Much is being made of the new PM’s aspirations for U.K. Plc as a small state enterprise country.
As she is proposing a £100bn+ ‘market intervention‘ on energy she is off to a very rocky start.
The body of people who are not going to allow her aspirations come to fruition are the Sir Humphrey’s of the Home Civil Service, expanding power and scope since 1997, a small state is the last thing they want.
Both Steve Hilton and Dominic Cummings have been swatted off by the ‘blob’ in Whitehall.
‘For the past six years, the pro-Brexit campaigners Johnson led have blamed the U.K.’s 475,000 permanent government officials — known collectively as Whitehall and required to be politically impartial — for thwarting their efforts to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum.
Since Johnson entered Downing Street in July 2019, civil servants have faced a barrage of attacks from his aides and allies, including ministers at the top of government, who have dubbed them “the Blob.”
But on July 5, one Whitehall grandee struck back.
Simon McDonald, the former top mandarin at the Foreign Office, delivered what turned out to be a decisive blow that helped bring the prime minister down. He went public with a claim that Johnson’s Downing Street was lying to cover up how much the PM knew about allegations of sexual assault against Chris Pincher, a minister he appointed.
“No. 10 keep changing their story and are still not telling the truth,” McDonald wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Johnson knew all about Pincher’s record and gave him a job anyway, he said.
It was an explosive claim that dominated the day’s business at Westminster. When Johnson chaired a meeting of his Cabinet that morning, grim-faced ministers could hardly look him in the eye. By the end of the day two Cabinet ministers had quit, and the floodgates were open. A reluctant Johnson was forced to resign 48 hours later. ‘
If anybody is any doubt that the famed ‘impartiality‘ of the Civil Service has been long dead and buried has not been paying attention.
The post Democratic age, in essence, means that the Democratic institutions remain but are hollowed out and the politicised civil service and large corporate interests have filled the power vacuum. This was most in evidence in 2020-21 with disastrous effect on the economy.
The Civil Service needs bringing to heel.
Andrew Withers FRSA