The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dedicated Public Servants

Well, this is an edifying spectacle, isn't it. Various honourable members from the last administration appear to have seen their ministerial careers as little more than a means of doing a bit of profitable networking with the private sector. Patsy Hackitt, the Nurses' Friend, waited barely half a year after her stint as Secretary for NHS Demolition before taking a consultancy with Big Pharma and a £55,000-a-year post with a private health company. Alan Milburn, who resigned from the Department of Health in order to spend more time with his family values, has somehow found it in himself to re-order his work/life balance in favour of the private sector. Lord Davies, whom Tony's Glorious Successor appointed a trade minister, has taken no less than eight appointments; but then Lord Davies used to be a banker, and we all know how much bankers like to earn their own crust and be beholden to nobody. The ex-defence secretary and area of outstanding natural fatuity, Geoff Hoon, has set up a private consultancy; but thanks to a Channel 4 sting operation a few restrictions have been placed upon him. According to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, forty-three ex-ministers have been vetted for jobs since last year, and in twelve cases no restrictions whatever have been placed on their asking their chums for favours. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments is a non-statutory body which cannot interfere with the free market but which is allowed to "recommend restrictions" on any corruption which exceeds New Labour's generous standards of tolerance. Some campaigners are hoping that a government which includes Lord Ashcroft's chum Willem den Haag and Rupert Murdoch's chum Jeremy C Hunt will change this for the better.


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