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The Tories haven’t been installing their people in quangos – but they should have

6 February 2014

6 February 2014

The accusation that the Tories have been installing their people in public appointments should evoke only a hollow laugh. They have been comatose on the subject. One of the greatest skills of New Labour was putting its allies in positions of control across the public sector. A great many are still there, and yet the Tories wonder why their efforts at reform are frustrated. Maggie Atkinson, for example, was imposed by Ed Balls, when in office, as Children’s Commissioner, against the recommendation of the relevant selection committee. She lingers on in her useless post. Lord Smith, the former Labour cabinet minister who has been flooding the Somerset levels, is still at the Environment Agency. Sally Morgan, appointed as chairman of Ofsted in a fit of ecumenism by Michael Gove three years ago, now berates him for politicising things because he is not renewing her contract. Yet she was one of New Labour’s Regius professors in the subject. Now the Liberal Democrats are having a go. Despite having succeeded in imposing the dreadful Professor Les Ebdon as Director of Fair Access to universities, thus getting their slice of coalition action on education, they are now trying to annex Conservative territory and prevent Gove appointing whom he wants as Lady Morgan’s successor. This is a world of perfect hypocrisy. Any governing party should appoint people who are sympathetic with its broad aims. If it doesn’t, it cannot achieve much of what it promised the electorate. Labour understood this. Unfortunately, until almost too late, the Tories didn’t.


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  • foxoles

    ‘ Labour understood this. Unfortunately, until almost too late, the Tories didn’t.’

    Everyone understood this; the public were screaming about it *before* the last election.
    If the Tories didn’t, then they must be even thicker (and deafer to public opinion) than they look. Which is really saying something.

  • David Prentice

    The impulse to cheat and fight dirty is instinctive to loony Labour, for whom the public teat is a matter of life and death. The Tories need to ditch their sense of fair play, break out the shivs and knuckle-dusters and steam in.

  • Lady Magdalene

    We saw in the run up to and during the 2010 GE campaign that the LibCONs have no political nous. They also don’t seem to have any “fight” in them whatsoever.
    They meekly allowed the BBC to make the political agenda and then they meekly played by the BBC’s rules, bowing and scraping to get approval from the liberal, unelected, unrepresentative BBC political machine.
    They failed to stop the BBC’s continual bias. They failed to hold the bonfire of the Quangos they promised. They didn’t even have the common sense (or balls) to start getting rid of the Labour Party’s Apparatchiks which infest the Quangocracy and Public Sector.
    No wonder they can’t win a General Election. They have no street fighting skills whatsoever.

  • DWWolds

    With the outburst from Sally Morgan and the questions on women ministers in PMQ there is a inkling of a pattern emerging pointing to one of Labour’s tactics going into the election. The Conservatives need to be sharpening up their act.

  • Tron

    Why are the Conservatives so bad at politics?
    They never seem to be up for the fight like the socialists.

    For example, every single Labour Government has ended in a financial mess with high unemployment but the Tories don’t have a simple slogan to make the point.
    By contrast, how many times have you heard “Tax cuts for millionaires” or “Thatcher shut down factories and mines out of spite, and wrecked the economy forever”.

    Where are the Tory attack dogs, are they hugging a husky?

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    After the cast-iron pledge and the greenest ever pledge and the EU budget cut pledge and the last minute Eastern European immigrant pledge and the electorial reform pledge, what next?

    – Electorate discover Quango bonfire never happened shocker –

    But that’s not it, is it? It does not stop there – now we are spoon-fed that Quangos actually have a purpose. We cannot just abolish them at all. No no no, that would be wrong. What we actually need to do is remove the top only.

    Dear oh dear chaps – that would be u-turn #118. You are frantic.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      The only pledge you can trust from dave comes in a can and polishes wood.

  • Peter Stroud

    I thought there was to be ‘a bonfire of quangos’. But we’ll gloss over that. At least the coalition could have replaced the Labour placements: starting with Lord Smith. However, many quangos should be chaired by persons with some specialist knowledge, and qualifications. The Environment Agency is one of those: and there are, no doubt, others.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Yet another article which is code for “The Tories are crap at politics”. Go figure.

