- Constant urge to re-organise everything - a permanently disoriented bureaucracy, permanently focused upon self-preservation
- Never-ending use of management consultants to draft re-organisation plans
- Increased demands from a mobile population that expects greater levels of 'choice'
- Inititivitis on the part of politicians - but no clearly stated long-term purpose
- Lots of 'audit', no 'inspection'
- A long-term collapse in the competence of public management
- Lack of any real attempt to hold bureaucracy to account by journalists
- Constant need to be seen to be cutting costs
- Regular changes of direction as a result of press / pressure group action
- Lack of a professional civil service
- Demotivated employees - no-one working there who believes (rationally, it would seem) that hard work will result in a better outcome than box-ticking
All civil servants are lazy cunts (here - passim). Genius!
Oddly, I think that the only politician who has grasped the problems, and shown any competence in offering a solution is Ken Livingstone. Rather than re-write my arguments, I'm going to cut-and-paste from a post I wrote over at The Trots some time ago. It wasn't - for the most part - an endorsement. Quite the opposite. But there are things about Ken that one can't help being impressed by. I said....
"...once in office – he was able to demonstrate why risk-averse political parties are often incapable of the kind of change that the public want. Where Blairite daleks would have drowned Ken's transport measures in a soup of consultation and consensus, Ken got on with it.If only Ken could drop his tipsy forays into gesture politics....
He drove through potentially unpopular policies that had articulate media-backed opponents, and he gave Labour an object lesson in how the real 'forces of conservatism' should be handled. It was often a joy to watch him presenting the Tory press with a stiff middle-fingered salute.
And when People In Pubs talk about problems, they expect clear-cut solutions of the kind that Ken offers, and political parties don't. Where Whitehall is stuffed with ineffectual self-perpetuating Sir Humphreys for whom a problem solved is a job abolished, Ken appears to have surrounded himself by fellow travellers who share his ambitions.
It's easy to be cynical about can't-do politicians boxed-in by tottering complex problems and irreconcilable vested interests. But Ken is the antidote to this. Independent-minded conviction politicians like him are – more than any other device – the means by which politicians and voters can be reconnected."