A senior government adviser has been keeping a diary since the general election – the writer wishes to remain anonymous.
It has been only five weeks since the new ministers walked through the door. The civil service is still in overdrive, coating the new government with the shiny white gloss of normality. But something changed last week.
At first the absence of friction between ministers and bureaucrats was a highlight of the new politics. Some said the coalition partners were directing valuable anger and suspicion at each other they had none left for the civil servants, who were by contrast soothing and trusted partners.
The heady rhetoric of the first two weeks carried us all along. There was hope of new ideas and plenty of creative thinking. The government was examining everything, looking to see how things could be done better. Bad schemes were scrapped, new reviews were started and fresh inquiries launched. Then came the data - more than anyone knows what to do with. Published to show openness and transparency. But this is the easy bit, as the bad stuff is someone else's fault. What will happen when the data becomes embarrassing for this government?
Then came the cuts. It feels like the country is being run by a firm of auditors hacking away with a blunt machete. We are cutting everything we can cut. Having meetings about what more we can cut. Talking about how we will implement the cuts. Holding seminars about how we will work after the cuts. All new things are frozen.
There is no strategy for how we will do government differently, an absence of big ideas. Our managers are numb and overwhelmed. They can't cope with the scale of what is about to come. Arguably, there had been too much waste and not enough wisdom, but the real money is in the services that help and heal people. They are going to shrink, and that will change our society for ever. This is hard stuff for public servants. We have no outlet for our feelings and no voice for our fears. We can advise and that advice can be ignored. Above all, we are waiting for the big new policies. This is what we live for. To make the machine work once the buttons have been pushed. Instead, it seems the ministers are simply waiting for something to happen.
We amuse ourselves with the little things: the ministers' faces when they realise the policies they attacked were actually quite good their bewildered faces as they walk along Whitehall without their ministerial cars the minister at International Development who emptied his office of African art and replaced it with a portrait of Maggie and a giant union flag. The Liberal Democrat ministers grappling with a reality beyond their wildest dreams, but full of painful compromises and the Conservative ministers, who are very relaxed. They fear no one and have nothing to prove. They are back home.
2010-10-26 22:26 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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