Brown accused of ruthlessness

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6469293.stm

Chancellor Gordon Brown's Treasury operates with "Stalinist ruthlessness", treating colleagues with contempt, the ex-head of the civil service has said.
Lord Turnbull, who was also Mr Brown's permanent secretary for four years, said the chancellor would not allow serious discussion about priorities.

Mr Brown had a "very cynical view of mankind and his colleagues", he added.

But minister Harriet Harman backed Mr Brown, saying: "Not all civil servants admire strong political leadership."

"But if you want to change things for the better you need strong political leadership."

She added, on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "He is demanding of his colleagues, but he is demanding of himself because he wants to change things for the better."

Lord Turnbull's comments, unprecedentedly outspoken for such a senior civil servant, came in an interview with the Financial Times the day before what is expected to be Mr Brown's final Budget before he succeeds Tony Blair as prime minister.

The Treasury has refused to comment on the Financial Times interview.

'Insulting process'

In the interview Lord Turnbull said of Mr Brown's relationship with his colleagues: "He cannot allow them any serious discussion about priorities. His view is that it is just not worth it and 'they will get what I decide'.

"And that is a very insulting process."

He said this strategy had enhanced Treasury control but came "at the expense of any government cohesion and any assessment of strategy".

Lord Turnbull added: "You can choose whether you are impressed or depressed by that, but you cannot help admire the sheer Stalinist ruthlessness of it all."

However, he praised Mr Brown for his move to allow the Bank of England to be independent.

He added that what surprised him about the Treasury was "the more or less complete contempt with which other colleagues are held".

Departments were told only at the last minute what their Budget settlement would be, he added, claiming the man who expected to be the next prime minister used denial of information as an "instrument of power".
I have to say that I don't really have a problem with this. I'm no fan of Mr Tax-and-Spend by any means, but he is the elected official, whereas the Civil Servants are there to serve the politicians, who in turn serve us :frustrated: . Thatcher did her own thing (eg ending the GLC - the first her Cabinet heard about it was when she announced it in Parliament), as did Blair (eg announcing levels of health spending without even consulting - ironically - Brown) etc. It sounds like a bit of whingeing from a long-term Civil Servant who didn't like it when he couldn't have his own way.

"Yes, Minister" anyone?
 
#2
Morning Sven.
 
#3
Of course he treats his Cabinet colleagues with contempt! Who doesn't? As my Granny used to say, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime".

I suspect his "very cynical view of mankind and his colleagues" is the natural product of a life spent mixing with politicians and journalists.

In other news, bears accused of poor sanitary practice...
 
#4
This couls of course be Lord Turnbull's way of warning the country of what they are about to receive. As a man naturally given to manners and understatement this is a very concerning article. Let us just hope not prophetic.
 
#6
I'm sorry, but your attempt to defend the current corrupt regime led me to believe you were someone else.

Hard to believe that there are two people on Arrse who would defend the indefensible.
 
#7
Oh no, don't get me wrong, check my posts on other threads, I'm as anti-BLiar and Brown as the next Arrser, but from an objective point of view you have to ask why do unelected Civil Servants think they should have a greater say in things than elected politicians? As I posted, Thatcher was the same. There's nothing really wrong with strong leadership. It's leadership not likership after all! It struck me as Sir Humphrey having a tiff because he's not being able to control James Hacker.

I'll confess to possibly being a little harsh on the Civil Service here.

There's only one unelected official in the government that I'm loyal to.
 
#8
Sven changed his name to 'Swede' has he?

Sven is Scandinavian is it not and Sweden is in Scandinavia.

Whatever, everyone, even old Sven, is entitled to a view and most of us on here have spent our adult lives helping to make sure that freedom to have a view and express it continued to exist - unlike the Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist dictators we were opposed to.

Brown is an incompetent nincompoop and God help us when he is 'annointed' Leader.
 
#9
FT article below. Brown has a lot to answer for. The concept of this dreadful, destructive man being anoited Prime Minister makes me want to puke.

Ex-Whitehall chief slams ‘Stalinist’ Brown

Gordon Brown has exhibited a “Stalinist ruthlessness” in government, belittling his cabinet colleagues whom the Treasury treats with “more or less complete contempt”, according to the man who was Britain’s top civil servant until two years ago.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Lord Turnbull, permanent secretary to the Treasury for four years under Mr Brown before becoming cabinet secretary in 2002, accused the prime minister-in-waiting of a “very cynical view of mankind and his colleagues”.

“He cannot allow them any serious discussion about priorities. His view is that it is just not worth it and ‘they will get what I decide’. And that is a very insulting process,” Lord Turnbull said.

“Do those ends justify the means? It has enhanced Treasury control, but at the expense of any government cohesion and any assessment of strategy. You can choose whether you are impressed or depressed by that, but you cannot help admire the sheer Stalinist ruthlessness of it all.”

Lord Turnbull praised achievements including the independence of the Bank of England, the three-year spending round, much of the fiscal framework and targets for departments, which had been “a net strong plus” and “quite a revolutionary step”.

But Lord Turnbull noted that Bank of England independence would have suited Mr Brown by allowing him to disavow responsibility for interest rate rises. “The chancellor has a Macavity quality. He is not there when there is dirty work to be done.”

The former cabinet secretary, now an adviser to Booz, Allen Hamilton, also questioned the Treasury’s use of “celebrity reviews” into policy issues such as those involving Paul Myners, Derek Wanless and Sandy Leitch.

“This has been an unworthy development in the sense that it belittles other ministers. The surprising thing about the Treasury is the more or less complete contempt with which other colleagues are held.

