A culture of briefing and smearing against civil servants is now the norm amongst responsible ministers and this is a deeply shaming thing. Or to be more precise, it’s what the Cameron-end of the Conservative Party alone has achieved, for this vice is exclusively restricted to them. There’s no evidence that either the handful of traditional Tories in office are engaging in it, nor that the Lib Dem ministers are behaving in this degraded fashion: it’s just the people who have been briefing against other people for a decade now who are still at it.He selects little Gove at Education as the worst sinner against the sacred civil servants, and that is simply absurd. The Edustablishment declared war on him from his first day in office, and their attempts to embarrass him and the tsunami of leaks coming out of that dire department has magnificently upheld Whitehall's global reputation for competence only in treachery.
The same journalists who take this poison against civil servants are the same hacks who are furthering the Cameroon spin against William Hague, Andrew Lansley and Liam Fox. The sordid enthusiasm with which the Prime Minister’s allies stoked up the Foreign Secretary’s difficulties last year is well enough known, but it’s the pre-emptive blame-shifting in the direction of the Health Secretary which is baffling. If the Prime Minister really believes – as opposed to his merely being habitually frit at the approach of more heavy weather – that the health reforms are being mishandled, why is he allowing Lansley to continue his supposed ‘mismanagement’ of them?So Guido Fawkes, who started the Hague is gay hare, is part of the Cameron spin machine? As to Fox, he has presided over the most catastrophic Defence review since the appalling Nott, and if he is being put in the frame for something run by Cameron, then he should resign. Finally, Lansley is a cow (bull would suggest he had a pair, which clearly he does not) in Britain's most iconic institutional china shop, and Cameron would be insane not to make some space between them.
But the most astonishing thing remains that Tebbit, who knows damned well how the bureaucrats extorted privileges from Thatcher in return for not sabotaging her administration, should think they are poor little things who need defending from the sheep in sheep's clothing of the Coalition government.