Via Slugger Will the coalition cuts stick? The last bit's from a concerned Whitehall Mandarin writing anonymously in the Guardian. He gets rather apocalyptic later. He's right to be concerned, an effective civil service is the work of generations, it can be destroyed rather quickly. You can end up with a country actually being run by ill advised gentlemen amateurs whose only real skill is getting elected. All very Corinthian but a debacle in the highly complex modern world. The need for a professional technocratic class of "Mandarins" became evident in the mid 19th century under the Raj. The US alone amongst great powers still aspires to wing it as The Founders did back in the simple provincial-agrarian world of the 18th century. Repeated foreign policy pratfalls and a gnat like domestic attention span are the price they pay. Septic suspicions that their rather large government is incompetent are well founded. They "throw the bums out" every few years just as their attendant fast learning policy wonks have got to grips with things and the next chaps greenhorns shoulder them aside. The result is often a state wide stasis that would bewilder a visitor from a well managed Swiss Canton that shares a similar constitutional system but not the paranoia about unaccountable bureaucrats. Want to see truly "broken" government inaction go to New York State and California is not much better. I'd give Dave's government some time to settle down. They are mostly tyros, after so long out of office it would be odd if there wasn't some ideologically driven silliness at first. The schools policy is dotty think tank stuff and the GP led NHS looks link a continuation of the disastrous free market tinkering that characterized the last administration. New labor suffered from a post-Thatcherite timidity and an obsession with image management which was in some ways worse. The bad signs are Dave's New Tories seem to be putting their faith in imported princes of private industry with a disastrous record for the long term planning that is essential in government. A country is not run to please shareholders on a quarterly basis, it's not even a good model for the relatively simple world of the big Anglo corporation, that's not likely to long survive contact with reality. New Labor's expensive fetish for the inane business babble of the big consultancy houses has also found a new home. This is all bad news for Sir Humphey he may well be entering a world were "courageous decisions" are thick in the air and experience has been shewed off too early retirement.