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Blair's Legacy

Desperate dispatches from the banana republic of Great Britain - Sunday Times - Times Online

Something is wrong with British public administration. Britons are not used to having their central government so comprehensively trashed. Since the days of Northcote-Trevelyan it was the envy of the world. The integrity of the civil service was taken for granted and the accountability of ministers was the rock on which the constitution was built.
The traditional partnership between ministers and civil servants has collapsed, destroyed by Blair's sofa government and his miasma of agencies, consultancies and private firms. These lack continuity, leadership and accountability. The relationship between Whitehall and such shadowy entities as EDS, KPMG, WS Atkins, Serco and Capita seems immune to scrutiny.

Blair's Legacy will be the way he has thrown his sabot into the cogs of government. Is there any central government department that works better or even as well as before the great Blairite revolution of reorganisation, renaming, reorganising again, outsourcing, hiring more consultants, rebranding and reorganising yet again?


WS Atkins? A shadowy entity? Jesus, it's an engineering consultancy FFS! It's about as unshadowy as a company is possible to get. Working for one of their main competitors, I'm in a reasonable position to judge. Engineers are just too damned square and sensible to be shadowy.

Ah, but to the journalistic mind engineers are shadowy and dangerous; we "do" stuff and "make" things.

To anyone who thinks writing is hard, manual labour this must make the profession as mysterious as alchemy was to the mediaeval peasantry.

Expect crowds of smelly, illeducated peasants to present themselves outside WS Atkins's offices brandishing scythes and burning torches any day now.


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