    As it goes they shouldn’t have been seeding the quangos with their stooges they should have been abolishing the quangos. What happened to the bonfire?

  • Andy

    Cameron really is an oaf at times. First thing he should have done was dismiss every single Quango chairman and board and make a fresh start.

    • Mynydd

      Mr Cameron’s declared aim was to have a bonfire of Quangos.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Yeah, yeah, yeah.

        Your precious Labour party still sucks big time.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Blah, blah, blah, Tories, blah, blah, blah, wicked Tories, blah, blah, blah, blah, mrs Fatcher, blah, blah, blah etc etc

      • Andy

        Well lets make a start and chuck Sally Morgan and Chris Smith on the bonfire. That’s a start.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Hear, hear!

          • Andy

            Shall we raffle the chance of lighting said bonfire ??

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Dangerous. Crowd control would be an issue and the National Lottery would take no money that week.

  • Rockin Ron

    Great article, Mr Moore. You could also have added:

    – Adair Turner, former Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, former Chair of the Committee on Climate Change and incredibly Chair of the Financial Services Authority

  • an ex-tory voter

    On gaining control of the levers Cameron’s first and simplest task was to use the licence fee mechanism to pull the rug from under the BBC. He failed.

    The signs were not good then and everything he has done since indicates that he is never going to succeed. The man deserves an honorary degree in The Failure to Implement Conservative Policy.

    It is difficult to believe that a man who passed through Eton and went on to Oxford does not possess the intelligence to recognise conservative principles and the policies which would naturally follow from them. I therefore contend that his continual failure to do so must be deliberate.

    To complain is pointless, he has to go!!

  • RavenRandom

    Yes the Tories and Lib Dems should have systematically culled all Labour supporters from organisations that ultimately report to the Government. It is of course political bias, but you’ve been elected on a set of policies, it is logical to remove impediments to the elected will of the people.
    If you’re a manager in a private firm ultimately you remove subordinates who subvert your aims and block your plans.
    Nothing irrational or unfair about sacking the unelected who would defy the will of the elected.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      “If you’re a manager in a private firm ultimately you remove subordinates who subvert your aims and block your plans.”

      .

      If you’re a politician in government, you do that as well. That’s why the Camerluvvies appoint socialist replacements, and left all the current socialists in place. They didn’t want anybody subverting their aims, and blocking their plans, which are identical to the Millipede’s.

      You really need to get right with the fact that LibLabCon are clones.

      Now, Dave will probably ask you who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes?

      • RavenRandom

        I feel the LibLabCon classification is hard to justify; it’s clear the parties are different, and stand for different things.
        Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
        The Conservatives are or have been recently very poor political fighters.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          It’s not at all hard to justify. They do the same things. They enacted the same budget in 2010. They like the same quangocrats. They like the EUSSR. They’re clones.

          Why not attribute it to both malice and stupidity?

          Au contraire, the Cameroons are excellent political fighters. They get exactly what they want.

    • HookesLaw

      Until a contract runs out you cannot remove them without ending up with a case of unfair dismissal.
      Labour and the LDs have exposed themselves to be quite shabby. It just reinfoces the need to vote tory in 2015.

      • Ian Walker

        The obvious answer is that all public appointments should be made on contracts that expire 3 months after the next general election (and will thus be a generous 5 years in most cases)

        • Andy

          No. All these appointments should be made for the term of that Parliament, and when Her Majesty dissolves that Parliament that appointment comes to an end.

    • sarah_13

      Yes this is true. Part of the problem is having to manage the libdems and their responses to everything you do in government. The “enemy within” literally. Look what happens when Gove decides not to renew a contract, can you imagine not actually being able to discuss matters in government because you have the libdems sat in on all your meetings Very difficult in practice to do anything. I understand that part of the problem is also that you do have to wait until contracts expire, but even when that happens there are employment issues. Placing people in jobs for more than a couple of years means its very difficult to get rid of them in practice. That’s why labour placed so many people into these quangos and charities. I don’t understand why the conservatives don’t realise that that is all the labour party do, they spend their time thinking of ways to increase their power democratically or otherwise.

