If there was ever any sheen to the Coalition’s domestic ‘policy’, that is now well and truly gone.
Whether health, educational or even generic issues such as their self-styled Big Society, it’s pretty clear that ConDem ministers have made little effort to marry their right wing beliefs with modern day life.
And now the Guardian‘s secret civil servant, in a swan song for his regular diary, tells us the same:
The civil service badly needs reform but what is happening feels more like slow poisoning than a jolt in the arm. If ministers want a Rolls-Royce machine they will need to work to make it happen, not just insult the servants.
It seems that Westminster’s leaders – people supposedly with political and mood antennae far superior humdrum normal folks’ – actually haven’t caught on to the simple fact that, if you want others to support you constructively (and even if you are paying), you do need to be reasonably nice to them.
But maybe the ConDemistas [my term for Coalition ministers] don’t know about being mostly nice, in a collaborative, supportive sort of way… not least, perhaps, because large numbers of them were packed off aged seven, away to schools which didn’t know about this either. Tragic, but often true.
So now we have question marks over where the loyalty of public servants lies – even for instance to the extent of suspecting some Police officers may quietly (and why not?) make common cause with protestors during the forthcoming 26 March anti-cuts demonstrations.
But why take note of all this now? Has anything changed?
I think – though I am not at all surprised – that it has.
My view for some while has been that the ConDem Coalition (especially the Tory-led parts of it) want de-governance. They are thus, shall we say, intensely relaxed about incoherence in public policy.
Coherence doesn’t matter to ConDem ministers – as long as they appear to be busy – because they intend that soon there will be no need for public policy anyway. A bit of confusion amongst the ranks lets them get on, whilst others fuss elsewhere, with deconstructing the state. So good.
But now there’s hard evidence also of unintentional incompetence, alongside the deliberately only-pretending-to-be-competent positions.
This will be more difficult for the ConDemistas to cope with. Some of the unintended incompetence, right across government, has been very visible.
Voters don’t like that; and – sweet irony – Tories perhaps especially may like to see a firm hand on the tiller.
It will be interesting to watch how the Opposition handles this massive and very valid opportunity to grasp the political initiative.
Will Labour shadow ministers manage to segment their critique, at least in private, so there is an understanding of the difference between
(a) the intentional (albeit maybe opportunist) ‘incompetence’ of those who seek de-governance, and
(b) the unintended incompetence which offers such an open goal for showing, even beyond their yearning to destroy public service, how vapid and self-regarding these awful ConDem ministers really are?
Only time will tell; but time in a political sense is the one commodity currently in very, very short supply.