Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The report into Blunketgate - or Nannygate - or whatever you want to call it wasn't quite the whitewash one might have predicted but am I the only person who also feels let down by the Civil Service in all of this.

I'm a scientist rather than a historian but my understanding is that the Civil Service was invented as a counter to corrupt Governments and for years the understanding has been that the service is independent of Government. So I wondered why there isn't a code of conduct. Ha ha - a small amount of research revealed that there is in fact a code of conduct.

The code is quite interesting and talks of "integrity, impartiality and honesty". So far so good and I wouldn't really expect anything else. The code goes on to say that it is the duty of a Civil Servant to provide the Minister with "honest and impartial" advice. I did wonder whether this ever included the line "Do you really want your friend to receive preferential treatment Minister?"

It really is quite worrying that Budd comments that civil servants had scant recollections of certain conversations. What's the matter with them? If the boss had a habit of putting letters in his red box then the problem is an entirely different one but that does not appear to have been the case. The application must have stood out as being unusual and I find it impossible to believe that a civil servant wouldn't have thought something along the lines of "Hey oop. What's going on here then?" If they didn't have that sort of enquiring mind then they shouldn't have been accepted into a position of responsibility in the first place!

Got that out of my system then - but on reading further I came across the line "should not deceive or knowingly mislead ...... the public"
I can only conclude that the individuals concerned are either stupid or devious.

If there is a code of conduct then there should be some means of enforcing it and I haven't yet had the time to look into that aspect. If this code is not enforceable then it is not worth the paper it is written on and this matter must be redressed immediately.

It saddens me that politicians are generally regarded as being dishonest but if we can't protect the integrity of our Civil Servants then we are surely doomed.