A Senior Moment: Politicians need to take back control of the country

Have your say

Recent reports that the country is run by an unelected and largely unknown bunch of bureaucrats, is disturbing to say the least.

Allegations by a whistle-blowing former chief government policy adviser that the hilarious antics of Whitehall mandarins in the iconic television series ‘Yes Minister’ were more fact than fiction, would be laughable if they were not so serious – and still true to this day apparently.

I imagine most oldies who remember the programme will have suspected there was an element of truth, but few could surely believe our ministers were being led such a merry dance by these faceless civil servants as to “render the coalition government more or less dysfunctional”.

It has become apparent this government is making the same mistakes as the last one. Shooting oneself in the foot seems to have become an art form in politics.

Budgets have been replaced by optimistic guesswork, ill-conceived decisions are reversed daily – or not depending on the weight of public outcry, populist priorities ignored in favour of puerile predilections and election promises fading into never-never land. Elections come and go, leadership passes from one set of hands to another but nothing really changes. Now we know why! Meanwhile coalition boo-boos continue unchecked and the opposition are having a field day.

I know my local fan club will be telling me to lighten up so I take some pleasure from the fact that a study by the think tank Reform is suggesting ministers should be given the power to appoint their own top civil servants to overcome the “amateurism and under-performance” in Whitehall. Maybe then it will be possible to keep this monolith under control and our elected leaders will be able to get on with the job they are paid for. But I fear those flying piglets will remain well and truly grounded!

Speaking of monoliths, the appalling reports of hospital weaknesses bring back unpleasant memories of my own three months incarceration in the arms of the NHS. With little to do except lay back and think of England, I came to the painful conclusion the nursing profession is like a pyramid. At the top is a dedicated band of angels for whom nothing is too much trouble, to whom you are the most important person in the world and I have to say among them are a large number of student nurses for whom the glamour has not yet worn off.

Next there are those who cannot quite manage this but who work extremely hard and do their best in difficult - sometimes impossible, circumstances. Finally at the bottom of the pile are those who spend their entire working day moaning about their lot in life and are frankly a health hazard themselves and should not be in the profession. Thank heaven they are in a minority – albeit too large for comfort!