by Martin Odoni
You know, since at least the 1970’s it has been unfashionable to say this, but I sometimes feel sorry for Civil Servants, even the ones in Whitehall. They get a very bad rap, thanks primarily to anti-statist propaganda, which often attempts to portray them as officious, pedantic, obstructionist, long-winded and over-privileged. Not entirely untrue of course, but it is more of a generalised stereotype than a fair assessment. Sir Humphrey Appleby has a lot to answer for.
But I feel a further pang of sympathy for the Civil Service in the way that this reputation has turned them into the plausible scapegoat-of-first-choice when a politician has made an undiluted horlicks of a policy plan.
News broke last week that the Department Of Work & Pensions has been publishing fictitious stories and made-up quotations about ex-benefits claimants, who do not even exist, going on to do really well…
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