As if to prove a point, Francis Maude has managed to turn the announcement that he’s standing down from Parliament into a row with the unions. Following on from the PCS quote that Guido pointed out earlier, Maude has written to union fat cat Mark Sewotka:
“I have seen the comment put out by PCS following my announcement that I am not seeking re-election to the House of Commons. I was particularly struck by the assertion, in relation to our Government efficiency and reform savings that last year saved £14.3 billion, that “scandalously, ministers are being all too willingly assisted by senior civil servants in some departments.”
There is a clear constitutional duty in our democracy for all civil servants to implement ministerial decisions. In the light of the shocking allegation that it is only in some departments that senior civil servants are assisting ministers, I ask that you furnish me and the Civil Service Commission with details of the departments where you believe this is not happening.”
“This government has been in a hurry, driven by a political timetable, to make deeply damaging cuts to the civil service and to undermine the unions that oppose them, most recently trying to cut off the funding we get from our members,” said the PCS union in response to the news that axeman Francis Maude will not contest Horsham seat in May.
They then came out with this absolute gem: “Scandalously, ministers are being all too willingly assisted by senior civil servants in some departments.”
Unelected civil servants following orders from elected politicians? What an outrage!