The cry of the bureaucracy down the ages.
In response, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, announced last month that civil servants would be forced to publish all spending.
However, it emerged yesterday that the final publication scheme being devised will mean that many items of spending will remain secret.
Coalition sources say that senior civil servants have tried to block a far-reaching disclosure of all spending on credit cards.
The final disclosure scheme is likely to be limited to items over £500, meaning that many of the most contentious purchases will not be revealed. Nor will the purchasers be identified.
It is also expected that disclosure rules will apply to the current financial year and future years, meaning that previous spending will not be revealed.
Advice to ministers from officials now circulating in Whitehall is understood to warn against the publication of backdated spending records as “a poor use of resources”. That conclusion is said to have been backed by Sir Gus.
Note that the defence is not that all such sums were repaid by the civil servants: as anyone who has ever had a company credit card knows you stick all sorts of stuff on it but then end up being challenged on each item and cough up a cheque for the personal expenditure.
Note also that the defence isn\’t that for, say, expenditure on an exhibition, this was necessary because the trade representative for Upper Cannibalistan wanted to see it and we\’re sucking up to him.
No, the defence is that supplying the information will cost more than the benefit of doing so. And I\’m afraid that, Sir Gus, when it comes to who has been living high on the hog on our money, we\’ll be the people who deliberate on that fucking question.
As with MPs, with senior police officers and now with the civil service.
Our money, our rules.
By the way, it\’s not actually very expensive to get this information. Just ask the credit card company for the credit card bills for the last decade and then pick any one of the national newspapers to give the whole bundle to.
We\’d be just delighted to go through it all for you.