October 27, 2017

The EU imprisons civil servants

The EU imprisons civil servants

 

Rather than being constrained by diktats from Brussels, UK civil servants now have the ability to think creatively about draft legislation tailoring it to UK needs. However, some are struggling to adapt to this new way of working, says John Redwood.

Civil service jobs have just got a lot more interesting. Instead of having to relay the EU instruction to a frustrated Minister the two can now work together on a better answer for the UK. It’s called democracy and it could catch on.

One of the strengths of the old UK constitution was an independent civil service. They could give honest and fearless advice to Ministers, who would make their decision following discussion with them. Civil servants would then implement the decision. Only Ministers announced and defended new policy. Ministers took the blame if mistakes we made whilst defending their officials who could not speak out for themselves.

This model was changed in two ways during our time in the EU. Government created more public bodies to carry out policy or to regulate. This gave to their senior officials a voice, and meant they had to accept responsibility themselves without the full protection of the Minister. As the powers of the EU expanded, spreading a vast canopy of EU law above our own law, so officials started telling Ministers that many of the things they wanted to do were illegal under EU law and therefore could not figure in the Ministerial decision. All too many so called Ministerial decisions were instructions from officials who took their orders from Brussels.

Now we are leaving the EU I am told some important officials are finding it hard to adjust to serve a sovereign UK government. They are still running to Brussels for instruction, and telling Ministers that things are against EU laws which Ministers wish to change or will no longer apply. It is true Ministers want to keep big areas of EU law like employment and environmental laws, but there are other areas where people and politicians want change.

Many want to press on with negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries. Some officials claim this is against EU law and cannot be done until we leave. I see no evidence of that in the Treaties. Clearly, we cannot sign a trade deal until the date we leave, but what is stopping sorting one out ahead of departure? To do so will not damage the EU. As we are leaving their jurisdiction there is no crime the day we leave.

We want a UK fishing policy. Let’s get on and design and legislate one so it’s ready for April 2019 when we depart. Of course, that’s against current EU rules, but as long as it only applies from the day we leave there is again no violation of the Treaty. Civil service jobs have just got a lot more interesting. Instead of having to relay the EU instruction to a frustrated Minister the two can now work together on a better answer for the UK. It’s called democracy and it could catch on.

4.88 avg. rating (97% score) - 34 votes
John Redwood MP
John Redwood MP

John Redwood is the Member of Parliament for Wokingham in Berkshire. He was formerly Secretary of State for Wales in Prime Minister John Major’s Cabinet. He is currently Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party’s Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness.

  • Joshuaatthewalls

    No sewage in Bradford or Rotherham much better spiced

  • Little Black Censored

    Were you a Fellow of All Souls?

  • Frank

    Indeed, in charge of sewerage in the Falklands, or St Helena, or Ascension Island, etc!

  • Malcolm

    They once said that the Titanic couldn’t sink; it did. Nothing is impossible given sufficient will, and 17.4 million people, plus now quite a few more I suspect, will Brexit to happen. It will.

  • Bosanova

    Is it not time to begin selectively applying new laws, even before we exit, as a means to signal our post-Brexit seriousness to the recalcitrant EU negotiation team?
    For example, we could zero tarif all coffee imports now. It would have a minor financial impact on our neighbours but sharpen the minds of German coffee roasters, and thus the minds of German politicians too. Technically it would be against EU laws and we might have to pay fines for the period to 2019. But I’m sure it would more than pay off. We Brits have been far to anal about goldplating every diktat emanating from Brussels for decades while many EU countries persistently flout them. Since we’re on our way out I suggest we break the habit now of trying to be the good European. What do we have to lose? It would even help persuade more Brits of the cheaper food costs upon exit that await us. From memory EU citizens pay an average 17% premium versus world food prices. I can’t wait to leave this protectionist racket.

  • Ray Visino

    Could you give some details about how primary schools promote extreme left post-modernist politics, I can’t quite work it out.

  • Ray Visino

    It is very unlikely that Brexit will even be possible. The whole episode is a disaster for our country and has already diminished our power and influence, let alone our economy.

  • Ray Visino

    The trouble is that John Redwood is a total twat with low IQ – so although he may have a point it is difficult to take him seriously or take any notice. He should stick to trying to sing the Welsh national anthem. What a joker.

  • A Tail End Paper, Please

    The Civil Service, all other public employees (especially teachers and the police)…

    Common Purpose Training…

    The long March through the institutions.

  • Fissionchips

    . . in that case send them on a ‘Civil Service life after BREXIT. Any that fail the course or just can’t hack it put them on unpaid gardening leave sine die.

  • Fissionchips

    . . and start by dismantling the BBC, brick by prick . .

  • Fissionchips

    Difficult to sack them so it’s better to move them to another post – but not a glamorous one or one that will allow them to gain promotion so easily. A posting to the falkland isles would seem to be appropriate.

  • Frank

    I am sure there is a textbook somewhere which reveals that if you haven’t had a revolution since 1649, your establishment gets a bit corrupt / hopeless / un-motivated to act for the public good. Hence the odd bit of Admiral Byng therapy helps the establishment to regain its focus!

  • MrVeryAngry

    I confess it was something like that that i had in mind….

  • Frank

    Good point, lets then follow the Admiral Byng approach!

  • gunnerbear

    So every thing was perfect then prior to Blair was it?

