Service, which recognises the different and conflicting pressures both are under.

Or you could maybe breathe a sigh of relief that Blair’s regime was booted out, and wait to see if this one proves better, or worse, or even just different?

8 comments for “In What Way Is This Not Like An Abused Wife Going Right Back To Her Husband?

  1. August 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

    The Civil Service has become a tool of Labour, with placements from the last Government everywhere. Probably in the stats posts in particular. So easy to make it look as though the economy is tanking to expedite labours’ return. Of course it’s all very EU led.

  2. john in cheshire
    August 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Go back to 1997 and recall what happened to many members of the civil service; they were pushed aside so that the Blair gang could install their own yes-men. I suspect that they are all still there today.

  3. Ed P
    August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The whole rotten structure needs reform, perhaps removing the job security that insulates these overpaid, overstaffed, complacent & unproductive drains on the economy from reality. Am I the only one for whom “Yes Minister” was depressingly true and not at all funny?

    • August 25, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Well, it probably was depressingly true but it really WAS funny!

  4. August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Sort of like a doormat going back to a love rat?

  5. Junican
    August 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    It seems to me that the independent Civil Service started to die some decades ago. I suspect that the truly independent Senior Civil Servants were ousted and replaced by various ‘entities’ which serve a ‘higher authority’ than our Parliament. I suspect that the UN has been a major player (via the EU also). I doubt that mere politicians are significantly involved.
    I suspect that the rot set in when the General Assembly accepted the Millennium Goals. People who know about the Millennium Goals will recall thet the objectives were entirely worthy, being the abolition of poverty and disease throughout the entire world. Very worthy indeed.
    Work had already started on creating the network of NGOs (Heaven only knows who paid!). All that was required was the go-ahead from the General Assembly, which was duly forthcoming in 1990. What happened then was amazing. Agenda 21 spelt it out. Out was rolled Global Warming, The Tobacco Control Treaty (to be followed shortly by an Alcohol Control Treaty), Forestry Control, and God only knows what else is in the pipeline. All in aid of “The Global Health and Wealth of the People of the World”. What it is in reality is the reappearance of Prohibitionist Eugenics, which has lain dormant since a little prior to WW2.

    Rant over……..

    • nisakiman
      August 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Rant perhaps Julia, but right on the nail nevertheless. All part of the drive towards the NWO.

      • nisakiman
        August 26, 2012 at 7:14 am

        Sorry, I meant Junican, not Julia! It must be the heat…. 😉

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