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The Positive Brexit Thread

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13 minutes ago, PurpleCanary said:

Two points. I cannot offhand think of any examples of the civil service thwarting ministerial plans. Only some cases where civil servants have pointed out serious flaws in such plans, or have simply been bureaucratically unable to get the work done, since prime ministers and ministers often proposed politically motivated ideas that are not exactly practical. So a few cast-iron examples would be illuminating.

Secondly, a government led by Boris Johnson is by definition going to undermine as many of the established democratic practices and safeguards as it can. 

 

 

 

 

"To take but one example, recorded in Benn’s diary for 11 April 1974: “Sir Antony Part came to see me. He hummed and hawed a bit and then said, ‘Minister, do you really intend to go ahead with your National Enterprise Board, public ownership and planning agreements?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘Are you serious?’ he asked.”

From that moment the die was cast. Part, according to Benn, would ring around fellow permanent secretaries urging them to brief their ministers against him so that when an issue came up in cabinet Benn found himself outnumbered. Eventually Benn was reshuffled to the Department of Energy, which he rapidly concluded was in the pocket of the nuclear industry and he again found himself facing civil servant-led obstruction over everything, from the UK’s choice of nuclear reactor to the funding of research into wave energy.

But it wasn’t just Benn. During the financial crisis of 1976, several Labour ministers felt they were being railroaded by the Treasury into applying for an IMF loan that, in turn, led to drastic austerity measures and the winter of discontent, which brought down the 1974-79 Labour government and ushered in the Thatcher decade. Years later Denis Healey, who as chancellor had strongly backed the IMF loan, wrote in his memoirs, “If I had been given accurate forecasts in 1976, I would never have needed to go to the IMF at all.”"

 

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4 minutes ago, Van wink said:

"To take but one example, recorded in Benn’s diary for 11 April 1974: “Sir Antony Part came to see me. He hummed and hawed a bit and then said, ‘Minister, do you really intend to go ahead with your National Enterprise Board, public ownership and planning agreements?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘Are you serious?’ he asked.”

From that moment the die was cast. Part, according to Benn, would ring around fellow permanent secretaries urging them to brief their ministers against him so that when an issue came up in cabinet Benn found himself outnumbered. Eventually Benn was reshuffled to the Department of Energy, which he rapidly concluded was in the pocket of the nuclear industry and he again found himself facing civil servant-led obstruction over everything, from the UK’s choice of nuclear reactor to the funding of research into wave energy.

But it wasn’t just Benn. During the financial crisis of 1976, several Labour ministers felt they were being railroaded by the Treasury into applying for an IMF loan that, in turn, led to drastic austerity measures and the winter of discontent, which brought down the 1974-79 Labour government and ushered in the Thatcher decade. Years later Denis Healey, who as chancellor had strongly backed the IMF loan, wrote in his memoirs, “If I had been given accurate forecasts in 1976, I would never have needed to go to the IMF at all.”"

 

It is Benn’s Account, so may not be true, but if it is I would accept that as an example. The IMF case sounds more like weak ministers getting struggling with a difficult decision in a government under enormous pressure rather than civil servants actively thwarting a plan. 

 

 

 

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There is a BBC fly-on-the-wall series about the rollout of Universal Credit. At the end of episode 3 they covered a meeting of civil servants from the DWP, one of whom had spotted a problem with the low take-up of UC transferring from legacy benefits. The objective of he meeting was to find a solution to this problem.

Now the BBC may have edited out all the discussions but what they showed was a roomful of around thirty senior departmental civil servants not one of whom offered up a single idea of how to resolve the low-take up problem. In the end, they decided all they would do is recommend to the minister that the rollout date should be extended for a further six months - which would cost taxpayers an extra cool £500million. 

So it's only right and proper that the government gets to grips with these do-nothing waste-of-spacers and bring in people from the private sector who have experience of running businesses. we need to drain the swamp of the Sir Humphries who've had it too cosy for too long and that's what we voted Boris to do. It looks like it is happening.

