Renewal to destruction

Renewal and reform, in the promise of a new year when all things seem possible. If they were, then wonders could be performed, but the Conservative knows that some things are impossible, most things maybe, and whatever  revolutionary change may be achieved to the good, it is achieved by private entrepreneurs serving their customers’ needs, not by lumpen-footed government.

Enthusiasm for overturning the whole structure of the state has always had keen hearers, and when achieved, it has led to a trail of widows and orphans and starving families. The overthrow of tyrannical governments East of Suez was met with hope, and found the same reality, as destruction did not automatically mean the acceptance by all of a new ruler and a new social contract.

Thomas Hobbes wrote of what the ruler of any Commonwealth should teach his subjects to ensure stability, and the first was against revolutionary change.

And (to descend to particulars) the People are to be taught, First, that they ought not to be in love with any forme of Government they see in their neighbour Nations, more than with their own, nor (whatsoever present prosperity they behold in Nations that are otherwise governed than they,) to desire change. For the prosperity of a People ruled by an Aristocraticall, or Democraticall assembly, commeth not from Aristocracy, nor from Democracy, but from the Obedience, and Concord of the Subjects; nor do the people flourish in a Monarchy, because one man has the right to rule them, but because they obey him. Take away in any kind of State, the Obedience, (and consequently the Concord of the People,) and they shall not onely not flourish, but in short time be dissolved.

And they that go about by disobedience, to doe no more than reforme the Common-wealth, shall find they do thereby destroy it; like the foolish daughters of Peleus (in the fable;) which desiring to renew the youth of their decrepit Father, did by the Counsell of Medea, cut him in pieces, and boyle him, together with strange herbs, but made not of him a new man. This desire of change, is like the breach of the first of Gods Commandements: For there God says, Non Habebis Deos Alienos; Thou shalt not have the Gods of other Nations; and in another place concerning Kings, that they are Gods.

This is not to say that all change is shunned:  the state repeatedly becomes corrupted and needs to be cleaned out. It was needed in Hobbes’s day, it was needed in ancien régime France  and it is needed in Whitehall now.

In the days of King Charles I, tax money was paying endless retainers, favourites receiving unearned pensions, monopolies were granted for favours and bribes, officials were shunning their duties by farming their work out underlings as deputies, who in turn appointed their own deputies; lavish gifts were made to individuals, and government contracts too; power and position were openly bought and sold. Taxes were too high to be borne and the state sunk in impossible debt, just to pay for this corruption. All this needed to be swept away, and perhaps if the King had read the Grand Remonstrance in humility and accepted its judgments then much blood would have been saved.

Westminster today looks prim and proper and rule-bound, but all of the corruptions of King Charles’s day are there; heavier now than then and all the worse for being approved by self-serving laws.

Reform is necessary. The danger comes with assuming things are so bad that the whole system needs overturning.  That just invites to the throne a chancer, one who can flatter the vanities of the rebel long enough to gather all power into his hands. That sounds like the normal operation of democracy, which is why it can never be taken for granted.

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What happened to the hard rain?

Before Dominic Cummings left his position in Downing Street a year ago, great things were promised.  That summer he promised that a Hard Rain was coming – and we have not had even a drizzle.  The Blob spread an umbrella.

We need the rain now more than ever, and not just a rain but a torrent of the whole waters of the Alpheus and Peneus driving through the befouled stables of Whitehall.

A key reform was going to be the hiring of “weirdos and misfits with odd skills”, and it does need weirdos and misfits – anyone bringing wild thinking to shake up the inertia into which a system settles. I have had more than a few glimpses of the Whitehall machine and can see they would squeeze anyone original out. How the system does anything right is a mystery.

Many good and dedicated people work in Whitehall, often in the lower ranks, heads down doing the job, but dedication and goodwill just keep a thing chugging along. A monoculture ossifies. Failings are baked in and innovation strangled at birth. I have watched this many times. A drifting system too allows anyone with a personal political idea to seize the wheel  and take the whole thing their way with no resistance. A minister wanting to steer the system meets resistance from the established civil service system, because it is the duty of the senior mandarins to warn and moderate, which can be taken too far. Someone working from within can bypass that.

