The ability of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, to utilise the Guido Fawkes blog to push the most blatant and tribal spinning is well known, but today the Laurel and Hardy of the blogosphere have excelled themselves, or rather the terminally clueless Cole has taken the opportunity to polish his Ron Hopeful act for everyone’s amusement.
I left him in charge because I was pissed, er, shit, no, er, I meant I was on holiday. In the pub, er, shit, no, er, France
From Cole’s outpouring of ideological claptrap it might be imagined that mass sackings were about to hit the civil service, and moreover that their numbers reached some kind of peak under Pa Broon. But, as ever, the flannelled fool is talking out of the back of his neck. All that is happening is that the Cabinet Office is spending £50k on a report, to be compiled by an external “think tank”.
As to those civil service numbers, their peak came at the end of World War 2, with a total of 1.164 million, made up of “non-industrial” (white collar) and “industrial” (blue collar, in locations such as Royal dockyards) workers. “Industrial” numbers had shrunk to just over 18,000 by late 2003, while white collar staff had a post-war peak of 571k in 1977, then 479k in 1999, and 538k in 2004.
I don't have to know my facts, cos I'm on telly!
The numbers then started to fall, following the announcement of an 84k cut in numbers by, well, Pa Broon actually. Numbers have been generally falling since 2005, not that Cole will allow such inconvenient facts to enter as he also pretends that Francis Maude has moved to reform facility time, which of course he has not. All he has done is to launch a consultation – all talk and no action.
But Master Cole wants to believe what he has been fed, so brings forth this fresh and steaming pile: “Now he is taking on the enemy within, the Civil Service permanent government, or in the case of Michael Gove’s Department for Education, the permanent opposition. The ability of the mandarinate to frustrate radical policies is legendary and their talent for generating inertia defies the laws of physics”.
Poor Henry seems confused. Why does he think the Civil Service is “the enemy within”, “the ... permanent government” and “the permanent opposition”? Does he believe that these people actively work to frustrate the noble efforts of the Coalition? Or has the thought not entered that what is happening all too often is that crude and unthinking ideology is simply coming up against reality?
He’s certainly been supping some strong stuff recently, telling that the Institute for Government is “possibly the most dangerous political force in Britain since the heyday of the Communist Party of Great Britain”. And the Civil Service has in his mind to be shrunk as “it was the area where the Blairite’s [sic] self-acknowledged failure was total”. Wonder which Blairite that was? The conclusion’s no better, either.
“The prize is worth having at any cost”. No it isn’t. Another fine mess, once again.