Francis Maude

Dirty Politics UK style

There is a lot of talk about ‘Dirty Politics’.

As a long term left wing agtator told me last week over a beer…it wasn’t dirty politics…I was just politics.

Right now in the UK a similar story is unfolding, where the media are hunting after Guido Fawkes aka Paul Staines and his links with PM David Cameron.

Guido operates in many respects just like I do…and just like me he kicks his own team in the slats.

The Prime Minister is the last person you would expect to find honouring rogue political blogger Guido Fawkes, who has just brought down one of his ministers.

But David Cameron appeared as guest of honour via a video link at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the controversial website.

Just three weeks ago, Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society, causing the PM immense embarrassment as it was on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference.

This followed the Tory MP being enticed into sending explicit pictures of himself to a male reporter, posing as an attractive young woman, who was working for Guido Fawkes.

Fawkes then hawked the story around Fleet Street before it was eventually published by the Sunday Mirror.

The dubious journalistic methods employed were so contentious that two newspapers refused to publish the story and the Sunday Mirror, which did, is being investigated by the new press watchdog IPSO.

Yet, in his message broadcast at the dinner, the Prime Minister saw fit to condone such behaviour, praising Fawkes (real name Paul Staines) and his website as ?required reading?.

?Congratulations on ten years of Guido Fawkes,? said Cameron, ?and what better way to celebrate a decade of rejecting the cosy political establishment than by hosting a cocktail reception and a dinner in the heart of Westminster with half the Cabinet and the lobby invited.

Read more »

Red Ed needs to HTFU

Ed Miliband is having a big sook at the moment, especially about coverage in the Daily Mail. he os proposing greater regulation, like any good socialist does, of the media.

He needs to harden up though, and accept the rough and tumble of politics…or get out. There is no room for sooks in any parliament.

Ed Miliband must accept the “rough and tumble” of the British press and he has reached the “wrong conclusion” by calling for greater regulation, a former shadow home secretary has said.

David Davis, a Conservative MP, said that he “felt sorry” for Mr Miliband and felt that a Daily Mail article about his father was “horribly heavy-handed”.? Read more »

David Cameron cops one in the chook over gay marriage

The Poms are clearly not as enlightened as us Kiwis. David Cameron facing a defeat in the House of Commons over gay marriage.

David Cameron is facing the prospect of another defeat in the Commons over his plans to legalise gay marriage.

More than 100 Conservatives are said to be ready to back a ?wrecking? amendment to the same-sex marriage Bill that could cost the Treasury ?4 billion.

If enough Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs also support the amendment ? which would open up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples for the first time ? then Mr Cameron’s plans will be in jeopardy.

The amendment, proposed by Tim Loughton, a former Tory minister who opposes same-sex marriage, will be backed by many Labour MPs, opposition sources said.

The Liberal Democrats are known to support such a reform.? Read more »

Holding their Feet to the Fire

Francis Maude brings some refreshing honesty to the halls of power in the UK:

Political parties love transparency when they’re in opposition, and they love it for the first year or two in power when it’s about exposing your predecessors’ failures. After that there’s a risk of being exposed yourself.

But then that’s the point. Transparency is risky, difficult and uncomfortable for governments ? it also sticks. Once you start, you can’t go back. This government has put transparency at the heart of its agenda. As the new lead chairman of the Open Government Partnership, we will promote transparency all over the world. The partnership was set up a year ago, with governments and civil society working together to empower citizens, and harness technology to strengthen governance. We were one of eight founding members. Now there are 57.

Transparency drives prosperity and exposes corruption. In Uganda, when communities were able to read in their newspapers how much government money their schools were supposed to be getting, the amount the schools actually received jumped from just a fifth of the promised amount to four fifths. Citizens must hold their governments to account.

Not just governments either, all politicians, local body, opposition and government.

Good stuff

? The Telegraph

Anytime someone smacks up the public service is a good time. In the UK the civil service is facing a new assault from after ministers vowed to quadruple Whitehall savings to ?20 billion-a-year with a fresh round of jobs cuts and potential redundancies. If only our own government would get cracking on making savings like this.

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, has pledged to introduce tighter controls which could mean the loss of thousands more civil service jobs.

He will also increase savings by tackling fraud, wasteful spending on major projects, temporary workers and badly-negotiated contracts over the next three years.

Mr Maude is planning the huge acceleration in his cost-cutting across Whitehall over the next three years, after exceeding his target of ?5 billion in savings over the last year.

If he manages to make the predicted cuts, the efficiency drive will save ?1,000 per year for every taxpaying family in Britain.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Maude says has faced ?significant resistance? in Whitehall and admits the new savings ?won?t be easy?.

What would happen if we did this here?

? The Telegraph

There is a good chance that the PSA would probably have a fit and march in the streets if this was tried here:

All departments in Whitehall are to be forced to publish quarterly sickness absence rates for all their staff in a bid to help the public purse.

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister responsible for the civil service, said “bad management” across the public sector was costing taxpayers ?3.4bn a year. He told the Daily Telegraph he was determined to crack down on the so-called “sickie” culture by making central government departments publish the sickness reports and increasing the spotlight on weak management.

“It’s often down to bad management. If you do the stats properly, you can sometimes find clusters of sickness absence which is often associated with a bad manager,” he said.

Official figures show public sector workers are 63pc more likely to go off sick than their private sector counterparts. Mr Maude said the civil service had to get better at measuring the problem. “One of the things we’re introducing is that every department will have to publish, on a quarterly basis, their sickness absence levels, so you can see the trend and can compare,” he said.

The move follows plans announced last week by the Cabinet Office minister to reform the civil service, which includes weeding out poor performers to improve the delivery of public services.

Politician of the Week – Francis Maude

I wish we had politicians with the balls to say this in New Zealand. Let’s see if Francis Maude delivers on the rhetoric.

In the House of Commons recently, Francis Maude was asked to list which of the hundreds of Whitehall quangos, agencies and non-departmental bodies he was ?assessing on their suitability of purpose and cost-effectiveness?, or in other words, sizing up for the butcher?s block. Instead of providing a list, Mr Maude replied simply: ?All of them.?