Imagine we accept that this is true

Britain’s most senior civil servant has backed Whitehall critics and admitted that the government does not have the “skills and experience” needed to tackle the biggest challenges facing the country.

In a letter to The Times Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said many officials lacked the “technical and specialist knowledge” necessary to fulfil the government’s post-pandemic reform plans. He said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the former head of the successful vaccine task force, who this week warned that civil service “groupthink and risk aversion” was leaving the country exposed to a range of future threats from climate change to cyberwarfare.

OK,so what do we do about it? Clearly, once we accept they’re not competent to deal with such questions then we stop asking them to deal with such questions – they’re incompetent, d’ye see?

The British civil service – the only argument we need in favour of minarchy.

29 thoughts on “Imagine we accept that this is true”

  1. Since the groupthink on CC is exactly what Bingham wants, i.e. we’re all going to roast like chickens if we don’t return to a Stone Age standard of living, what is the problem?

  2. I’ve long been of the view that we should recruit fewer classicists, and instead insist that anyone on fast track should have at least one good STEM qualification.

  3. So our government is comprised of elected politicians that don’t know what they’re doing, and civil servants that don’t know what they’re doing. I’m reminded of the eleventh commandment, “Fucketh not with that which thou comprehendeth not.”

  4. The case against scientists includes Mrs Thatcher falling for the Global Warming scam and Mrs Merkel going bonkers on nuclear power and Covid.

    An even stronger case is made just by looking at our recent Chief Scientific Advisers.

  5. I’ve long been of the view that we should recruit fewer classicists, and instead insist that anyone on fast track should have at least one good STEM qualification.

    I’m of the opinion that the state should be as small as possible and do as little as possible, then it won’t matter what degrees the mandarins take.

    Also, if the civil service being stacked with arts grads will prevent the government implementing its post-pandemic plans then we need more of ’em.

  6. We are the ones who must stop the Marxist wibble and we do that by taking no notice of it.

    And firing all 5000 odd Senior Civil Servants without compo or pension. And with a high quality beating as a goodbye gift.

  7. Seems to me we’re always better off with incompetent partisan civil servants versus competent expert partisan civil servants.

    Unless they’re OUR partisans, but how often does that happen?

  8. Longrider, I was wondering whether Steve’s idea of throwing them to the lions was an older and thus a better approach.

    But then I remembered that they’ve dug people out of bogs, who were hanged and chucked in the mire back in the early bronze age.

    So hanging is the traditional method of giving them the chop!!!!

  9. @CJ Nerd

    “I’ve long been of the view that we should recruit fewer classicists, and instead insist that anyone on fast track should have at least one good STEM qualification.”

    I used very much to think that, but nowadays I probably think the complete opposite. Knowing Latin and having read the classics is a great education. It has been somewhat of a sadness to me that none of my kids have wanted to do Latin.

  10. “I’ve long been of the view that we should recruit fewer classicists, and instead insist that anyone on fast track should have at least one good STEM qualification.”

    It ain’t really about that. Neil Ferguson has a STEM qualification. His work is worthless, though. The people in Tesco who do stock control add more value than he does.

    Most of the problems in government aren’t about employing credentialised people, it’s about incentives and being smart. I’ve done software projects in businesses for people without STEM qualifications, or often with no degree at all, and they go reasonably well. But, they all have shareholders wanting to see something delivered for their money (and soon!) and government isn’t like that.

  11. Simon Case has BA and PhD in history. He is also just coming up to his 43rd birthday; accordingly the UK is likely to benefit from his skills for a long time.

    Comments above:
    dearieme: An even stronger case is made just by looking at our recent Chief Scientific Advisers.
    Tractor Gent: Scientists aren’t engineers. Different mindset.

    I am reminded of the aphorism: “An engineer is someone who can make, for sixpence, what any fool can make for a shilling.”

    And ask:
    How many are there in the Cabinet that have an engineering degree or equivalent experience?
    Is there a government Chief Engineering Advisor?

    On Ask One, I have checked. Of the 23 full Cabinet members, there are 2 with a science background. The number with any engineering background is not the obvious answer, but is close to it.

