A dragon's best friend


Some ponderings and questions on what should – and should not be in these documents which will soon be mandatory for all Whitehall departments.

I should declare an interest first in that I’m working on a commission for one department that links to digital media strategies. Cabinet Office recently launched its own digital strategy, which I commented on here. Also, Sir Bob Kerslake confirmed that all Whitehall departments will have to have their own digital strategies.

Sell sell sell!!!!

“No! No! No!” is my response. Some of you may be familiar with my thoughts on social media in a political/policy sphere following the digital wave event I was at. Many of the digital natives I interact with both online and off have come to a similar conclusion about social media:

“Don’t let your marketing people near it”

To which I concur. All too often, they…

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It’s been announced that the new governor of the Bank of England is going to be Mark Carney, currently governor of the Bank of Canada, when his term expires in 2013. George Osborne – who knows Carney through their membership of the secretive ‘Bilderberg group’ of power-brokers – considers him the ‘Carlsberg’ of candidates. BBC News showed him defending Carney’s high salary and saying:

He is quite simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to be the next governor of the Bank of England and to help Britain’s families and businesses through these difficult economic times.

Probably. So much for the hyperbole. A little research will show that Carney has the confidence of most of the world’s financial community. The same financial community that took us into the mess that ordinary British people are now being expected to pay for.

But what does Carney’s…

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The question is simple.  Will electoral registration become compulsory? An answer in June 2012 from the Cabinet Office is not the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ we might have expected:

The Electoral Registration and Administration Bill provides that Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) will be able to issue a civil penalty to individuals who, when required to make an application, fail to do so. There will be safeguards in place to ensure that only those who refuse repeated invitations can be fined, and registration officers will have to take specific steps to encourage an application before they can issue a fine. We expect the number of fines levied to be similar to the number of prosecutions for failing to respond to the canvass under the current system, of which there are approximately 150 per year. This will provide strong encouragement for people to do their civic duty and register to vote…

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The legal challenges Cameron want to scrap in future

I’m re-blogging an article from the New Statesman by George Eaton. It is about the implications of David Cameron’s plan to abolish equality impact assessments and restrict judicial review. 

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A couple of weeks ago, Labour voted with Tory rebels to pass a motion demanding a cut in Britain’s contribution to the EU budget, after David Cameron had indicated that he’d love to achieve a cut but would accept a freeze. The move drew criticism from some commentators (and naturally from ministers of the defeated government) that instinctively Europhile Labour had acted cynically and tactically in order to inflict a defeat on Cameron.

Well, it’s Labour’s job to do everything it can to oppose, impede, weaken and hasten the end of what is the most radically right-wing and ideologically ambitious government in my lifetime, outstripping even Thatcher in her zeal to dismantle the state and impose an ‘everyone for himself’ regime on this country. It’s also worth noting that, in signalling in advance what he was prepared to accept, Cameron showed himself to be a very poor negotiator – but…

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For a short period back in 2008 there was a blog published by the name of Civil Serf, Civil Serf was pretty much an insignificant blog written by a civil service middle manager but had a habit of upsetting a few people. Since those few people tended to be senior civil servants in the Department of Work and Pensions and government ministers it was not long before Civil Serf was suspended and (I suspect) dismissed. Like Civil Serf, from whom I have plagiarised the title Public Serf I do not write under my own name, unlike Civil Serf I will try to make criticisms of individual politicians substantive rather than personal.

I am a relative nobody in public service, a trade union representative, a Labour Party member and a socialist. This blog gives me an opportunity to exercise my article 19 UDHR rights while limiting the likelihood that I will be sacked for expressing these. My name is Stephen and I have worked for both the civil service and local government, you don’t need to know any more!

As civil serf showed government is made up of some ineffectual and highly narcissistic individuals – that is not a party political point. I have the opportunity to see some very poor Labour ministers and work and, likewise, seen some highly competent Conservatives at work, even though I detest their politics. Neither does this blog signal I am not a professional – my job is to implement to the best of my ability the policies and directions of our elected leaders – however toxic those policies may be. Unless the BNP and their ilk gain power at which point I will already have resigned from my post I will continue to serve elected leaders impartially (or, at least, as impartially as I can).