Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Omnia Vanitas

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.  So Cameron appoints a photographer, a web-designer, a brand-management specialist and a diary-spad for Sam to the Civil Service: 26 appointments in all - and all this at a time of public sector cutbacks and Civil Service redundancies.  Tsk eh?  Why can’t the Government use Civil Servants already there?
Personally, I blame the West Wing.  That sentimental load of lefty wishful-thinking has so successfully infected the British political classes that they all see themselves as operating in a Washington-type system, and one of the things that characterises the American way of doing things is that the new administration brings in a new team.  People who ran elements of the campaign (like photography or website-management) get brought in to do the same job in Government.  And why not?  It’s a very strange rule that being successful in doing your job means that you should automatically lose it.
In part this is also a function of the (historically unusual) pattern of long periods of opposition.  Labour were out of power for 18 years, the Tories for 13 years.  You get used to appointing your own staff over that sort of time frame, and that is of course what Short Money is for.  On the actual merits of the appointments, I really don’t see it as particularly scandalous that the Government is finding ways for people to continue to do the same job in Government as they did in opposition.
Which means, ironically, that the biggest problem in appointing people to handle aspects of PR for the Government has been that it looks so bad.  Is this an indication that these people are desperately needed, or that they clearly aren’t as good at their job as they think they are?


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