“So if you want something done about planning, or about the environment, you don’t talk to Ruth Kelly or David Miliband and say ‘we really must do something about this’. Instead you summon up Kate Barker, or you get Andrew Gowers in to do intellectual property, rather than talk to the DTI.”

In some areas, Lord Turnbull said, the Treasury had become itself the policymaker and guardian over a set of policies such as tax credits. The chancellor, he said, had kept control of those budgets “entirely to himself”.

“That has been impressive, but in a sense reprehensible. There has been an absolute ruthlessness with which Gordon has played the denial of information as an instrument of power.”

Departments learned only just before Budgets “this is what you are getting and here are your public service agreements


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/db4b60b8-d65c-11db-99b7-000b5df10621.html
 
#10
I have already stated that I am not a fan of any of the current 'Grown-ups', but I get the feeling that the Winds of Change are coming this way like a tornado. I agree that there are a lot of non-elected (and some elected) people who know that the prosperity they have enjoyed over the TB reign of indecision is going to end.

Can a man vote for the 'least-worst'?
 
#11
The_Swede said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6469293.stm

Chancellor Gordon Brown's Treasury operates with "Stalinist ruthlessness", treating colleagues with contempt, the ex-head of the civil service has said.
Lord Turnbull, who was also Mr Brown's permanent secretary for four years, said the chancellor would not allow serious discussion about priorities.
In other late-breaking news, bears are accused of defaecation in woodland environments and Pope Benedict is accused of being a Catholic.
 
#12
Brown is an incompetent nincompoop.
Read and think about my whole post here before accusing me of being pro-Brown.

He's not incompetent. He's phenomenally intelligent. It is his vast intellect that makes him a poor manager of people; no-one likes micro-management from above. Nonetheless, I would rather have an elected dictator than an unelected one (unless, of course, it was HM :thumright: ). His policies and views do not tally with mine by any stretch and thus I will not be supporting him as "leader". I see him as a man who is taking more and more of my hard-earned and giving it to less and less deserving people. I don't really care about his management style.
 
#15
He's not intelligent, he like all politicians has a certain low animal cunning. Look at the state of our country, Browns incompetence is equal to Blairs on this one... after all he held the purse strings.

Look at the wasted billions under Browns watch.

look at the non jobs created for his supporters.

look at the patronage.

Look at the corruption of his party finances.

The man is morally bankrupt.
 
#16
Spot on Cad.

Obsessive activity ought never be confused with intellect. I have no doubt Brown is intelligent - but I question the claim that he has a great intellect.

For intellect consider Hague, Harold Wilson and certainly Thatcher, but Brown? I don't think so.

Devious, grasping, controlling, some say 'psychologically flawed' even, but not a man of 'vast' intellect. In addition with the 'Cash for Honours' topic swilling about, can his integrity be absolutely assured in the eyes of the electorate ? The itsiest-bitsiest suspicion of a shadow of doubt ?
 
#17
He's not intelligent
He got a First from Edinburgh. That makes him pretty intelligent in my book.

Look at the state of our country, Browns incompetence is equal to Blairs on this one... after all he held the purse strings.

Look at the wasted billions under Browns watch.
As I said, I do not agree with his policies by any stretch.

look at the non jobs created for his supporters.

look at the patronage.

Look at the corruption of his party finances.

The man is morally bankrupt.
Agreed. But intelligence and morality are two different things.

Brown is a narrow-minded incompetent nincompoop.
Well we'll agree on two out of three then. There's a nice non-Stalinist compromise for both of us!

We've gone off the point I originally made here. I DO NOT LIKE OR SUPPORT GORDON BROWN

However, I do not particularly like the idea of unelected officials complaining about being told what to do by elected politicians. Advice is fine, but last time I checked we lived in a democracy.

The "Sven" comments are just random!
 
#18
A first From Edinburgh means nothing.... why do you think they have spent a life time dumbing down A Levels etc.. they need to give themselves the veneer of intellect whilst being thicker than a Challenger sandwhich.

I do not think Brown is intelligent, I strongly suspect he is an idiot savant.

Functional on a statistical level but as empty as the contents of your average motorists wallet.
 
#19
It may be worth reading between the lines of the small print in tomorrows budget. The recent small rise in inflation has led to speculation of a further rise in the interest rate. Brown is hardly going to want to hamstring himself with a deeply unpopular budget for the next 12 months if he has notions of getting into number 10 between now and the summer. If he does make some deeply unpopular tax and duty rises tomorrow, it may give us a glimpse of that "stalinist ruthlessness". :plotting:
 
#20
I posted this on the other thread regarding this matter and being an attention whore of the higest order, I thought I'd post it here as well.

Why are we so surprised that he is a contol freak with a personality disorder? What concerns me most is that he has no discernable leadership qualities. Bliar may be an arrsehole of the highest order, but he is a leader, he is charismatic and able to inspire quite remarkable loyalty in his followers. Granted his is not the sort of leadership which would inspire us and he has not used his skills for anything other than personal advancement or rewarding others' loyalty, but amongst many in his party he is viewed as a latter day saint.

Brown, it is apparent, would be incapable of leading this country out of a wet paper bag with a pair of scissors and is attracting support solely because he is the heir apparent. Remember Bliar, for all his faults, inspired loyalty in his followers well before he was tipped to be PM.

I am also quite concerned about how Brown will relate to his fellow world leaders. Post Bliar he has the opportunity to rebuild links with Europe, but I can't imagine him doing anything but alienating Presidents and other PMs by being drier than a saharan goat's ringpiece.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top