Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Hang on a minute, its not that simple

Douglas Carswell posts that according to Twitter Gus O'Donnell (aka GOD), the most senior Whitehall mandarin, is to quit - and will be replaced by another Whitehall mandarin. Carswell maintains that it is people like Gus O'Donnell at the Cabinet Office, Kim Darroch on the national security council, Simon Fraser at the FCO and other semi-anonymous technocrats who really decide how this country is run; and who, in his view, who have helped run it into the ground. He also maintains that it is these permanent officials that really decide most public policy and that all too often, elected ministers end up as mere mouthpieces for the machine. Carswell ends his post thus:
"..... it is precisely because we have such a smug, insulated technocracy in charge that voters are left complaining that no matter who they vote for, things rarely seem to change. Before the next technocrat is installed to preside over us, we need to have a Parliamentary confirmation hearing.  No convincing answers, no job.Requiring senior officials to answer publicly for what they do in our name might mean that those who make public policy start to appreciate what the public actually wants."
There speaks a typical politician! He seems to have forgotten that:
  • It is because we have smug insulated politicians that voters complain no matter who they vote for, nothing ever changes.
  • If politicians maintain they are elected to 'govern', perhaps they should start by 'governing' their officials.
  • The sooner politicians are 'interviewed' by means of open primaries, the overriding factor being no convincing answers, no job, the better.
  • Whilst it is agreed that bureaucrats should be interviewed for their position, it would be beneficial if those doing the interviewing also started to appreciate what the public actually wants.
Whilst acknowledging that Carswell and Hannan's "Plan" is self-serving, in that it cements the control of the political elite over the people, simultaneously giving the opposite impression, what in fact this country needs is not their plan, but my "Constitution" plan with its inbuilt element of "Referism".


The Gray Monk said...

Actually he does have a point. No matter how much the Civil Servants screw up or cost us - they can't be fired. And they DO control policy and determine what happens or doesn't happen.

Ministers are only there to take the falls.

I'm not a politician, never have been and never will be - but I did work alongside the Civil Service and have had ample opportunity to see how Ministers are manipulated, sidelined or disposed of by the unelected "Permanent Secretaries" who are rarely actually qualified to do the jobs they supposedly manage!

TomTom said...

German Poverty

Huge increase in people unable to pay for heating and housing - Berlin is the main centre for children in poverty.

At a time Germany is lavishing money through EU SIVs to bail out banks, its cities face increasing populations unable to afford basic living......

Poweder kegs and tinder boxes are very seasonal as we approach November

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TGM That does not make it right, nor acceptable. They should be sackable, same as anyone else and llike politicians are there to do the publics bidding.

TT: powder kegs and tinder boxes - perhaps the idea could catch on here.

Anonymous said...

Carswell is becoming an enourmous disappointment. If politicians were genuinely independent of vested interests and the EU and possessed of character, intelligence and honesty, no amount of civil srevice obsfucation would get in their way.

Carswell is already polishing his excuses for the failure of the government only 18 months into their term. he knows they will fail as they are all EU stooges and he needs somebody to take the blame. If Conservative cabinet ministers can' even tame Sir Gus O'Donnell how on earth can they be expected to " re-negotiate with the EU"

PeterCharles said...

I am sure we have all watched 'Yes, Minister' and read innumerable political memoirs. Quite clearly senior civil servants often did see themselves as the masters and weak ministers were routinely side-tracked or manipulated. Strong ministers were also undermined should they not heed secretaries' advice, either being misled or flooded with too much paper. That is however the past, though there is no doubt many would like to reinstate it. Prime ministers and ministers have long been fully aware of that and most employed their own 'independent' advisers. Blair, of course, took it to extremes and first effectively cut the civil service right out of the loop then made sure the ones let back in were suitably 'on message', party politicised would be the appropriate term.

Carswell may say "..... it is precisely because we have such a smug, insulated technocracy in charge that voters are left complaining that no matter who they vote for, things rarely seem to change. but he is wrong. Things don't change because the smug, insulated technocracy is in charge, it is because the leaderships in the three main parties are a smug, insulated technocracy of social deocrats with effectively the same policy.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Anon Carswell no doubt means well, but I do think that times his compass forgets where it should be pointing........

PC: Which is what I thought I said, albeit without your eloquence?