IPPR Blames Own Progeny

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: IPPR has a new heavyweight report out on the civil service – Whitehall’s Black Box: Accountability and performance in the senior civil service. It seems to make sense in parts – not something you can always say about IPPR reports. It is wonk-porn in that it contains anonymous anecdotes. In places it borders on unattributed gossip about the TeeBeeGeeBees.

The report basically says no one gets fired for screwing up in the civil service and that there is no price for failure. It recommends some reforms that will not work because inherently governments have a coercive monopoly. Whereas in the private sector the profit motive works as an incentive because customers will stop buying crap services from businesses, hurting their profits. In the public sector if you stop paying your taxes the government will try and jail you. A mandarin hits it on the head in the report when he admits “Why is Whitehall poor at delivery? Because they’re aren’t any rewards or sanctions in place for civil service delivery.” Where is the incentive for better government?

Unintentional humour in the report can be found in the warning that the increased politicisation of Whitehall through the proliferation of special adviser appointments is “shortsighted”. How many IPPR alumini are, or have been SpAds? It must be over a hundred.*
Nick Pearce, the IPPR director, calls for “systemic reforms” of a regime which currently provides “no price for failure”. Quite, and he should know.
Nick was formerly a SpAd to David Blunkett at the Home Office (2001- 2003), where he led work on migration, asylum and citizenship – total failure there, he must take some of the blame for that chronically failing organisation. At the Department for Education & Employment (1999 – 2001) he hardly acquitted himself in glory. Between 1997 and 1999 he was as an adviser in the Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Unit. There at the beginning of New Labour’s era, when things could only get better, he had a chance to influence the future course of policy.

A decade later social mobility is now down since the Thatcher years. That is an unbroken career of policy failures.

*The GMB’s recent 27 page report focuses page after page on the IPPR’s revolving door and people.

Slow Newsnight

Newsnight Researcher: Hello it’s blah blah from Newsnight here. I know I should know your first name but I don’t.
GF: Guido?
NR: Ha, yes, oh, errrm, anyway that mayor candidate you say on your blog that you were having a drink with has withdrawn, hasn’t he.
GF: He has?
NR: Andrew Boff
GF: You mean James Cleverly, Andrew Boff has just put his name forward
NR: Yes, what did he think about the nomination process?
GF: I didn’t have a drink with Cleverly
NR: Oh. Would you be interested in talking about the Tory Mayor selection process on Newsnight?
GF: No, try Iain Dale.
NR: He said try you….

Bloggers v Big Media : Reuters Routed

The blogosphere is buzzing with the exposure of Reuters distributing faked up pictures of Beruit. Heads are rolling at Reuters
Who do you trust? There is no such thing as objectivity. Plurality is what matters, the more news sources the better. Guido keeps saying that “the news” is no longer what Big Media say it is, the news is whatever is disseminated to a wide audience. Big Media is going to be disintermediated when it falls down because technology means that, in this case, pro-Israeli bloggers exposed Reuters for sending out faked photos. We’re gonna fact check your ass Big Media.

Tory Mayor Mess

So for those of you who have lost track of this farce; nominations for the Tory Mayoral candidate were to close last Friday afternoon, on Thursday Guido reported it was all to be delayed six months, Cameron’s press secretary denied this saying they were “thrilled with all the candidates”, Friday morning the London Evening Standard repeated Guido’s story. Dave, it is reported, over-ruled Frankie and at 3pm Maude sent out a press release saying the nominations would stay open for another six months. Forgetting to first tell the candidates.
Guido was having a Guinness with a candidate, who was totally bemused by the shambles when the news broke. We also found out on Friday that there was a seventh dwarf* candidate, Andrew Boff. Now that James Cleverly has withdrawn his candidacy we are back down to six. Cleverly coincidentally discovered last week he was on the A-list, so perhaps he didn’t need his profile raised after all…

Lee Rotheram, an Iraqi war veteran (pictured), is standing on a platform of reducing the extra tier of London government down to size. In the current mood of unrest amongst London Tories, Guido would make Lee third favourite. His platform is straightforward and different from the other candidates – his is a Thatcherite agenda and we all know what she did to Ken when he last ruled over London. CCHQ will not be keen on his candidacy, another reason he may do well.

*Nick Boles is too tall to be a dwarf, so he will have to be Snow White.

The Truth About Adam Rickitt

Guido would be the first to admit he has had some fun at Adam’s expense in the past. Yesterday’s Observer had an article by Oliver Marre which completely over-stepped the mark with made-up allegations. Unsubstantiated allegations which he did not even check out with Adam, tsk, tsk.
Would you Adam and Eve it? It was a stunt

News that Dave Cameron last week added another 100 names to his A list of favourite parliamentary candidates comes at a prescient moment. For I was told yesterday in no uncertain terms that the most controversial face on the menu of trendy Tories, Adam Rickitt, a former Coronation Street actor and gay pin-up, is not really a prospective runner at all. Having failed to be selected for Michael Howard’s seat of Folkstone and Hythe, sources close to Rickitt tell me that he is not interested any more.

If any further proof is needed of the mess that surrounds Cameron’s A list, I have learned that Rickitt has never met Dave and is not even a member of the Conservative party. ‘He is not running for Parliament,’ confirms the young thespian’s spokesman when I call.

‘The Tory party originally approached us and said they were looking to increase the profile of their candidates and so Adam said, as he’s a Tory supporter, it’s fine to put him on the list and then the whole thing got blown out of all proportion. But he is an actor, not a politician. He’s only a Tory in that he votes for them, and he told me he is not a party member.’

Rickitt’s spokesman declines to elaborate on what went on between the actor and Conservative high command, which has led to the media and the population at large believing that he wants to be a candidate, but party sources suggest that it’s all been a bit of a stunt.

‘It got rather out of control, to the extent that the party’s old guard has become quite cross,’ says one. ‘Fairly senior MPs have started briefing against the A list now and Dave is in serious trouble if people like Rickitt himself are disowning it, too.’

Adam emailed Guido yesterday to say that he is of course a member of the Conservative party and that Marre is “a knob! Calling him to rant in the morning!” Call a lawyer first Adam…


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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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