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8 minutes ago, A Load of Squit said:

 Another withdrawal agreement Johnson reneged on.

 

 

Is a live child the new dead cat? 

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Maybe.

"Given that this has been long talked about within Westminster and Whitehall, it was always a question of just when they would time the announcement. The PM wouldn't be so cynical to try and bury bad news (Patel/Rutnam) with, er, good news? Surely not."

Paul Waugh.

"True story. Was told a week ago there two rumours in Westminster. 1. Something bad for Johnson 2 that Carrie Symonds was pregnant and that 2 would be released to defuse 1"

Peter Jukes.

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1 minute ago, Herman said:

Maybe.

"Given that this has been long talked about within Westminster and Whitehall, it was always a question of just when they would time the announcement. The PM wouldn't be so cynical to try and bury bad news (Patel/Rutnam) with, er, good news? Surely not."

Paul Waugh.

"True story. Was told a week ago there two rumours in Westminster. 1. Something bad for Johnson 2 that Carrie Symonds was pregnant and that 2 would be released to defuse 1"

Peter Jukes.

Rutman is good news, not bad.

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27 minutes ago, Herman said:

I suppose it could bring down Patel so you may be right.

I think it will be called zero tolerance.

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43 minutes ago, Rock The Boat said:

Those senior civil servants are leaking stories like mad. They are obviously sh!t-scared about being next for the Cummings chop. 

No doubt all this nonsense is related to the bigger picture of Cummings reforms .

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It's all about some unelected bureaucrats taking back control from some other unelected bureaucrats so that democracy prevails.

 

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1 hour ago, Rock The Boat said:

Those senior civil servants are leaking stories like mad. They are obviously sh!t-scared about being next for the Cummings chop. 

What do you think of the message? Economically he is right, they wouldn't be a massive miss to the GDP. But would we be right to get rid of our own food production?

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14 minutes ago, SwindonCanary said:

There is a battle at the moment, who's in charge on decisions,  unelected advisers or politicians.

Career civil servants, new wave advisors or politicians. Or which alliance of the  above.

In a rapidly changing world im not so sure that a few ruffled feathers are necessarily a bad thing.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rock The Boat said:

Those senior civil servants are leaking stories like mad. They are obviously sh!t-scared about being next for the Cummings chop. 

 

I know RTB an SC are bit slow and never read the detail but the 'leak' is not from a civil servant but a Cummigs/Govt advisor/associate. Purely logical. It's in the ''Minford' train of thought - why are we doing things uncompetitively that we can 'off-shore' cheaper in a 'global' Britain. Of course the govt. is distancing itself from such thoughts (although it would make the trade negotiations so much easier with the USA and similar ....)  - after all it's not what the average Brexiter voted for - or did they ?

Edited by Yellow Fever
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On 29/02/2020 at 11:53, Van wink said:

Having said all that, I am very concerned about the role of Cummings, once we start seeing political appointments to the senior civil service positions, Supreme Court etc we are heading towards totalitarianism, it’s a fine line which shouldn’t be crossed, but I suspect will be.

Its already been crossed several times by our Prime Liar and the general conduct of this government clearly points to things getting much worse so I think we can confidently look forward to greater abuses of power to come in the months and years ahead.

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1 hour ago, Yellow Fever said:

 

I know RTB an SC are bit slow and never read the detail but the 'leak' is not from a civil servant but a Cummigs/Govt advisor/associate. Purely logical. It's in the ''Minford' train of thought - why are we doing things uncompetitively that we can 'off-shore' cheaper in a 'global' Britain. Of course the govt. is distancing itself from such thoughts (although it would make the trade negotiations so much easier with the USA and similar ....)  - after all it's not what the average Brexiter voted for - or did they ?

Do you know who leaked the emails?

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54 minutes ago, Van wink said:

Do you know who leaked the emails?