Day by day examples pour out of wasteful and harmful initiatives, training courses designed to sabotage and to disaffect. Unseen by the public are papers produced apparently out of boredom and policy documents which have no relationship to what any minister can have said, and ministers end up being dragged along and defending what they never authorised. The public are not blind, and they can see that a government elected to take charge but which cannot control the system entrusted to it is despicable in its weakness.

Halving the size of the Civil Service could help – it would reduce redundant capacity and the temptation to do unnecessary things. Target first those who abuse their positions to push political projects in opposition to the government’s political thrust; then the actual redundancy within the ranks will become clearer. At the same time, tear up the Civil Service aptitude tests and start again with a system which allows weirdos and misfits, because they are needed to be the yeast in the dough, to break the lazy consensus and find ways to do what the monoculture dismisses.

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Lashings of a wounded tiger

Hark, hark the dogs do bark; the beggars are coming to town –
Some on commissions and some with petitions,
And all with an earnest frown

Clearing out the Augean stables of Whitehall is no mean task, so embedded are those who foul them. Eleven years of Conservative government, and nothing visible has been done about it, until recently. There must be a change, because the beggars are fighting back.

Until Boris came along, it was understood that the head of Harriet Harman’s Equality and Human Rights Commission would be a self-selected social justice warrior with the unique take on equality and rights that the left have, but no – it now has a level-headed chairman who actual believes in the brief, about equal treatment, and respecting diversity, not suppressing it.

Other posts too have started to fill with either conservatives or politically neutral nominees with brains and determination to do their jobs for the benefit of all, not to push specious philosophies, and not with non-entities who will fold before threats from social justice warriors in their teams. No wonder the embedded lefties are furious. No wonder they are working hard to reshape the landscape while they can.

Yesterday, the Home Office cancelled a series of training seminars run by a notorious race-hustler who has personally insulted the Home Secretary and belittled her family’s race. Naturally, she had been hired to talk about racial equality in the workplace. It is a bit like hiring Al Capone as an expert in avoiding police corruption. This cancellation was only after the lecture series was exposed by the eminent blogger Guido Fawkes – otherwise we have every reason the think it would have gone ahead, along with many others from worse hustlers than this one. The cancellation is a start, but how many more such seminars are still on the calendar.

I have met enough civil servants to have some sympathy with their position. They know that they do not understand all the things that are put in their hands and they need external expertise. Sharks are circling as they reach out. If you advertise ‘We need to borrow some cash’, it is not Barclays who will knock first but Micky ‘The Razor’ Fraser.

Who then is hiring people like Afula Hirsch in spite of her appalling reputation? It might be a junior clerk with Google as his expert. It might be a determined, embedded wokeist seeing an opportunity. They might just submit the name with an innocent face, or threaten accusations in the familiar way. Threats of denunciation should be regarded as bullying; a sackable offence.

The tide of wokery is intensifying, not because it is on a roll but because its position is under threat. The Spanish Inquisition was started not when Rome had a secure monopoly on ideas, but when it was threatened.

We must expect therefore a greater push for Critical Race Theory and Gender Awareness propaganda for years, and if it is not met with a forceful pushback, it will seize the narrative, and the appointments process. Minsters are in charge of every aspect of their departments, and must make their authority felt.

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Absolute Soveraignty

As I have heard some say, that Justice is but a word, without substance; and that whatsoever a man can by force, or art, acquire to himselfe, (not onely in the condition of warre, but also in a Common-wealth,) is his own, which I have already shewed to be false: So there be also that maintain, that there are no grounds, nor Principles of Reason, to sustain those essentiall Rights, which make Soveraignty absolute. For if there were, they would have been found out in some place, or other; whereas we see, there has not hitherto been any Common-wealth, where those Rights have been acknowledged, or challenged.

Wherein they argue as ill, as if the Savage people of America, should deny there were any grounds, or Principles of Reason, so to build a house, as to last as long as the materials, because they never yet saw any so well built.

Time, and Industry, produce every day new knowledge. And as the art of well building, is derived from Principles of Reason, observed by industrious men, that had long studied the nature of materials, and the divers effects of figure, and proportion, long after mankind began (though poorly) to build: So, long time after men have begun to constitute Common-wealths, imperfect, and apt to relapse into disorder, there may, Principles of Reason be found out, by industrious meditation, to make use of them, or be neglected by them, or not, concerneth my particular interest, at this day, very little.

