Chancellor of the Exchequer, in China (with images, tweets) · hmtreasury · Storify

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français...

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français : Entrée Est de HM Treasury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a truly amazing publication from the UK’s HM Treasury on the Chancellor of the Exchequer in China. This is a MUST READ article in my view. Check it out!

via Chancellor of the Exchequer, in China (with images, tweets) · hmtreasury · Storify.

What amazes me is that I thought the HM Treasury was supposed to be independently supporting the government in power? Perhaps, the true professionals have already been culled and all that’s left are the consultants and “yes- men”? This publication smells of seeking patronage and trying to please George Osborne and his cronies, massaging the news.

The reality, of course, is that the UK’s exports to China and access to massive Chinese wealth funds for inward UK investment have been severely curtailed because of David Cameron‘s foreign policy blunders.

With regard to economic policy, there has been huge economic and social damage from excessive austerity, with ineffective attention to investment, improving skills and creating jobs. The Chancellor, George Osborne, is first and foremost a political animal, with no formal education in economics, and little work experience outside politics. Osborne’s policies have largely been ideology based, rather than evidenced-based.

Add to an ineffective Chancellor, an HM Treasury that is trying to please its political masters and we have a very potent and potentially toxic cocktail.

Let me turn this to an open question:

Should the heads of UK Government departments, like HM Treasury be political appointments or independent professionals?

Any thoughts?

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10 responses

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  9. Dr Alf asks an important question which begets another, namely,”Why do we have so many civil servants and should we not clear all them out at the beginning of each new Parliament, and replace them en masse”?

    Clearly anything above the figure of 15,000 civil servants which was the figure for 1885, the height of British Imperial power is too many.


    Because there is strong evidence that they do not Govern cost effectively, contribute nothing to economic growth and in most cases impede it.

    We are 17th in the world when it comes to value per taxpayer pound and pound for pound Singapore delivers them for 1/3rd of the UK cost.

    Should we just leave them there in post as we do now and keep them as an “impartial civil service”?

    This is what we have been doing and the results are there for all to see, lack-luster economic performance, emasculated defense, inefficient and bloated public services and a public living in the past.

    Dr Alf and others may say that this critique is unfair because it ignores the role of Ministers like George Osborne and David Cameron who come from an out of touch political elite and are years late to the point where they would be late for their own funerals.

    I do not ignore it and regard the majority of Ministers as useless irrelevancies who need to be replaced with competent people.

    A Chinese reporter who collared Boris Johnson on his part of the Osborne trip said on television “Other countries have been coming to China for years, it may be to late for you to join the party”.

    Boris Johnson replied, “It is never too late, the party has just started; we are fashionably late”.

    The exchange reveals a serious point, namely that we should have been engaging with China much earlier, as Germany and others have been, and that the Government and its civil servants and Ministers are simply not fit for purpose having both underestimated China’s potential for growth, and insulted them publicly at least 5 times.

    Other than the fact that people want to be ruled by their own kind, one could make a strong case for off-shoring the entire Government apparatus to Switzerland or Singapore because they could do a much better job of it than we seem to be able to manage.

    To answer Dr Alf’s point directly, it matters little who appoints civil servants, what matters is whether or not they are up to the job but my preference would be 5 year fixed term contracts, with performance related elements and the ability to fire them for non performance within that period.

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