Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Entirely So, We Must, Entirely, Stop This Civil Servants Working For Private Organisations Thing

It is entirely reasonable logic to insist that the one person cannot serve the two masters. Conflicts of interest are going to happen if they try – and we’d prefer not to have such conflicts in the manner we are governed.

The thing is this civil servant who worked both for Greensill and also in a part of the Cabinet Office dealing with procurement, that’s just the start. It also most certainly shouldn’t be the end:

The real scandal is that the revolving door between government and business is still open
Richard Brooks

The thing is, why would we assume that it is only business that pollutes government?

Take, for example, that bird who became Baroness Worthington. She was a Friends of the Earth campaigner who was hired by DEFRA. That’s something of a conflict as it’s at least arguable that that’s two masters. She then went on to write much of the Climate Change Act. So, that was written not by someone carefully considering all of the difficulties and trade offs but by, well, a campaigner with all the prejudices that implies.

This week’s revelation that, for a couple of months in 2015, the government’s chief commercial officer was also working for supply chain finance company Greensill Capital was called “extraordinary and shocking” by the shadow Cabinet Office minister, Rachel Reeves. Yet as part of a culture in which gliding from a position of public responsibility into one of private gain is now the norm, the overlap in roles looks no more than a curiosity. The dual role had been approved by a Cabinet Office at the top of which sat the late cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood.

Tottering off to run a trade union – or partially leaving one in order to join the civil service – would come under the same rubric.

Or, being a tax campaigner who was brought in to do work on taxes, just to make an absurd extension of the case.

The actual argument here is not that business is unique in polluting politics. It’s that politics is polluted by any form of lobbying or dual hat wearing. At which point we should stop it happening at all, shouldn’t we?

That this will piss off the entire NGO and third sector is just an interesting bonus.

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Boganboy
Boganboy
28 days ago

Well yes Tim. When I consider the NGO’s using the taxpayers money to support all parties to the Yemen war, or both Assad and the rebels in Syria, I’d really like to see them strangled.

I’d argue that the foreign aid vote should be renamed bribes, and spent on the interests of the British people. Foreigners can be left alone to go to hell after their own fashion.

john77
john77
28 days ago

The first strep should be to ban government employees from being paid for working for a union.

Barks
Barks
28 days ago

Another approach might be to neuter the outsized behemoth that government has become so that the incentive and ability to impinge on the citizenry is removed.

mikesixes
mikesixes
28 days ago

Oh hell yeah. “Civil Servants” working for NGOs is a much bigger problem than having them come from the corporate sector (although both are bad). Here in the US, the EPA has been taken over by greenies from Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, etc. etc. etc. The EPA’s default position on any sort of development is therefore to do nothing but try to block it. The root of the problem is legislative bodies (federal, state, and local) abdicating their lawmaking responsibilities and giving these agencies the power to make law on their own.

Spike
Spike
28 days ago
Reply to  mikesixes

Or, the EPA sues the developer and agrees to a civil settlement calling for cash payments to the same NGOs.

MrVeryAngry
MrVeryAngry
28 days ago

Plus all the bloody bureaucrats in the likes of the FCA revolving doors with the banks and ‘consultancies’.

Reed
Reed
26 days ago

And what about Vallance holding shares in a vaccine company? How many more in the NHS are working hand in glove with health service providers?

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