Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What would Sir Humphrey say?

Interesting post by Tom Watson MP at his site on a proposal for a Wikipedia-style encyclopedia of English law. I was particularly struck by his comment at the end:

"I was alerted to this project an hour ago by email. That's the wonder of the modern age - I get to pick up projects before they've been pitched to officials ten times over. I think I can help and I'm going to talk to my colleagues in the Ministry of Justice..."

This ability to bypass officials by going directly to a Minister by email - and the Minister's willingness to pick up and run with whatever catches his eye without seeking advice - is something very new in our system of Government. I doubt whether it's good news for effective government in the long term.

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