But supposing that these of mine are not such Principles of Reason; yet I am sure they are Principles from Authority of Scripture; as I shall make it appear, when I shall come to speak of the Kingdome of God, (administred by Moses,) over the Jewes, his peculiar people by Covenant.

 Objection From The Incapacity Of The Vulgar

But they say again, that though the Principles be right, yet Common people are not of capacity enough to be made to understand them. I should be glad, that the Rich, and Potent Subjects of a Kingdome, or those that are accounted the most Learned, were no lesse incapable than they.

But all men know, that the obstructions to this kind of doctrine, proceed not so much from the difficulty of the matter, as from the interest of them that are to learn.

Potent men, digest hardly any thing that setteth up a Power to bridle their affections; and Learned men, any thing that discovereth their errours, and thereby lesseneth their Authority: whereas the Common-peoples minds, unlesse they be tainted with dependance on the Potent, or scribbled over with the opinions of their Doctors, are like clean paper, fit to receive whatsoever by Publique Authority shall be imprinted in them.

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Memo from the Minister

“This instruction applies to all staff of the Department and of all agencies and boards under its purview, both to civil servants and contacted staff. Any breach will be a serious disciplinary matter.”

A culture war has begun, to dig in and assert established positions in each Ministry before the new minister has sat down.

A Minister is responsible for everything which happens in his or her department: he or she is not just a figurehead to give a general steer, but executive commander of all the Department’s actions, with a duty to direct the minutiae.

Therefore when staff in the department start urging their colleagues to embrace dangerous pseudoscientific ideas like Critical Race Theory, it is as if the Minister himself has commanded it. That, it is reported, happened in the Ministry of Justice this week, pre-empting the arrival of the new Minister. It is happening all over. Though the ‘Social Justice Warriors’ are embedded everywhere, they can be dislodged.  Each Secretary of State should issue a firm order to all staff, and I suggest:

This Department operates on the basis of equality in diversity. In public actions there must be no discrimination on the basis of irrelevant factors, not those in the Equality Act nor on the basis of political and social opinions, or personal priorities: we treat every British citizen as an individual, not as a passive representative of a nominal group.

Equal treatment also applies to internal staffing, with the proviso that an individual must be able properly to perform his or her tasks in accordance with instructions: their personal opinions must not interfere.

Bullying is a serious matter and should result in disciplinary action. This includes where anyone is ostracised before his or her colleagues or threatened with ostracism, disciplinary action or disadvantage by reason of their rejection of a colleague’s socio-political doctrines or priorities, in particular if it is a doctrine which the Department explicitly rejects. If the bully is in a senior position it is more serious still.

No one may be disciplined nor disadvantaged for expressing matters in modes of speech their colleagues dislike. An attempt to have a member of staff dismissed or disciplined for such petty reasons is itself a form of bullying and will be treated as such.

No person shall be disadvantaged in terms of promotion or placement by reason of their rejection of the doctrines the Department rejects.

The Department rejects racial theories and also ‘critical race theory’, ‘intersectionality’, ‘social conflict theory’ and all other doctrines which posit a social conflict between nominal groups or a privilege attaching to any racial, cultural or social group. Staff may individually hold and express these opinions privately, but must not express them as if from the Department or government, nor promote such doctrines as if from the Department or government.

Because every email from a Departmental email address and every internal memorandum may be considered by the recipient as one from the Department corporately, care must be taken with every email. No member of staff may send any email or memorandum suggesting acceptance of a social conflict doctrine unless it is explicitly expressed as being the sender’s personal opinion.

Diversity of approach is important for the Department’s work and so, beyond what is set out above, so we should try to ensure the staffing of groups with ‘neurological diversity’, with diversity of opinion and of priorities amongst staff, and to counter the natural tendency to staff our teams with those who think like us.

All training courses and material based on a rejected doctrine shall be cancelled forthwith and no others held, and no one may circulate from a Departmental email address an invitation to such a course or to view such material.

We will not subscribe to nor fund any external scheme which implies that the Department subscribes to any  set of political, social or philosophical beliefs, whatever they are.

Any breach of these rules will be a serious disciplinary matter.

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