There’s never a George around when you need to behead a dragon
I wonder how many people, on reading the news of the Government’s track and trace app fiasco this morning, thought of the same three words as I did: Connecting for Health. That was one of Tony Blair’s little whizzy-gassy schemes – a massive nationwide intranet……for the NHS.
Or perhaps another three words came to mind: Private Finance Initiative, Gordon Brown’s attempt to involve his new mates in private construction to help modernise the built infrastructure…..of the NHS.
CfH was written off with zero achieved at a published cost of £13 billion. But at the time, an official showed me the real bill….£24 billion.
The PfI has saddled the NHS with a bill so enormous (and workmanship so expensively dire) the only way our Greatest Ever Gold Salesman and Pension Rapist could survive the disgrace was to shuffle it off the balance sheet and into ‘unfunded debt’, where it continues to sit with all the generous Whitehall mandarin pensions that are equally unfunded.
Within three weeks of being tipped off to the existence of Covid19, the Germans built a t&t software model. Its effectiveness has been made eminently clear. But now we Brits aren’t to have anything to do that job….for the NHS.
While a large part of me is glad it’s been derailed (it would’ve been grabbed immediately by GCHQ had anything come of it) it’s impossible to miss the pattern here: there is something in the Department of Health & Social Care’s DNA that shrieks “Amateur Night”. And “Zero commercial perspective”. And ‘The negotiating skills of Theresa May”. And well, to be honest many things much less polite.
Like it or not, the way our system works is that, if the elected Minister of State keeps on cocking up, then he’s the one who falls onto his Excalibur. I think Boris really must now invite Matt Hancock so to do, but that won’t change the climate of feather-bedded incompetence inside the DoH.
It is this sort of shambles that should make more citizens grasp just how much we need the Dominic Cummings of this world. And it illustrates fully, of course, why the Sir Humphreys have been leaking like sieves in an attempt to get rid of him.
We can have elections and change “governments” from now until Kingdom Come: if what the politicians want to do is being diluted by a mélange of pernicious wrecking and inane incompetence in Whitehall, then it will all be for nothing.
Needless to say, only our new young Chancellor so far appears to have the skillset required to actually be a Minister of State. Priti Patel is being targeted by the same leakers who accuse her of grave errors, bullying and the whinges we have come to expect from the neo-Marxist globalisers in the Civil Service; but the quality of the Johnson Cabinet is, on the whole, woeful.
The picture I present – of Whitehall putchists and Ministerial generalists – will, I’m sure, be blanked by those voters no longer capable of grasping that a Brussels-style coup d’état by the Unelected State is under way. Perhaps they should listen more often to well-informed Brexiteers – who even now watch and observe machinations still going on behind the scenes to get the UK’s “no more delays” stand against the EU reversed.
If the Treasury, the Home Office, the FCO and the DoH&SC are all stuffed to the gills with neo-Marxist quisling blocists, the Peter Hitchens is right: this government is in office, but not in power.
The much bigger question is what to do about it. Every journey begins with the first step: Whitehall is a cancer invading every cell of democratic liberty, and Sir Mark Sedwill heads it up. He is himself the leading man of those moving Britain towards relentless technocracy. The game going forward, I suspect, is to create the sort of cultural atmosphere in which Boris loyalists feel safe enough to publicly dump Sedwill.
I’ll be intrigued to read any and all views about how to effect that first step towards disinfecting the Whitehall sewer.