John Ward – Examined : How The Coalition Set Out The Rules Of Fair Play In 2011…And Then Broke All Of Them – 15 April 2015


Warning: for all those readers suffering from an ethical disposition, prepare to hurl down the big white telephone.

When the Camerlition came to power, it decided that – being a new advanced twin-turbo Camerclegg version of the Mark I Britorio economy driving-machine – the complex not to say compromised technology involved would require a user’s manual.

This guide to honest governance was released (probably following psychiatric tests) on October 11th 2011. So if you’re into the new penchant for describing all atrocities by numbers, then think of it as 101111. The foreword from David Camshaft is enough to get those digestive juices preparing for reverse thrust:

‘On entering government I set out,

with the Deputy Prime Minister, our

shared desire for a political system

that is looked at with admiration

around the world and is more

transparent and accountable.’

Sound of fully conscious British person starting to belch, and complain of feeling unwell.

‘For the first time the conventions

determining how the Government operates are

transparently set out in one place….This country

has a rich constitution developed

through history and practice, and the Cabinet

Manual is invaluable in recording this and in

ensuring that the workings of government are

far more open and accountable.’

Noises off incuding “bloooorrrrraarrggurrggg”, “Huweeeeeeguurrrg” and “Fucking hypocrite”. (Some of us have stronger stomachs than others).

The age-old rule of the lady protesting too much applies: admired around the world, rich constitution, double helpings of open, transparent and accountable. The second onanist pols have to persuade sociopathic Sir Humphreys to slots in such words with guilty regularity, it is clear to all that they’re sitting on thrones and going through the motions.

The link to this fabulous bodice-ripper is here, but I thought a few jewels would suffice to save you plodding through the full mendacity of it all:


of the Crown are expected to behave in

a way that upholds the highest standards

of propriety, including ensuring that

no conflict arises or appears to arise,

between their public duties and their

private interests.’

Well they do say that the difference between expectation and achievement generates most humour, and that applies in this case – see Hunt, J, Johnson, B, Osborne G, Shapps G.

But for sheer yes-and-no-maybe lying, this is a peach:

‘The principle

of collective responsibility, save where it is

explicitly set aside, requires that Ministers

should be able to express their views

frankly in the expectation that they can

argue freely in private while maintaining

a united front when decisions have been


Right everybody, pay attention: there is a principle at stake here, and it is that whenever somebody’s banker mates have been forced to set aside rather than go to jail, even though you know Bob Diamond is a lying embezzler, you must sit in City Hall and describe him as a fine and upstanding person, because there is a principle at stake here and that is when an ally is threatened you must lie for it is the patriotically selfish-bastard thing so to do. This is even more important if you are a Cabinet Member, where all the principals must remember that there is a principle at stake here, and it is that the very highest standards of behaviour are expected from you, and as it’s highly likely that your central role in the fraudulent manipulation of the Libor rate might come to light, it is your solemn duty to sit on the public accounts committee and flay Bob Diamond alive for doing something to which you were an accomplice.

See Johnson, B, Fallon, M, and Osborne, G.

For blandness, this is clearly the winner:

‘The agenda

for Cabinet usually includes Parliamentary

business, domestic and foreign affairs,

and topical issues.’

This is such a shame. I was rather hoping it might include more racey topics like which Senior Policeman the Home Secretary is shagging, the commodity futures market for cocaine, why the prospective purchasers of Jeremy Hunt’s shambles sorry company Hotcourses dropped it like a white-hot potato when they saw the books, new revelations about to break about Grant Shapps and his multiple personality problem, giving thanks to the Almighty for Lord Brittan’s death, and the plan to assassinate Cliff Richard before he spills the beans.

And finally, if you can make sense of this classic piece of Kafkaesque doublethink, than you are a better person than I, Gunga Din:

‘Where a minister is unable to attend a

Cabinet committee, with the consent

of the chair, he or she may nominate a

junior minister to attend instead. This will

normally be another minister from the

same department. However, attendance

at Cabinet meetings cannot be delegated.’

It’s not just me, is it? You can nominate a junior minister to attend Cabinet on your place, but your attendance in Cabinet cannot be delegated. So to nominate is never to delegate. It is decreed. The Junior Minister will attend as a nominee not a delegate. The Junior must sit there and take notes to record any signs that the Secretary of State is being varietally stabbed in the back during his absence. But he or she is not a delegate. So if there is a Cabinet vote, he must abstain. This means his boss could well be stitched up during his absence, and thus we are led to ask whatTF is the point of the nominee being there other than to update upon plots against his boss?

And the answer is, “So I the Secretary of State for the Environment can write in my £3m upfront memoirs that I was not present at the Cabinet meeting where the decision was taken to frack the shit out of the UK water supply, but had I been there history would’ve taken a very different turn”.

So there we have it – the manual: it’s a manual shift gearbox that will change according to the desire of senior Ministers to trouser large amounts of money from despicable publishers, while searching desperately for a legacy.

I’m sure you will join me in hoping that sooner rather than later the car of British governance will revert to automatic shift.

I am grateful to Irish Slogger Christo for pointing me at the evidence behind this post

Earlier at The Slog: Dave Cameron’s sexy 16-pinter. / link to original article


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