COMMENTS DAILY MAIL: A dedicated minister screwed over by the Blob
Yesterday, the idea of a politically neutral civil service — committed to serving governments of all levels without fear or favor — died.
It was a dark day for British democracy, which raises profound questions about how, and more importantly, by whom, this country should be run.
Who is really in control? Is it ministers who are elected and responsible, or civil servants who are not? And if it is the latter, do we really have democracy?
It has long been clear that the Whitehall Blob despises the Tories for getting Brexit done and surly hindering their plans for change.
But after Dominic Raab’s resignation over fabricated and politically motivated bullying allegations, it’s starting to look like an affiliate of the Labor Party.
After the Whitehall Blob forced the resignation of Dominic Raab (pictured today) over fabricated and politically motivated bullying allegations, it’s starting to look like an affiliate of the Labor Party
This was a succession from the start, with carefully choreographed and widely leaked accusations trickling in from officials from all three of Mr Raab’s previous departments. Some are over four years old and no one was formally raised with him at the time.
The report, which cost the Justice Minister his job, is in many ways laudatory, almost admiring. Adam Tolley KC paints a picture of a highly intelligent, crowd-pleasing preacher with a ferocious work ethic.
Mr. Raab typically works more than 14 hours a day and pays close attention to detail, is diligent, decisive and guided by strong principles, says Mr. Tolley. Yes, he can demand of others in a way that is sometimes “inquisitorial and direct.”
But at no point was he intentionally hurtful. He didn’t yell, he didn’t swear, and there was no evidence that he ever lost control or was angry—unlike, say, Gordon Brown or Angela Rayner.
He became frustrated when he saw “cultural resistance” to policy reform or substandard work. But who doesn’t?
In a sane world, officials would have responded to Mr Raab’s Stakhanovite example by doing all they could to help him – that’s their job, after all. Instead, they conspired to take him down, and it is much to Rishi Sunak’s shame that he let them succeed.
Mr. Raab was Mr. Sunak’s main supporter during his leadership bid. Yet the Prime Minister (pictured today with new Justice Minister Alex Chalk) did nothing to save his man. Instead, he delivered his enemies a large scalp on a plate.
The report makes it clear that the Justice Department’s initial “group complaint” (which paved the way for all the others) was cobbled together by a “committee” of disaffected people, some of whom had not even met him.
Even Mr. Tolley’s two claims of bullying seem perfectly understandable. One was the removal of a diplomat alleged to undermine Brexit negotiations. The other was an occasion where Mr Raab was reported to have been ‘harassing and insulting’ to officials whom he believed were underperforming.
Anyone who has waited weeks for a new passport, driver’s license or inheritance decision will recognize their annoyance. Indeed, they might think he should have been more powerful.
Mr. Raab was Mr. Sunak’s main supporter during his leadership bid. Yet the prime minister did nothing to save his man. Instead, he delivered his enemies a large scalp on a plate.
In his letter of resignation, Mr. Raab issues a stark warning. “By keeping the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry will encourage false complaints and have a chilling effect on those who are pushing for change on behalf of your government – and ultimately the British people.”
He is right. There are already bullying claims against ex-minister Alok Sharma and no doubt there will be more now that blood is spilling into the water.
The word “broken” is overused way too often. But it perfectly describes the relationship between an increasingly unruly civil service and those they are paid for.
It is a schism that is rapidly making Britain ungovernable.