Friday, May 21, 2010

Did the civil service help with the coalition agreement?

Mike Smithson has an interesting post at "Political Betting" here in which he notes how well drafted the coalition agreement is and wonders if the civil service helped to draft it.

It is part of the job of the civil service to be ready for any realistically possible change of government in the run up to an election and to be prepared to assist whatever potential government might emerge. I am sure Mike is right that they will have

"had a draft “Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement” all ready to be taken off the shelf"

and I'm sure they also had a draft Labour - Liberal Democrat deal ready etc.

Don't write off the preparation David Cameron's team did, however. DC learns from other people's mistakes as well as his own. He was always determined that, if he won, he was not going to repeat Tony Blair's mistake of getting to Downing Street and not knowing what to do with victory.

1 comment:

Jane said...

The Tories have been accused of being light on policy. Anyone who goes onto the Conservatives website can see that nothing could be further from the truth. It is evident that an immense amount of work has gone into producing policy documents. Gordon Brown's procrastination over when to announce the election date provided plenty of time for policy to be formulated and refined. Shadow Ministers (now for the most part ministers) had been preparing briefs on what they would do on coming to power.

Clearly the Civil Service will have had their say. It would have been their job to prepare for all eventualities in order to see a smooth transition to a new government. Those eventualities would have included the options pertaining to a hung Parliament. I am also certain that civil servants would have had a role in refining the details and providing expert advice. Unlike under the previous Government, the professional opinions of civil servants are welcomed by ministers. It must come as a great relief to civil servants.

Hopefully we have now returned to administration by competent staff, good Government with clear objectives and strategies, which is transparent and accountable. Most refreshing of all is the resurrection of the English language and the elimination of the of the parallel universe constructed of Labour spin speak.

David Cameron is to be commended for his professionalism and diplomacy in the handling of the hung Parliament situation. His true talents are coming to the forefront. If he continues along these lines he could go down in history as one of our greatest statesmen. Time will tell.