Not the ‘Sacred Cow’ – just a Friesian …
It’s Tuesday so it’s time for extra news of our Mandarins and our Sacred Cow! Thanks to the covid months, the covid costs and the covid MSM we’ve been forced to take a personal, closer look at the two entities who have been driving our country to the wall: the Whitehall mandarins and the NHS. Isn’t it wonderful that we’re presented with leaks just at the time when the Nation is upset about the 1.25% rise in NI contributions. Suddenly it’s acceptable to ask if this constant drain on our resources is actually worth it.
A year ago the covid lemmings, armed with masks and clapping for ‘our heroes’ on the doorsteps would’ve tarred and feathered anyone who would have dared to question the efficiency of that Whitened Sepulchre, that Sacred Cow. Now we read that the Treasury is demanding an audit of the workforce in all Departments but especially in the one now run by Javid, formerly by Hancock, formerly by Hunt. They are told to produce a list of their workforce:
“Departments have been asked to submit a full list of their workforces and their associated bodies so that Treasury officials can start to look at duplication in the jobs that they hold. A particular focus for Mr Barclay is the thousands of staff in the Department of Health and National Health Service, which last week put out job adverts for 42 new executives on salaries of up to £270,000, who share the same roles.” (paywalled link)
Shame on me for thinking Mr Barclay is ‘going public’ because his political profile was so very low in the past months! No need to jubilate – nothing, as we can confidently expect, will actually happen. No public servant, no NHS admin manager will lose their jobs.
If you wonder why the Treasury is informing us of this sudden burst of activity, that’s simple: allegedly MPs from the 2019 intake, the ‘Red Wall’ MPs who won seats formerly held by Labour, have threatened to quit the government in the wake of the 1.25% NI rise. Before you applaud them and wonder if this means some coming by-elections let me reassure you. These MPs have only threatened to quit their (unpaid) ‘jobs’ as PPS – Parliamentary Private Secretaries (link) which are the first step up on that ladder to future ministerdom.
As always when ministers, when ‘sources’ leak and spin, the devil is in the detail. People are expected to skim the headlines and first paragraphs only, details are given much further down in the text. The plums we weren’t expected to find are, firstly, that this audit for the spending review expected next month has been ‘in the works all summer long’. It was aimed at reforming all Whitehall departments, not just the NHS.
It’s however good government spin~and propaganda~practice to leak important information at a time when ministers believe this may be politically advantageous. But nothing is eaten as hot as it’s cooked, so there’s no surprise here:
“Officials have asked for a breakdown of roles below deputy director level so Treasury officials can evaluate each team, how much it costs and their roles.” (paywalled link)
Ah! Given that anyone in the NHS admin who can actually use a spreadsheet as opposed to running around with clipboards is a ‘deputy director’, we can see immediately that there won’t be much of a reform happening. After all, the various sub-departments with a director and all those deputy directors were established with the consent of ministers and thus ultimately with the consent of the Treasury.
So when I read that, according to the inevitable ‘source’, the treasury chappies are hoping to
“shine a light on the 5,500 people working in NHS England and the extent of duplication in NHS-X and NHS-D and other arm’s length bodies” (paywalled link)
I thought to myself that this ‘shocking’ revelation is nothing but spin. The following quote makes that quite clear:
“The deadline for the information was the end of last month. Mr Barclay is also understood to have submitted a department-by-department list of reforms to 10 Downing Street that the Treasury wants ministers to implement once their spending limits are settled in next month’s Spending Review.” (paywalled link)
Clearly, this audit has been going on well before the rise in NI was decided on. Rumour in the form of Sir John Redwood (link) has it that it was Mr Javid who demanded that rise. He’s new to the job, as we all remember, but I have to praise his department’s mandarins for having domesticated him in absolutely record time. Mr Javid clearly is defending his department and the NHS against the rest of the government and MPs, never mind us peasants who must pay up and do as we’re told.
We’re moreover informed that this Treasury list of “reforms was worked up in secret by officials in the Treasury over the summer.” (paywalled link). Now isn’t it astonishing how this ‘secret’ was not leaked at all – until the ‘sources’ deemed it appropriate to drip-feed such information into the public domain, at a time when “we” are being distracted by acres of articles on that British Teenage Tennis Wondergirl.
Looking at the sudden emergence of ‘sources’ – were they all on holidays and only came back this weekend? – it’s clear that these leaks occurred with government permission. They’re not meant to show up the ineptitude and nefariousness of this government and we presumably are meant to applaud the intrepid MSM as well, for having found out something ‘secret’:
“One source said that the top priority for Mr Barclay, a former Health minister, was the NHS given the scale of the spending. One government source said ministers felt “empowered” to go further in demanding reform from departments in the wake of the tax rises, which have gone down badly with the party’s core membership base. One source told The Telegraph: “The Treasury last week had to do something extremely difficult; we now feel particularly empowered to ask them that they deliver reforms to make sure the funding is value for money.” (paywalled link)
Hurrah for the good old Treasury, innit! Just gawp at their ‘doing something difficult’ – not by demanding that audit but by letting us plebs know that they’re actually working. Of course, the MSM don’t ask if the Treasury shouldn’t audit expenditure and ‘duplicating workforces’ in departments as a matter of routine.
Let’s also remember that it’s easy to whisper about reforms when nobody – certainly not the MPs who are already ‘working for the government’ as PPS – is actually telling us taxpayers what these reforms are going to be like, never mind auditing if they’ve been implemented. It’s all ‘a secret’, see … I confidently predict that nothing at all will happen, that we keep paying up and paying up, receiving less and less ‘value for money’. Here’s why:
“Separately, it emerged that ministers will have to find an additional £2 billion in the Spending Review to help government departments cover the cost of the extra 1.25 percentage point increase in National Insurance contributions.” (paywalled link)
Yes – our tax money is going towards alleviating the NI cost for civil serpents and mandarins. Where’s the outcry from MPs, from the MSM? Oh – I forgot: some animals are more equal than others. It’s the aim of Whitehall to keep it so. As for the MSM biting the hand that feeds them – forget it.