Priti Patel, Home Secretary
Let’s have a covid-free day today. There’s something more important happening. You have heard of Ms Priti Patel, I presume, the Home Secretary. We’ve often accused her of allowing those poor, intrepid, dinghy-using, channel-crossing ‘refugees’ into the country. We’ve accused her of allowing wokeism to permeate the Police ‘forces’. There are thus reasons for criticising her. However …
However, we have observed how the Whitehall Mandarins in all departments and ministries domesticate their Ministers, often in a remarkably short time. We’ve observed that there’s massive collusion between MSM editors, reporters and the Mandarins. The proliferation of anonymous ‘sources’, senior or otherwise, can’t have escaped the readers of these pages.
This morning we’re treated to headlines and articles by ‘Our MSM’ about “That Report” on Priti Patel being ‘a bully’. Because BJ is standing by her, his ‘’Ethics Advisor” resigned. No, I also haven’t a clue what and why and wherefore such animal is needed – perhaps because we can’t trust our elected representatives to act ‘ethically’? His name is Sir Alex Allan and his wiki-bio is, ahem, interesting, opening questions which I’m not going into but which do throw some light on the inner workings of the senior levels of Whitehall. Let me just mention in passing that he was chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of Intelligence Assessment for Her Majesty’s Government.
And so to the report in The Times. They quote ‘Whitehall sources’, apparently unaware that in this way they inadvertently show the deep swampiness that is the Westminster Bubble:
“Two senior Whitehall sources told The Times that Mr Johnson had tried and failed to convince Sir Alex Allan to water down his findings. The prime minister is understood to have asked Sir Alex to tone down his conclusion that Ms Patel’s behaviour amounted to bullying.” (link, paywalled)
Bad, BJ – bad, bad, bad! Perhaps I’m unschooled in bureaucratic language, but to me ‘amounts to bullying’ is not the same as actual ‘bullying’. There’s more. Have a look at who also ‘condemns’ BJ while praising Sir Alex Allan:
“A former cabinet secretary and a former director of MI5 have rounded on Boris Johnson, suggesting that the prime minister has undermined trust in the integrity of government to save his home secretary.” (link, paywalled)
One is Lord Evans of Weardale, the former intelligence chief who advises Mr Johnson on standards in public life. Don’t ask why we then also need an “Ethics Advisor”! Then there’s Lord O’Donnell. He’s no longer in government. His wiki bio is also rather interesting. He’s a contemporary mandarin of Sir Alex Allan, so of course he would rush to his support, saying BJ should’ve sack Ms Patel and then going into details:
“Lord O’Donnell said Sir Alex had been given a “thankless task” and that the episode was a sign of wider problems in Whitehall. “This is a man who was head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, […] He’s looked at the evidence and come to a clear judgment that there was a breach of the ministerial code. […] The prime minister has said, ‘Well, I disagree with the view of my independent investigator,’ and Alex to my mind quite rightly said, ‘Well, if you don’t value my judgment, then there’s really little point in me carrying on.’ (link, paywalled)
What about the mantra of ‘advisers advise and ministers decide’ which has been bashed round our ears when it’s about exculpating SAGE ‘advisers’ in regard to the whole covid Lockdown disaster we’ve been made to live with? Unapplicable, is it, when ‘advisers’ are former intelligence chiefs?
Can we now say that yes, it’s Whitehall Mandarins who run the government, that ministers are their sock puppets? I believe we can! But there’s more. The Times gives the historical background, mentioning in passing that they ‘discovered’ this bullying scandal:
“Sir Alex was asked to investigate after this newspaper revealed in February details of Ms Patel’s behaviour towards senior staff in the Home Office, and her previous departments. She was accused of belittling officials in meetings, making unreasonable demands, and creating an “atmosphere of fear”.” (link, paywalled)
Who can remember all of that after covid took over everything! For balance, there’s this paragraph, one terse sentence mentioning the situation Ms Patel found herself in:
“Ms Patel’s allies pointed to Sir Alex’s finding that she did not always receive the support of senior civil servants. Sir Philip yesterday challenged a claim that she had not been given feedback on her behaviour. “As early as August 2019, the month after her appointment, she was advised that she must not shout and swear at staff,” he said.” (link, paywalled)
That comes under: ‘Giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other’! “We” of course must believe those intrepid, ennobled Mandarins. ‘Shouting at staff’ is far worse than staff not doing their duty, even when they’re undermining their ministers.
