Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sir Humphreys preparing for conflict and confrontation?

The concept of the Civil Service being "a politically neutral body, with the function of impartially implementing the policy programme of the elected government" has obviously fallen by the wayside in Scotland:
THE operations of Scotland's secretive top civil servants have been laid bare in new documents that show they believe "conflict and confrontation" should be at the heart of their dealings with Westminster, and that they are already working towards a more powerful Scottish state.

Nice of the unelected paper-clip pushers to make such decisions on behalf of the Scottish minority regime electorate.

16 comments:

andrewg said...

The concept of a "politically neutral" civil service has long been a polite fiction. Perhaps it's time to let some light in on the machinery.

Anonymous said...

A "parcel of rogues" to take us out of the Union against our will, great.

tony said...

You have plunged new depths with this 'tabloid' journalism O'neil.

>>4 modes of engagement: confrontation and conflict; competing; co-existing; and collaboration. Need to use a blend of all strategies in order to get best outcome for Scotland."<<

Yep that's right a Scottish civil service are planning a 'what if', good governance methinks. Hardly the haremscarem woe is us scaremongering that you or the Sctsman(sic) are reporting, indeed;

>>Labour MSP Lord Foulkes yesterday said he had now written to the head of the UK civil service, Sir Gus O'Donnell, asking him to investigate partisanship in the Scottish civil service.<<

What about partisanship in the Scottish media. The anti-Nationalist bent has long reached pravdaesque proportians. And yet an English newspaper; http://url.ie/2e4a can give a much more balanced intellectual overview that the so called Scosman.

For shame O'neil!

Wardog said...

Has anyone seen my SNP £5000 tax bill?

Wardog said...

Sir Gus O'Donnell has said that it's exactly in accordance with what the Scottish civil service should be doing.

The Unionists obviously haven't got it through their thick skulls yet,....

YOUR NOT IN POWER.

O'Neill said...

wardog
Minority administrations rely on their opponents to get anything done, so strictly speaking,
"You're" not in power either.

OK, to give abit of focus, as a first step, do we all at least agree in the concept of a politically neutral, impartial civil service?

tony said...

Are you of the misdirected opinion, which your line of questioning and thread imply that Scottish civil servants are not neutral?

How for example would you compare them with Westminster civil servants?

Are uncle Jim Murphy's Scottish office civil servants automatically loyal in your book.

Jings crivvens help ma boab!

O'Neill said...

I didn1t specify that it was only Alex's civil servants who should be neutral, I was trying to get agreement to a standard democratic principle

tony said...

>>I was trying to get agreement to a standard democratic principle<<

And there wasn't a purpose to this? Who are you trying to kid ma man?

The situation is that if the civil servants of any government are not following up and implementing government policy, they are not doing their job.

kensei said...

I was just about to pull that full quote. Spectacularly dishonest, O'Neill. Independent or not, a devolved adminstration is going to have to fight its corner sometimes. Even a Labour led adminstration went against Westminster wishes on occasion. A Tory led government would do the exact same thing - taht is conflict and confrontation.

You have two centres of power, and they won't always agree. Nor should they.

O'Neill said...

The situation is that if the civil servants of any government are not following up and implementing government policy, they are not doing their job

Yes, but they should remain be neutral and impartial tools for that government, it's not their job as unelected bureaucrats to start making or even (publicly) express subjective opinion beyond its operability on that policy.

O'Neill said...

I was just about to pull that full quote. Spectacularly dishonest, O'Neill. Independent or not, a devolved adminstration is going to have to fight its corner sometimes.

Kensei

I'm not sure which bit you think is dishonest and remember we are not talking about a devolved government's policy or opinions here but that of supposedly neutral bureaucrats employed as unelected officials to carry out policy:



In a section entitled "Doing Business with the UK" the administration's head of external support Tim Barraclough lays out to colleagues Edinburgh's new modus operandi for dealing with Whitehall, now that an SNP administration is in charge.

"FM (First Minister] has said that the relationship with the UK government is one of the key relationships that we have and that it will continue to be important even when Scotland is independent … Essential to get that relationship right. 4 modes of engagement: confrontation and conflict; competing; co-existing; and collaboration. Need to use a blend of all strategies in order to get best outcome for Scotland."


That last sentence, is he merely parroting Salmond's line (which is bad enough, it is most certainly not "essential" for there to be "conflict and confrontation" at the heart of Edinburgh's dealings with Westminster)...or expressing his own opinion as to how the civil service itself in Scotland should be operating? There is enough ambiguity to leave it an open question

tony said...

>>Yes, but they should remain be neutral and impartial tools for that government, it's not their job as unelected bureaucrats to start making or even (publicly) express subjective opinion beyond its operability on that policy.<<

Where have they done this? Looking at your response to Kensei you repeat much the same. This is stand or fall claims. Enough hintin, piss or get aff the pot!

tony said...

Awfy quiet Oneil.

O'Neill said...

"Essential to get that relationship right...etc etc"

Why is it necessary for a politically neutral unelected civil servant to even express an opinion on that relationship never mind advocate confrontation and conflict?

"We need to ensure that the proposals we made will drive economic recovery, will shift resources towards achieving the purpose, fit the SG narrative and meet the criteria of preparing Scotland to be a sustainable independent country."

"fit the SG narrative *AND* meet the criteria of preparing etc etc"

That "and" is a movement beyond the simply fulfillment of their function as tools of government to expressing an opinion.

tony said...

Good God man you have no argument at all. Normally you admit it, wassamata?

You have once again allowed yourself to be led by anti-nat newspapers that should you wish to investigate the stories wouldn't haud water. however doing so wouldn't fit your agenda, just as well there are brave souls like us out there all too willing to take you to task.

Oh and Saor Alba ;¬)