"At the moment No 10 is seen as a blockage. There's almost a mood where civil servants try to keep No 10 out because you can't get clear decisions. It's not sustainable in the longer term. The next government has got to work more clearly, it's got to take decisions at the centre, because you don't have that now.In the Navy we had an acronym for this kind of behaviour. In the last few months of a three year sea draft you would become RDP. It stood for "run down period", and it basically meant that you were treading water, just keeping things ticking over, knowing that you would soon be leaving the ship (probably), never to return. The saying was "Don't ask me, I'm RDP". This is exactly what we are seeing from Gordon Brown and his Cabinet, and the sooner the General Election comes, the better.
"The dysfunction is partly political and partly organisational. No one is clear how the Treasury, the prime minister's office and the Cabinet Office actually loop together and come up with a coherent policy initiative. When Gordon Brown became prime minister no clear direction ever emerged from him." He added that there was: "a sense of malaise at the political level. Some ministers have clearly given up the fight and are focusing on what happens after the election. It's a very strange atmosphere."
We have also had former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown telling the Telegraph that:
"In the Ministry of Defence we have a department that is not fit for purpose. We have a department whose performance against its Public Service Agreement targets has been steadily declining since 2005. "At the moment the MoD is sclerotic and resistant to change – the very faults identified by Kipling after the Boer War. It is hamstrung by an inter-service rivalry that is out of date and now manifests itself publicly in arguments about cuts. "We are currently trying to maintain the myth that we can have full-spectrum Armed Forces ready to operate anywhere in the world. "Only the Americans and perhaps the Chinese can afford to do that."The Ministry of Defence being not fit for purpose does not - as Jonathan Baume pointed out - make it unique amongst government departments. We need change now, we need leadership now, but most of all, we need a General Election now. We can't go on with an RDP government.