Tag Archives: Civil Service

Lessons in Mandarin


Sunday on Facebook: Last week I posted a video from an interview with Zhang Weiwei on his book ‘The China Wave’ and an article from Zhang Weiwei on ‘Meritocracy versus Democracy’. They were both very informative, especially in promoting the idealism of the Chinese meritocratic system of government. I concluded that public administration in a meritocratic system of government differs very little from that of a demos driven democratic system, the differences lying in their notional definitions  democracy.

Written four years ago the following reprise is not entirely tongue in cheek but may well represent my innate cynicism that irrespective of the politics represented ‘mandarin‘, is not the purview of the Chinese. The following ‘Lessons in Mandarin’, may point to the inscrutability and clear consciousness of all (supposedly meaningful) exchanges.

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DIVINE DISCONTENT


‘I would suggest that divine discontent is a fitting term regarding the affect this website has on those that view it’.

This remark, Jon’s first at a meeting called by the Minister responsible for digital media and communications, prompted what could only be described as a moment’s pregnant silence. Jon was used to his remarks meeting with a hostile reception but he wasn’t prepared for what happened next. The meeting erupted into a chaos of quips between the other delegates regarding the website and a divine purpose. Jon sat there somewhat bemused that his attempt to bring some degree of clarity to the meeting should be so ridiculed. The other delegates clearly had no comprehension of the website’s intent. They assumed that they could break the code currently making any recording of the site contents impossible. That this would lead them to the source of the site and its intent. Read more of this post

Lessons in Mandarin


Very occasionally as a Civil Servant I was required to provide a technical contribution to Parliamentary Questions (PQs), at a time when PQs really did allow Members of Parliament to hold the Government to account. The only role my contribution had to a PQ was to complement the response being prepared by a Mandarin. Anything that I may have written would have been lost in the revisions they underwent before reaching the likes of a Bernard Woolley or a Sir Humphrey Appelby. I was reminded of this when I revisited an old paper on Civil Service Mandarin. Read more of this post

A Socialist Thatcherite?


I would hesitate to describe myself as pragmatic during my time spent in the Civil Service.  In its archaic use (pragmatic – active in an officious or meddlesome way) it fits too well with my perception of the Civil Service. I would often describe myself to my colleagues as a ‘Socialist Thatcherite’. My early childhood during WWII made me ‘a socialist sympathiser’ and in this I would admit to a philosophy of pragmatism.  While ‘Socialist Thatcherite’ fits well into the category of an oxymoron, my colleagues, who for the most part were Tory supporters (in varying degrees) could well be described as ‘Thatcherite Socialists’.  They were quite happy for the reforms advocated by Thatcher to be implemented elsewhere, but not in the Civil Service sector served by them. Public money was perceived as being a horn of plenty but they soon found out that Thatcher was no Abundantia.  She in turn was to find out that the Civil Service was conservative only with a small ‘c’. Read more of this post

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The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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