• Patrick Diamond


Throughout the book, two key arguments were made about the bureaucratic machinery. The first is that Whitehall has drastically changed. The paradigm is unrecognisable compared to fifty or one hundred years ago. The system of public administration is shaped by the ethos of the ‘permanent campaign’ and the New Political Governance (NPG). In the British administrative tradition, civil servants were loyal to the government of the day, not the political party comprising the government. That convention has been turned on its head. Now, officials are increasingly beholden to the governing party’s agenda and its partisan motives. The second point relates to the consequences in undermining the Whitehall paradigm which has been detrimental to the quality of statecraft. The institutions of the British state operate according to the imperatives of the ‘permanent campaign’ and NPG. The motivation of advisers and appointees in Whitehall is partisan, focused on loyalty to the Minister and governing party. Ministerial interference in the appointment of civil servants undermines Northcote-Trevelyan. Officials are required to implement policies they played little or no role in formulating. Those who raise their heads above the parapet risk being ostracised. The UK’s government machinery is more vulnerable than ever to ‘group think’ and ‘promiscuous partisanship’.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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