January 18th, 2013

Whitehall Wars: Flak for Sir Humphrey’s Mouthpiece

Yesterday’s column by Sue Cameron has gone down pretty badly with more radical elements of the government. The Telegraph commentator, known for her pro-civil service outlook, essentially accused the Tories of imagining that the mandarins are all against them. One Whitehall source raged to Guido last night:

“Sue Cameron says “the idea that officials are blocking reform” is “patent nonsense” wondering whether these are “imagined” failings. Yet with no sense of irony at all, she misquotes Jeremy Heywood (who is known to be supportive of giving ministers a greater say in Permanent Secretary appointments) to (falsely) claim he will “block such a move”. Ms Cameron suggests Sir Jeremy will use a “policy of ‘masterly inactivity’” – but wouldn’t that be exactly the sort of blocking or treading water that ministers like Maude have been complaining about?”

They have a point…

UPDATE: Westminster wag adds “It’s unfair to describe her as Jeremy Heywood’s mouthpiece; she takes briefings against him, but only from Sir Gus.”


22 Comments

  1. 1
    left wing, right wing.... it's all the same bird! says:

    could we remind them who’s mouthpieces they are?

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44520

  2. 2
    Handycock (Teen Fondler) says:

    You just can’t criticise the Bureaucrats because you never know when you will need them to get you out of the shit, just like is happening in Portsmouth with me at the moment. We are all in this together and you taxpayers are paying for it. Boaz.

    • 5
      The Grand Master, Grand Lodge, Great Queen Street says:

      I didn’t think that bureacrats were giving you any protection at the moment Handy. If you want the Brotherhood to leave you to the protection of the bureaucrats just let me know. Jahbulon

      • 14
        Handycock (Teen Fondler) says:

        Jahbulon Grand Master. Rest assured I will always need your protection, as I always have, but I am in a spot of bother at present and I know you are extremely busy with Chris Huhne so I am letting local council officers fix it for me; after all I have tripled their pay, so they owe me. Many thanks as usual. Boaz.

  3. 2
    Sir Humphrey says:

    Yes Minister.

  4. 7
    rudolph says:

    It is all about having your cake and also eating it.
    It is all like an Alice in Wonderland story…. and we have an abundance of (brown) hatters.

  5. 8
    WOW says:

    For someone who doesn’t live in Westminster I must say that this is extremely boring

    • 9
      Tachybaptus says:

      May you live in interesting times.

      • 18
        Anonymous says:

        it is interesting that behind the shout equality there is great inequality.
        we do become equal when gripping together.

        since christ there has never been a time like now.

  6. 10
    Penfold says:

    Disconnected, living in that utopian cloudcuckooland that politicoes inhabit.

    She’ll be demanding a Damehood next.

  7. 11
    Corrie L'Anus says:

    One can but smile at poli’tit’ians traducing the humble penpushing Civil Service…I strongly suspect that eg the fuel duty change when that numpty Minister was hammered by Paxman, that pasty nonsense, child benefit trumpeting without thinking it through, announcing all energy companies will offer lowest tariffs, selling off forests, caravan tax etc etc…were ideas and cock-ups from spads and politicos with advice of bureaucrats routinely ignored. Incompetence due to arrogance rather than Sir Humphreys…not that the Civil Service is a bastion of efficiency!!

    • 21
      Curly says:

      It is well known that Brown deliberately ignored advice not to sell the gold. Arrogant barstewards these politicos. We woz at Eton so we knows it all.

  8. 12
    Jon Snow says:

    My bus pass and I travelled into the C4 studios this morning by bus. Snow driving in the snow, oh how I laughed.

  9. 15
    dick dastardardly mp says:

    Where are all my posts going? Have MI5 already implemented their controls ?

  10. 16
    dick dastardardly mp says:

    What’s the definition of “Yeeeessssss …….”

    A Senior Civil Servant saying “no” to a Minister

  11. 17
    dick dastardardly mp says:

    ” Masterly inaction” is what’s known elsewhere in the Civil Service as ‘incapability ‘ and leads towards the ‘Exit’ sign

  12. 19
    Jimmy says:

    Are you suggesting Butch be allowed run the country without adult supervision?

  13. 22
    inside- out says:

    We the British people are being hit by double whammy,a failing Civil service and also failing governing class.
    They are recruited from the same background ie Public school-Oxbridge-Civil service-job for life.
    Political class Public school-Oxbridge-researcher-SPAD-safe tory/labour/libdem/seat-job for life.
    Until this cosy arrangement is changed we have no hope.


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Francis Elliot reports on No. 10 strategy meetings:

“When discussion veers to subjects that Mr Crosby thinks of concern only to the political and journalistic classes, he treats the offender as a pub bore with a tart request to “pass the beer nuts, mate”.”



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It’s money innit.


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