"Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage." H. L. MenckenTwo news items, which would appear to lend credence to the above statement, appeared yesterday in the Daily Telegraph. First, an article by James Blunt (who, I understand, is an English singer-songwriter and musician, and former army officer) on his trials and tribulations whilst attempting to get to Afghanistan on a morale-boosting visit to the troops. With regard to the first article, this is the last report that I can find by the Defence Committee (points 92-93) in which the question about delays in ferrying personnel to and from Afghanistan is mentioned, to which the Government responded here. It is worth remembering that it was less than two years ago that articles appeared relating how returning troops were paying their own way home due to problems with RAF aircraft.
Second, an article that informs us Whitehall departments have spent £1.4 billion in an attempt to save £159 million by sharing “back-office’’ functions such as personnel and procurement. Only last month we were informed that senior civil servants are being sent to "leadership school" amid concerns they do not have the skills to run major projects like the Olympics, welfare reforms and new high-speed trains. It seems that asked why civil servants do not already have the skills to run major projects, Francis Maude replied that there is a question over that and that most of the people at the top are the right sort of people for the job, but there’s a gap in skills. Never mind the civil servants, Maude, it would perhaps help were politicians to look in a mirror.
Such a cavalier attitude with public money can only be described as a disgrace - 'Referism' anyone?