This is a post by Paul Goodman, originally published on ConservativeHome. It's message is so important that I asked Tim M if I culd publish it in full here
This is a true story.
A friend of mine recently met a Labour-appointed and Labour-supporting Quangocrat.
“Is the Government asking you to make cuts in your budget,” asked my friend, “and if so, what are you doing?”
“It's very difficult,” the Quangocrat replied. “Obviously, we don't want to make cuts in our budget. But my first duty is to the Ministers who appointed me. I'm drawing up a plan for savings that won't make headlines - a recruitment freeze, more early retirements, back-office savings, that sort of thing. No cuts to politically-sensitive projects with a high public profile.”
“And if a new Conservative Government asks you to make cuts in your budget,” asked my friend, “what will you do?"
“It's very simple,” the Quangocrat replied. “Obviously, we don't want to make cuts in our budget. And my first duty is to the organisation I serve. I'm drawing up a plan for savings that will be made in a way that the public will notice.”
“Cuts to politically-sensitive projects with a high-profile?” asked my friend.
“In a way that the public will notice,” repeated the Quangocrat.
We should listen and learn - because we've a choice, if elected.
Option One is to leave all the Labour-appointed and Labour-supporting Quangocrats in place - because it's the least controversial, most painless, easiest course to take. But if left in place, the same Quangocrats will, if asked to make savings:
* Say publicly that they've “grave reservations” about “cuts that threaten the whole future of Britain's [fill in here] industry” and that they “weren't appointed to preside over the end of the [fill in here] industry in Britain”.
* Brief privately that Ministers are “throwbacks to the Thatcher era” who “refuse to listen” and by “letting the market rip” are re-enacting “the worst excesses of the 1980s”.
- and then either -
* Resign (Unlikely: bad for salary, worse for pension.)
* Be sacked (More likely: good for the memoirs, even better for the serialisation deal.)
* Stay in place (Most likely, as Ministers agonise over what's to be done - while cuts take place in a way that the public notices, and hostile coverage of the Government mounts).
Option Two is to sack the most recalcitrant Quangocrats right at the start - pour encourager les autres. Problem solved.
Ah, you object - but these Quangocrats will still be paid off. And sacking them is difficult.
To which my reply is: yes, it's difficult. But if sacked, they won't be in place to make cuts that cause maximum damage to both their organisation and the Government. Or complain that “heartless Tories fired me for defending Britain's [fill in here] industry”.
Or make that serialisation deal..