Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Labour is not the opposition... The civil service is."

Via Dick Puddlecote, this NewScientist blog entry welcomes Our New Coalition Overlords' "astonishingly libertarian agenda" as regards civil liberties, but also warns that the civil service may well try to block many of the changes.
Facebook's Richard Allan, a former Liberal Democrat MP steeped in the traditions of Westminster, predicts the real challenge to the surveillance state rollback will be national security-related pressure from civil servants:
"In meetings with ministers, they will always say they need to keep a record of everything that anyone has ever said on the internet because they once caught somebody that no-one knew about that way."

"Labour is not the opposition," agrees [Privacy International's policy director, Gus] Hosein. "The civil service is."

I have no doubt that this is true: the civil service have long since ceased to serve anyone—it views itself as master of both politicos and citizens.

Which is why I have maintained for some time that, were I in government, my very first act would be to sack every, single civil servant in at least the top three grades. Not only would this make it much easier to get a radical agenda through, it would provide a massive shock for those who think that a civil service job is for life, and would also save large amounts of money. Plus, of course, it would be thoroughly hilarious to see the looks of shock and outrage on the once-smug faces of the assorted Sir Humphreys.

Sounds like a winner to me...


Ramon said...

"...were I in government, my very first act would be to sack every, single civil servant in at least the top three grades...

So is this Libertarian Party policy?

Devil's Kitchen said...


If I am ever in the same place as Gordon Brown—i.e. having been in government for 13 years, and having been paid to be in politics full time for 27—then I'll be sure to watch my language.

But I am not in that position, and I am not paid to be in politics.

As such, I am not going to shut down and subsume my personal pleasures in favour of politics. I know, it's pretty self-interested really... But hey! That's how we libertarians roll, eh?

But, of course, if people disagree with my attitude, they are perfectly free to join the Libertarian Party and stand for election at the AGM in November.



Anonymous said...

By voicing that opinion the entire civil service will work to prevent you from getting into government.

Ramon said...


I know you're unhappy at being unpaid. Yet you have to take grief when people complain. Not a nice position.

It makes sense that no responsibility is owed to Party members when the leadership aren't paid. Makes things much clearer.


JuliaM said...

"By voicing that opinion, the entire civil service will work..."

Blimey! That'd be a first...

JuliaM said...

And besides, anon, why do you assume that the lower ranks of the civil service wouldn't be perfectly happy to see the top three ranks (people on vast salaries, often hated by their underlings) get the push? If it's anything like any other large organisation, loathing - or at best, indifference - of the top echelons will be pretty endemic...

Chuckles said...

Mark W,

'the country would go bankrupt overnight.'

So no different to our current situation then?
Having six years redundancy pay in a worthless currency is an interesting concept, sort of like 'divide by zero'.

John R said...

A perfect decapitation strategy. Scares the crap out of the lower ranks and at the same time removes any potential leaders that can organise delays and diversions to stop the orders from above being carried out.

What did CallMeDave and WotsIsName say when you told them?

Pat said...

well it makes a refreshing, and if I may say realistic, change to hear a libertarian face up to the fact that we need a strong elected government to get the civil service off our backs- of course apart from the difficulty in getting a strong elected government of any sort, we face the additional problem that it has to be strong in the right way.

BrianSJ said...

Spot on.

The big trap seems to be getting the Ministers/SoSs to think they are "in charge" of a big dept. Ministers are customers. If the dept. doesn't deliver, then take our money somewhere else. The minister can't hire and fire, so is not i/c at all.

Led said...

I think I finally understand why the BBC made the "Great Offices of state" series. Typically timed to coincide with an election with a strong likelihood of these "Great Offices" taking a hammering financially.

PR campaign to get sympathy perhaps, I think the mandarins themselves described the offices as "notoriously secretive" in the show. Before going on to explain what important work they do, and how without them we'd all be at war with everybody.

Roger Thornhill said...

To me it is not the top three layers, but the Fabians that need to be removed.

If "the process" entrenches Fabianism, change the process. If the process is treasonous or encourages it, change it.

I'd rather see the end of the practice of moving someone to another department when they screw up. They need to be demoted or even fired and that would not cost a penny in redundancy.

Andrew Withers said...

Civil servants do not yearn to oppress anyone

If you believe that you will believe anything.

You give 'power' to anybody they will use it and fight for the right to continue to use it.

This applies to the meanest PCSO to the highest mandarin.

Anonymous said...

I think they ,the jobsworths of varying strata and about as fluffy and useless as a stata on a summers day.
Are well and truly i'll save the 18 rating for you.
Flipping flipped !
We cannot afford you anymore.

ps when the newly printed bills come out.
Ouch ooooya ouch.
I hate the bay city rollers but I am warming to this one.
Bye Bye baby baby goodbye bye bye bvye bye baby !

Anonymous said...

Charles Crawford, May 10, 8:28 PM.

Mr Crawford obviously left the FCO BEFORE the Equality/Diversity (Victimhood Group Preferrment/Cultural Marxism Indoctrination) Cult got into full swing under ZanuLiebour.

I can tell him from the bottom of the dung heap that under New Labour everyone where I work has to watch what they say in the staff room in case they are denounced to Management for "contravening the Department's Equality and Diversity Code" (the euphemism is "challenging inappropriate behaviour").

EVERY PERSON who manages anyone else below them in the entire chain of command, from the Permanent Secretary to the lowliest Executive Officer Line Manager is responsible for enforcing Politically Correct Groupthink and suppressing (euphemism "challenge") ANY expression that might be thought to be "offensive" to any group in the Hierarchy of Victimhood (google "Victimhood Poker" for an excellent summary).

Entire sections of apparatchiks (HEO and EO "Managers") at my local District Office seem to have spent the last few years doing little more than write Diversity Manuals and "train" (= indoctrinate) new staff in "Equality and Diversity" [the Cult in which all white heterosexual (especially Christian) men are responsible for every wrong done to every minority throughout history].

Working in the British Civil Service over the last few years is the nearest I have come to experiencing what it must have been like in East Germany under Communism. The only difference is that then you could be killed or imprisoned; now you have to parrot their "Big Lies" or face loss of livelihood and a ban on working in the Public Sector ever again.

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