Thursday, 23 June 2011

From the archives: Redemption

The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne claimed Labour won't win the next election unless it admits mistakes and learns lessons. "Oppositions that stay in opposition for a long time are the parties that fail to confront the weaknesses the public see in them," he says.

Of course redemption is always to be welcomed. There's precious little of it about these days. And it's not just politicians who are to blame. Think of the high profile bankers, celebs, footballers and their poodle judges for whom redemption is inconceivable. And often when public figures do embrace it, they are criticised for being weak or vacillating.

Anyway, here's an old post from way back in 2009 that addressed the issue. Not much chance of redemption back in them days... (Apologies to Yes, Minister.)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hacker... Humphrey... 20 Years on...?

Hacker:  Do you know what, Humphrey? When I look back and I remember the frustration I used to feel when the likes of you and Bernard blocked or stalled what I was trying to do... And when I eventually decided that the only way to make things really happen was to clip the wings of civil servants like yourself, and the wings, for that matter, of the other individuals and institutions that wanted to keep things just as they were... And when I then consider how we placed certain special advisers above civil servants and concentrated power in No.10 - because we were elected politicians - When I think about how we used that power to force through certain policies, to respond swiftly, more dynamically to certain events, to act decisively, to act sometimes ruthlessly... when I think about all of that, and I then weigh up what it actually achieved, what it made better, versus how corrosive, how divisive it might have sometimes been, and when I see that politicians did not become better people, but they actually became worse... greedy, duplicitous, sleazy... When I consider all of those things, and recall the rows that you and I had back then, in the good old days, about change and intransigence... You know, I do rather find myself thinking from time to time that... this change we introduced, this sweeping away of the old orders, without creating a more moral, or even a more pluralistic environment... well, Humphrey... perhaps I wonder whether, just perhaps... it wasn't quite such a good thing after all...

Sir Humphrey:  No... Prime Minister.

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