Ex-MP Paul Goodman wrote an interesting piece on ConservativeHome today about his concerns over the civil service at Westminster and the alleged growing problems the government are having in dealing with them.
On the whole it’s pretty well-balanced, but one section in particular stuck out to me.
As Goodman outlines his three areas of concern and experience in dealing with the civil service, he comments on something that Conservative Ministers with experience of government allegedly all continually claim, namely the declining standards of the civil service.
This, it is claimed, can be blamed on,
Labour’s “diversity agenda” for the civil service…background or gender or ethnicity came to count for more than ability
So let’s get this straight, the reason there have been declining standards in the civil service is because Labour insisted that the civil service hire more working class people, more women and more black and asian or other ethnic minority people?
Because obviously there are no working class people, women or ethnic minorities who can possibly write letters in clear English, which is what Paul Goodman uses as an example of declining standards.
Are Tory Ministers really claiming that standards have declined because more women work in the civil service?
Do they look at a woman or someone with a regional accent and automatically believe they must have gotten there because of their gender or class and not on account of their own talents?
Have they taken a note of every poorly drafted letter and noted who wrote it, and checked to see if it was a woman, a black person, or something from the North of England?
How many Tory Ministers actually have previous experience of government? There can’t be many – Ken Clarke springs to mind. Who else has these ridiculous views?
The funny thing is these Ministers would never have the guts to say this publicly because they know the public would excoriate them, so instead they whisper it anonymously to journalists so they can drip feed their poison into the media without ever having to be held accountable for their views.
At Bradford Council we’ve announced we’re looking at ways we can tackle under-representation of ethnic minorities at a senior Council level. I’m confident we can do so without declining standards, even if anonymous Conservative Ministers would appear to disagree.
The article is about issues concerning the civil service, but it shows up the issues many people have with politicians too.