Unsurprisingly, our well-paid, do-nothing peacocks in the HoC have jumped on the bandwagon. It’s so much easier than grappling with “Teh Science” or demanding that the Treasury produce an economic covid impact report:
“The home affairs committee also demanded that Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, publish all the evidence about Ms Patel’s conduct. That report runs to 87 pages.” (link, paywalled)
Will those MPs be capable of reading all those 87 pages? If you want to read them, here’s the link. I shall certainly have a look! Meanwhile, Starmer tells us what he’d have done:
“[…] if he had been prime minister he would have sacked his home secretary. “It is hard to imagine another workplace in the UK where this behaviour would be condoned by those at the top,” (link, paywalled)
Of course he would! That’s the same Starmer who allowed Corbyn back into the Labour Party, the Labour Party whose last PM was a prime example for bullying his underlings. Labour after all has been working well in concert with those Sir Humphreys when they were in office. Of course Labour politicians followed their leader:
“Labour frontbenchers are responding angrily to the Prime Minister’s decision to stand by Priti Patel, […] Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy tweeted: “Does anyone in this cabinet believe they are accountable for anything?” Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said it was “spineless, hypocritical and pathetic failure of leadership”.” (paywalled link)
We’ve seen that Labour front benchers display a sickening instance of hypocrisy when attacking Ms Patel across the dispatch box. She’s been accused of being racist by certain Labour MPs who happen to be blessed with a deeper shade of melanin than Ms Patel. Solidarity with ‘BAME people’ doesn’t apply.
It’s also quite wonderful that those Labour politicians have refrained from blaming the top mandarins of racism. Are they not ‘white males’, haven’t they shown their ‘white privilege’ by failing to support a BAME lady, child of immigrants? Let’s also not ask why the ‘sisterhood’ is so quiet. Should they not support loudly one of their own who is attacked by the ‘Patriarchy’ of Whitehall Mandarins? Why aren’t the ‘Friends of Carrie’ rushing to her side? Is it because they’re in bed (virtually, that is, ok? Not for real, ok? No sexism, ok?) with some editors of the Times? Nah … surely not!
The Times, in their editorial, demonstrate what this really is about, actually taking on the mantle of ‘sage advisers’ (sorry, couldn’t resist …):
“Simply by putting Priti Patel in his cabinet, Boris Johnson was taking a risk. The home secretary had been sacked from her previous cabinet job for running a freelance foreign policy behind the prime minister’s back. She also had a reputation across Whitehall for poor treatment of colleagues. […] There was always a danger that giving her such a high-profile job would backfire.” (link, paywalled)
We’re then told that BJ ‘choose’ to stand by Ms Patel and are actually given his reason for doing so:
“Mr Johnson chose to exonerate Ms Patel on the basis that Sir Alex concluded her bullying was not intentional and that no one had raised concerns about her behaviour with her. He also found that she had reason to be frustrated with her senior officials. […] There is also no question that the home office is notoriously poor-performing and in need of reform. Nonetheless, Mr Johnson should have accepted Sir Alex’s advice and sacked Ms Patel.” (link, paywalled)
In other words: never mind that Whitehall is unreformable, that any elected minister who tries can apparently be bullied by his or her mandarins behind closed doors. Oh, they won’t shout, they’re all polite ‘white males’ who still seem to think that the handle in front of their names automatically makes them better and wiser than mere politicians.
I’m sure there must be instances of intra-departmental bullying by mandarins of their underlings – but this is something our intrepid investigative reporters haven’t bothered to find out. After all, their ‘sources’ and ‘senior sources’ in Whitehall would dry up instantly. That would be a catastrophe because how else could they keep up their constant drip-drip-drip of anti-government propaganda? It’s apparently no longer true that ‘ministers decide’ – it’s now ‘Mandarins and chief editors decide’ – and ministers better do as they’re told.
I leave you with an extraordinary report in this morning’s DM. We’re not only having ‘politics by twitter’, we’re now having ‘politics by whatsapp’. This is jaw-dropping:
“Boris Johnson has clashed with Britain’s most senior mandarin after insisting on making top secret policy decisions on WhatsApp. Cabinet Secretary Simon Case intervened after concern that some texts from the Prime Minister’s official account on the messaging service appeared to have been sent by someone other than him.” (link)
Ah! And who could that be? It’s surely totally coincidental, purely a question of lay-out considerations in that report when we read in the very next sentence:
“In a separate development, Mr Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds is understood to have been overheard ‘prompting’ him in the background during confidential phone calls to ministers and officials.”(link)
Well I never! Who could’ve seen that coming, with poor BJ in quarantine … ! Do we need more evidence that this government has descended into an utter shambles? That we are governed not just by a bunch of [insert epithet of your choice] but moreover by a bunch of unelected mandarins who are supported by unelected MSM editors, with the past and present top string pullers all connected to the ‘intelligence community’?
Ah well – as long as “we” are being protected from covid and from bullies all must be well. After all, those ‘intelligence’ Lords and Sirs know what’s best for us …