16 May 2012

Euro wars, Tory wars and Whitehall wars

What is David Cameron up to warning of eurozone “break up?” No 10 says that it will be read in the chancelleries of Europe. Well, maybe, but there isn’t a great track record for Europe thanking London for megaphone diplomacy like this.

Truth is, London is readying itself for some truly horrible economic times if things get rougher still in the eurozone. There has been some gruesome gaming of the scenarios in the treasury for some time. If the worst happens, No 10 must look like it knew it might and wasn’t asleep at the bridge. So the warning is stark.

And the “I told you so” and “why didn’t you listen to our advice” lines are being polished up and readied for action. On top of this, David Cameron, in a speech tomorrow on the economy, and whenever else the opportunity presents itself, can be expected to attack the argument gaining ground in European political dialogue that there is a “growth versus austerity” choice.

Committee executive ballot

Meanwhile Davie’s troops are restless. Voting has just closed in the main commons committee room for the 1922 committee executive ballot. Results should come around 7.30pm or so. Both Chris Chope and Peter Bone look like getting the chop. One former minister just said to me it was a victory for “spineless stooges of the executive” and another MP said he thought that a new successor organisation to the 1922 committee would soon emerge from a meeting at a private address.

The truth is that the result could well be in the “grey area.” The 301 group – labelled by their opponents as loyalists and sycophants, defining themselves as young bloods – didn’t challenge for all the posts available so there was never going to be “clear-out” of the old 1922 team.

The opponents of what they see as the old crusties will be able to claim an advance, but they won’t have wiped out some Cameron-sceptics – both Graham Brady and Brian Binley were not been challenged.

Departure of Ian Whatmore

Elsewhere … not sure the perm sec at the Cabinet Office, Ian Watmore, is necessarily leaving to spend more time with his vicar wife. I hear that this is fall-out from the sustained attack some top mandarins feel there’s been from Steve Hilton backed by Francis Maude.

One particular part of the agenda, putting senior civil servants on short-term contracts, some top civil servants feel would seriously undermine their independence and make them too dependent on the favour of senior ministers. Mr Watmore, I hear, may not be the only departure.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

5 reader comments

  1. Philip says:

    What would be more useful than bashing Permanent Secretaries or putting them on short term contracts would be to undertake a thorough examination of a role that goes back to the 19th century & considering how best a modern Government Department should be managed. there is no private sector equivalent to the permanent secretary, a role which includes a wide range of functions and leades to the appointment of so many generalist civil servants who have no real idea how to manage – not least large IT programmes. A more professional allocation of roles at Board levels in the Civil service should lead to more skilled professionals undertaking the work rather than highly intelligent amateurs. For instance, what exactly was Sir Gus O’Donnell’s serious management experience befor ehe became Head of the Civil Service?

  2. Citizen Smith says:

    I think its clear, based on the last few days, that the various governments, commentators and government advisors and bankers haven’t got a frickin’ clue.

    Deck chairs on the Titanic….. or maybe each country takes the Icelandic approach?

  3. Kate says:

    Gary – I am loving your reporting of this pantomime of knee jerking and posturing by our lords and masters. Thank you – and keep up the humour. God knows we need it.

  4. wif2waf says:

    just watching channel 4 +1 news looking at the map and not sure they know the difference between slovenia and slovakia! slightly worrying

  5. fleche_dor says:

    With hindsight it seems like the

    war on Euro was wasted effort and Diplomatic credibility and goodwill with vital allies,

    war on civil service was little more than scapegoating (see further example of recent removal of respected Sir Bob Kerslake),

    war on backbenchers has yet to bear fruit – perhaps those twitchy about losing seats next year or on “The Referendum” will start to take pot shots soon?

Comments are closed.