Tag Archives: francis maude

Opinion: Lib Dems should say “No, Minister” to Tory plans to politicise the Civil Service

An initiative by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, should be a cause of considerable alarm for Liberal Democrats. According to the Independent, Maude has proposed a massive expansion of politically-appointed civil servants. The details are rather sketchy. But it seems obvious that if Francis Maude gets his way it will hugely reduce the effectiveness of government.

There are countless problems with an apolitical Civil Service. It is traditionally seen as a bastion of Establishment moderation and elitism. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest this has more than a grain of truth. The success of Yes, Minister

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Three hours on Sunday morning – and three examples of LibDems thwarting Tory extremism

Paul Waugh on PoliticsHome gives three examples where the LibDems “put the brakes on” Conservative policy aspirations in just three hours yesterday morning:

First, Danny Alexander chucked a large bucket of cold water over Tory hopes of abolishing the 50p tax rate, saying:

It’s very very important indeed that we continue to ensure that the wealthiest in society pay a fair contribution. That’s what the 50p rate is doing. We’ll see what the numbers show; I expect it is making money for the Government.

…Well, he’s in a good position to know.

Second, on Sunday AM, Francis Maude raised the spectre of increasing …

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Opinion: Sense prevails on public services?

The reports this week were that the Government is planning to scale back its proposals for outsourcing public services. A significant policy shift means that the delayed Open Public Services White paper will not feature proposals for “wholesale outsourcing” to the for-profit private sector when it finally emerges in a few weeks time.

Notes drawn up by the CBI following a meeting with Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, leaked to the BBC, suggest that the Government remains committed to “transforming services”. But the White Paper will focus on moving services from the public sector to charities, social enterprises, and employee-owned …

Posted in Op-eds | 2 Comments

Opinion: Should we be concerned about the Government’s attempted quangocide?

Quangos – Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations – occupy a strange place in the British political landscape. They tend to proliferate because governments can’t resist seeing new commissions for this or advisory panels for that as essential, while rarely deciding that existing bodies have outlived their usefulness. Yet, the term “quango” inhabits the same discursive space as “bureaucracy”. There is an engrained association with waste, inefficiency, red tape and pointless interfering. In many people’s minds, and frequently in political rhetoric, “quango = bad” by definition. (For a discussion of a similar equation regarding bureaucracy, see here on my blog.) So, the …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Census preparations to go ahead for 2011

The UK Statistics Authority has confirmed that preparations for the 2011 Census in England and Wales on 27 March 2011 “will now press ahead with all speed”:

The Statistics Authority is determined that, with the full support of the Government and all the other parties concerned, the 2011 Census will be the success that the country needs it to be, and will provide the information about our population which can only be derived from the full-scale Census, which has now been confirmed.

This came in response to an answer by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, to a Written Parliamentary Question.
However, the 2011 Census could be the last of its type:

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Opening up data: the experience with election data

A review has just been published into the ‘Open Election Data’ project, which was an attempt to make local election results available from councils in a format which would allow others to collate, republish, analyse or otherwise use the data. (At the moment the data is often put online in very inaccessible and inconsistent ways – e.g. one council might have election results in a pdf, another in a graphic file, another as text on the page and so on.)

The list of lessons learnt from the project casts a wider light on why the public sector so often seems …

Posted in News | 4 Comments

Government websites to use Open Source “wherever possible”

In response to a question from Tom Watson, Government minister Francis Maude asserted that Government departmental websites should “wherever possible” use Open Source Software.  This is very significant change in emphasis from the previous government, which merely said that open source and proprietary solutions should both be considered on an equal footing.

The implication, if this policy is implemented, will be departments having to justify not using open source for their websites should they choose to go down the proprietary route.  We await seeing how this turns out in practice, since warm words from the cabinet office don’t necessarily translate …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

One-third of Cameron’s shadow cabinet opposed to gay rights

Nick Clegg made some waves this week by calling for full gay equality, and challenging the Tories and their leader David Cameron to follow his example. Well, now Lib Dem research has shown what an uphill battle the Tory leader will have on his hand even convincing his own shadow cabinet to back such moves – let alone his even more right-wing backbenchers – as The Guardian reports:

Nearly a third of David Cameron’s shadow cabinet voted against gay rights legislation at some point over the last two parliaments, demonstrating their “shameful” record in tackling discrimination, according to the

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“Taxpayers don’t want Web 2.0!”

So runs the rather foolish quote from the Taxpayers’ Alliance in a story from the Daily Express expressing outrage at a job ad for a Director of Digital Engagement.

The Government should have better things to spend money on than a pointless deputy Twittercrat. The public sector as a whole should be tightening its belt during times of economic hardship, and this job would be a scandalous waste even during good economic times.

Taxpayers don’t want more Web2.0. They want an end to wasteful spending.

Neither the TPA nor the Conservative Party can see the point, instead frothing at the mouth …

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 7 Comments

The thing David Cameron wants you to forget when watching his election broadcast

Today’s election broadcast from the Conservatives simply features David Cameron talking to camera about MPs and their expense claims. The message is meant to be about him facing up to the problems and talking frankly about them.

But listen to his language:

I want to start by saying sorry … sorry for the actions of some Conservative MPs…

principle of thrift should apply to Conservative MPs too. So from now on I want them to claim what is reasonable to do their job…

Members of my Shadow Cabinet, including Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin and Andrew Lansley, have agreed to pay back money…

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The puzzle of Francis Maude’s email address

Conservative MP Francis Maude today criticised Gordon Brown for not having an email address on the 10 Downing Stret website: “Gordon Brown is spending taxpayers’ money on the latest digital gimmicks, from Twitter to Flickr, but can’t be bothered to give out a simple email address”.

Fair enough. But you’d have thought he would give out an email address on the contact page for his own website. Otherwise someone unkind person might mutter things about double standards etc, especially as his website is paid for by taxpayers’ money too. But you’d have thought wrong. (Though you can find his …

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Conservative referred to racism watchdog by Liberal Democrats

David CameronEd Davey has today written to the Commission for Racial Equality providing details of an offensive email sent by a Conservative councillor and parliamentary candidate.

Ed has also written to David Cameron and Francis Maude calling for the Conservatives to take swift and decisive disciplinary action.

The email – which contains an inflammatory ‘poem’ that features on a white supremacist website, as well as a picture of the white cliffs of Dover with the words ‘piss off – we’re full’ on them – was sent by Conservative councillor Ellenor Bland to other Conservative councillors …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments
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