Thee is zero evidence that it was a leak from the civil service (as asserted). I very much doubt the idea had actually even been seen or reached the civil service (if it had it would then be under serious consideration / modelling). Chances are  it was a leak by somebody with vested interests (a farmer or fisherman) in one of the governments (non civil service) think-tanks or advisory panels, Could even be Dom flying a kite! After all they've got to look at radical ways to save money now. 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Yellow Fever said:

Thee is zero evidence that it was a leak from the civil service (as asserted). I very much doubt the idea had actually even been seen or reached the civil service (if it had it would then be under serious consideration / modelling). Chances are  it was a leak by somebody with vested interests (a farmer or fisherman) in one of the governments (non civil service) think-tanks or advisory panels, Could even be Dom flying a kite! After all they've got to look at radical ways to save money now. 

There equally zero evidence of this as asserted,  "the 'leak' is not from a civil servant but a Cummigs/Govt advisor/associate".

Sometimes the motivation for a leak is so obvious its pretty easy to point a finger, not the case here where your comments above are quite possible, but the poor current relationship between some of the Civil Service and the government also makes it possible source. 

Edited by Van wink

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4 hours ago, Yellow Fever said:

 - after all it's not what the average Brexiter voted for - or did they ?

I had a very interesting chat with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Her uncle was considering moving out to Spain, so I said "he better hurry up then" to which she said "why?". Answer "because freedom of movement is going away according to the government" and she said "yes, I know which is a good thing, that's just to let us control immigration isn't it?" .....   "Yeah.... sure, guess what you voted for"

"Oh, I didn't know that. That's going to make the Spanish pretty upset though isn't it, I mean a lot of people have been retiring there" 

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Posted (edited)

Give me strength. The trouble with these head in the clouds economists is they never look at the risk. We can buy all our food implies that there will always be someone to sell it to you, and that you can ship the food in. What if there is a war and all the cargo ships get sunk - we starve .... absolute idiot. For the sake of UK national security we should be trying to be MORE self-sufficient in energy and food production, not less.

Food.jpg

Edited by Surfer

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Posted (edited)

This is an academic minded advisor shooting the breeze. Nothing to he taken too seriously.

This might not be the answer, or even close to the answer , but we do need to be thinking big.

We are ten years at most from computers exceeding human ability in every endeavour after all. Then what?   When every driver,  pilot, warehouse worker, composer,  customer services operator, soldier, sailor and marketeer is looking for a job would they really be interested in agricultural subsidies?

Edited by Barbe bleu

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9 minutes ago, Barbe bleu said:

We are ten years at most from computers exceeding human ability in every endeavour after all. Then what?  

Wow, according to your post of a few days ago it was twenty five years away, those pesky computers are really learning fast 🤣

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If you survive the "virus" and the poisonous American chicken then the computers will finish you off. Bleak future really.

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35 minutes ago, Creative Midfielder said:

Wow, according to your post of a few days ago it was twenty five years away, those pesky computers are really learning fast 🤣

Yea. We'll be surpassed in 10 years. But I reckon another 15 to realise it/embrace it.

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22 minutes ago, Barbe bleu said:

Yea. We'll be surpassed in 10 years. But I reckon another 15 to realise it/embrace it.

I think you're being very naive about the current hyping of AI although there is actually very little 'I' involved at the moment, just the onward march of machines crunching bigger and bigger data sets faster and faster - in other words business as usual in the IT sector.

Even if we get to the point in the foreseeable future where we have serious AI capability available, the embracing of it is going to take a lot longer than that - just think how long we've been talking about and predicting the paperless office (40 years?) or the cashless society (25 years?) and we're nowhere near either of those yet.

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1 hour ago, Creative Midfielder said:

 

 - just think how long we've been talking about and predicting the paperless office (40 years?) or the cashless society (25 years?) and we're nowhere near either of those yet.

I'm pretty sure that a comparison with 25 years ago will prove both of those things are largely achieved.

 

I suspect that we can probably do away with drivers on intercity routes right now and not too far off the in city too. 

 Music is maths so I bet there is a computer somewhere that could produce chart hits.

Soldiers will be around for a while, but Maverick's faithful wingman in topgun3 will no longer be Goose or Ice but a drone. In fact maverick will be flown from miles away. 

 

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