Saturday, 23 January 2010

Why we really can't wait for a General Election....

As I write this blog post, the country is floating on stormy seas, and no one with any kind of competence has a hand on the tiller. On Thursday it emerged that poor financial decisions by the government have led to many of our anti-terror projects being cut back or scrapped all together. Today we have more signs that we have been cast adrift by Gordon Brown and his Labour party. The head of the civil servants' union, Jonathan Baume, told the Guardian:
"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.

"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."
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.

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 It is hamstrung by an inter-service rivalry that is out of date and now manifests itself publicly in arguments about cuts.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.


Sue said...

Will someone please tell Nero then?

Paul Owen said...

We can't wait for a general election but we'll have to. As I said on my blog today, the evidence is mounting that Brown won't even quit as Labour leader if he loses the election. In the meantime he is doing the Micawber act and hoping for something to turn up. Don't be surprised if he dithers all the way until June.

Alan Douglas said...

G brown claims to be a very shy man. Funny then that he trust himself into a job at the very heart of the country's (if not the world's) focus of attention.

Perhaps we should all wish him the very shy person's well-deserved obscurity ? The sooner the better.

Alan Douglas