  • gunnerbear

    You’ll note that Price provides no documentary evidence….since when did you ever trust an politician on the basis of “I said so..”

  • The Banana

    Yup. The damage Blair did to the country will never be undone. And it’s everywhere. This is just one example.

  • k9patriot

    Say something against Muslims/women/homosexuals/transexuals and you would very quickly discover who has the power to sack people.

  • k9patriot

    The biggest mistake the incoming Conservative coalition made was not having a purge of the lefty liberals in the civil service. Blair overtly politicised the civil service and that bias needs eliminating.

  • GampUK

    Civil servants have just become functionaries, lazy pen pushers who now will have to work for a living.

  • Vera

    Not only that but be politically unbiased as they were before Bliar came into power and took a wrecking ball to our country.

  • Vera

    Do any of them ever get sacked? It was my impression when I worked as a technician in college which later became a university that there was no one around who had the power to sack you so behaviour which in the private sector would not have been tolerated for a moment was endemic.

  • SonofBoudica

    Several years ago, I advised a small company on whether it qualified as an SME for grant purposes. It did. The civil servants in Cardiff would not make up their minds though, and referred the matter to Brussels for a decision. Brussels confirmed my advice – nearly 2 years later. It was then too late for that company.

  • MrVeryAngry

    What worries me is that sacking alone might not be enough to rid us of their malignancy.

  • EthanEdwards2000

    we should fire a swathe of top civil servants right away. Starting with Sir Cover Up.
    To let the others know there’s a new sheriff in town. And he ain’t from Brussels.

  • Alan

    A very satisfying ownage of another eurotroll.

  • Frank

    Happy to, ideally with their suit sleeves being ripped off in the central courtyard!

  • NickG

    A big part of the problem is the senior civil servants coming through, and all of those below them have been steeped in extreme left, post-modernist politics in their primary, secondary and tertiary education; this puts a big, fat, heavy hand on the scale of normal perspective. The long march through the institutions is wreaking havoc to a basic common sense perspective. We get police men painting their nails and poncing around like drag queens, having rainbow paint jobs on police cars, and that’s just a surface symptom symptom of a far deeper, more insidious malaise.

    This issue of the havoc to civic society and to common sense wreaked by the successful long march through the institutions, has not been publicly acknowledged yet. It needs to be – clearly, loudly and often – before any chance of slowing it down, never mind reversing it, has any chance.

  • Stuart

    Go for four at least Frank. The rot starts at the top.

  • Frank

    I will meet you in the middle, lets sack all of the top three grades?

  • MrVeryAngry

    Well, maybe not ‘sack the lot’, but an extensive clear out must be on the cards.

  • 3aple

    I grew up being told our Civil Service functioned like a Swiss watch. ‘Course that was before everything went digital. But it does desperately need winding up every now and then. Has anyone told them Switzerland isn’t in the EU?

    .

  • Ian Walker

    We are always being told that our civil service is one of the brightest and best in the western world. It would be nice if they could step up to the plate. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

  • Robert

    “… so officials started telling Ministers that many of the things they wanted to do were illegal under EU law and therefore could not figure in the Ministerial decision. All too many so called Ministerial decisions were instructions from officials who took their orders from Brussels.”
    I rather suspect that is how they like it and don’t want it to change. Far more to their liking to flit between Brussels and Whitehall, cooking up and implementing all manner of regulations beyond the bothersome interference of pesky politicians – particularly if they happen to be Conservative ( the civil service is far more keen to forge ahead with the wishes of a Labour government – it’s partly why Labour governments invariably come unstuck!). They have grown accustomed to the meetings, the travel, the power afforded by sitting at the proverbial ‘big table’ in the cathedrals to unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels and elsewhere. It will only change if the top levels of the civil service change because everything flows down through the departments from there.

  • Malcolm

    A whole generation of civil servants, many now in very senior and influential posts, have known nothing but European law being pre-eminent for their entire careers. It will indeed take some mental adjustment for them to support the new order of things, but the real question is whether they will be prepared to do that, retire at the earliest opportunity, or simply try to undermine the very concept of a successful Brexit. The omens at the moment do not look good, but it is for ministers to exert their undoubted authority and root out those, regardless of seniority, who do not conform to the democratic reality. It would be bad enough if elected politicians attempted to thwart the expressed will of the people, explosive should bureaucrats and mandarins try.

  • Gloria Hole

    And Theresa May has foolishly listened to them since day 1.

  • Gloria Hole

    According to Lord Price we already have 60 rollover agreements in place around the world.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2f6b38b0f8ac621a0e0dcb1b93def9399aec01c580e7d522db69ef035c3ddedd.png

  • Frank

    So not only is the Foreign Office against this nation, but also the rest of the civil service! The only answer in both cases is to sack and keep sacking until you have got to the layer which is not infected!

  • fred finger

    “Many want to press on with negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries. Some officials claim this is against EU law and cannot be done until we leave. I see no evidence of that in the Treaties.” Even if there is, the law is sensible if taken from the viewpoint of a member of the EU. The EU insists on being the sole negotiator and so would not want a member state queering the pitch.

    However, it would have been written not expecting any member to be leaving. I do not expect any reasonable country, given the circumstance to be against ignoring this part of the treaties. The EU has imposed rules on art 50 that are not there; i.e. the sequencing, ignoring our new trading relationship.. It should be about pragmatism not pedantic interpretation of the treaties.

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