    • sarah_13

      Yes this is true. Part of the problem is having to manage the libdems and their responses to everything you do in government. The “enemy within” literally. Look what happens when Gove decides not to renew a contract, can you imagine not actually being able to discuss matters in government because you have the libdems sat in on all your meetings Very difficult in practice to do anything. I understand that part of the problem is also that you do have to wait until contracts expire, but even when that happens there are employment issues. Placing people in jobs for more than a couple of years means its very difficult to get rid of them in practice. That’s why labour placed so many people into these quangos and charities. I don’t understand why the conservatives don’t realise that that is all the labour party do, they spend their time thinking of ways to increase their power democratically or otherwise.

  • McRobbie

    Yup, labour play the “clever” game very well..spin and obfuscation are the basic election tools of lefties and we see it clearly here. Unfortunately tories are too open and focused on trying to save the country while labour are totally focused on getting back in power. Sadly they look as though they will keep control at some level as electoral reform was kicked out by the lib dems helped by some petty idiotic tory peers…and of course the inequality party of labour. So we start the circle of political life again..tories save the economy; labour get in power and spend it all and the tories get back in to save the economy and so on and so on.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Labour offer nothing but dividing the country into factions at perpetual war with each other, men against women, religion against religion, race against race, gays against straights, poor against rich, state schools against free schools, married against non-marrieds, young against old, devolved against united. They stoke up the sectarian angst with stupid nonsense like their hate speech and equality laws that result in more hate and more inequality and then have the gall to speak of ‘One Nation’. The left wing nutjobs and useful idiots who support this constant strife should be ashamed of themselves.

      Not so much a political party as a self-centred quasi-religious cult of negativity whose only real policy is the destruction of everything half decent and to discomfort the Tories as much as possible in the process.

    • Mynydd

      How about this for ‘spin and obfuscation’ there will be no top down reorganisation of the NHS or was it just lies.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Well at least the Tories didn’t preside over mid-Staffs and it’s 1,200 unnecessary deaths. That was Andy Burnham of the Labour Party or are you going to say it was all mrs Fatcher blah blah blah.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Yeah, yeah.

  • Ron Todd

    We seem to get the same small group of people moving between the Labour party, BBC, guardian, state funded charities and the top quango jobs. Can we not get to vote for the quango bosses or are we likely to vote for the wrong people.

    • Alexsandr

      No
      The quangoes should go
      why do we need the environment agency? Why cant it be just part of a government department. Same as the highways agency.
      Then they will be under proper political scrutiny

      • Ron Todd

        You are right there is a good argument for having some brought back into government properly and just getting rid of others.

        • starfish

          Problem is they are often established to permit long term planning away from political mood swings

          • Ron Todd

            If the people in charge are effectively political appointments the long term planning is likely to be towards a political goal.

      • Colonel Mustard

        When you hear the word ‘agency’ be afraid, be very afraid!

        • Ron Todd

          I look at the government then I look at the opposition and I am afraid.

  • johnfaganwilliams

    Totally agree Charles. Cameron and Co. have been asleep at the wheel on this one. You might also mention RSPCA and RSPB among dozens of charities that have been politicised by the Curse of Brown and his awful henchmen and women. RSPB supports wind turbines which kill birds – you can’t make this stuff up. And RSPCA pursues individual hunts which it believes might embarrass Cameron – wasting incredible amounts of money that could and should be spent on animal welfare. The sooner the heads of all these public bodies are replaced by independent thinkers or Conservatives the better. And while we are at it can we get the Department of Climate Change closed down on the basis that there isn’t any and Lord Smith hunted by vengeful Somerset farmers – preferably with dogs

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