    Keep safe and best regards

  12. @Johnnybonk Why on earth have kids learn a dead language en masse when there’s proper translations into Modern readily available?

    Learning latin and ancient greek is a waste of time nowadays. That’s 4-8 hours a week that could be used to teach something useful and relevant to this century.
    And ( assuming proper education. Big caveat, I know, but… ) the translated works can still be used in any of the other relevant subjects you’d want the kids to dodge homework spend time on.

  13. People who have studied Latin and Greek are possibly less likely than those who haven’t to wish to tear down statues.

  14. A friend of a friend (senior bod in mobile technology) decided he should ‘give something back’ and applied for a civil service job promoting the 5G rollout. He was interviewed by a team of mandarins – after about 10 minutes he told them he’d like to ask them all a question: “Can anyone with a science or technology qualification raise their hand?” He raised his own hand – nobody else moved.

  15. You don’t study Latin or Greek to be able to read Latin or Greek literature, you do it to understand how a language is structured, and consequently how *things* are structured.

  16. @TMB Only if you equate “studying Latin and Greek” with “Having Had a Solid Education”. Which is not true.

    Quite a few of the promotors of statue-unseating past and present have had a Classic Education.. And it is them that bestir the Basket-Weavers.

  17. @jgh. Never needed a shred of latin or greek to understand the laws of thermodynamics and other things of such bent. Y’know, those rules that actually explain how *things* work.

    At my old highschool the hours not wasted in dead languages were spent on actual exam subjects, in my case physics and chemistry. Oh, and english, that being the prime language of scientific publication.
    As much as I hate that cesspit of oppression and conformism in other ways, that bit they at least got right.

  18. Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said many officials lacked the “technical and specialist knowledge” necessary

    Mr Case, if you are the senior civil servant and, therefore, presumably in charge, isn’t it your job to solve the problem rather than whingeing to the Times?

  19. @Grikath “@jgh.

    Language qua language is not structured, the structure is something imposed on it by those who would like to think language is structured and should work like a formal logic.

  20. I did Latin for 2 years at age 12. For the two lower forms in my grammar school it was not compulsory. As I was relatively good at it relative to my peers my Latin teacher pleaded with me to continue to O level. This was when Latin was still a requirement for Oxbridge. However I wanted to do Engineering Workshop Theory and Practice, which was much more attractive to my mind than Latin at the time. However that grounding in the language has been very useful in understanding languages subsequently, and the reasons for English’s rich store of synonyms.

  21. “People who have studied Latin and Greek are possibly less likely than those who haven’t to wish to tear down statues.”

    OTOH it’s the Greeks who gave us iconclasm, both the word and the practice!

  22. Vroom, vroom.
    I will be tough on the clowns and idiots who run our country, to win more votes.
    Vroom, vroom.
    You can trust me. Do you want to be a liar like me? Back me, vote for me. Vote for me. Make Britain the liar that sleeps with your wife. Vote for me, and I will bang your wife.
    Vroom, vroom.

    When you vote for me you can live in a fantasy world like my promises.
    Vroom, vroom.

  23. BtL–Fuck off m8. Hating Johnson but writing shite little poems=zero.

    Do something to get rid of the fat bastard and all UK political/bureaucratic scum.

  24. Happily, Latin can now be learned, or at least studied, late in life due to the abundance of resources such as YouTube and the many easy readers obtainable from Amazon.

    For most of my life the only Latin word I knew was the word for ‘boy’, which I learned off Carry On Cleo.

    I now know a few more.

  25. @Roué le Jour – “So our government is comprised of elected politicians that don’t know what they’re doing, and civil servants that don’t know what they’re doing.”

    Yes, but note the civil servants know and proclaim their ignorance in the hope of getting assistance, while the politicians claim to know everything in the fear of being exposed.

    @asiaseen – “Mr Case, if you are the senior civil servant and, therefore, presumably in charge, isn’t it your job to solve the problem rather than whingeing to the Times?”

    Qyite obviously not. The civil servants are not, and are not supposed to be, in charge. The elected government is supposed to be in charge and the civil service informs the government and follows its instructions.

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