Thursday, November 15, 2007
That Stalin Jibe Again
A former head of the civil service, Lord Turnbull, described Gordon Brown's governing mentality as 'Stalinist'. Not the politest of references, and one that Team Brown were keen to assure everyone was wide of the mark. Seems that the accusation just won't go away though, as another, anonymous senior civil servant has been spilling more recent beans to the FT's Sue Cameron about the current bunker mentality at No. 10. The criticisms are wide ranging. Brown doesn't consult anyone outside his tight inner circle. The young advisers ('the teenagers') have all the social skills of an ill-behaved nursery class (and, in the case of Douglas Alexander, many of the political skills too), and even top mandarin Sir Gus O'Donnell, the current Cabinet Secretary, has been drawn into the net.
It may be an embittered permanent secretary getting his revenge, but to have the accusation from one civil servant seems like carelessness, two is beginning to look like a habit. The Evening Standard, incidentally, was reporting this evening that Sue Cameron's report gave away too many clues about the identity of the leaking civil servant, and that he is now due for the chop - just to show that No. 10 is not adopting a Stalinist style at all. And there was I thinking the new Private Eye column was just a bit of satire!