Taking the rap

Why do the wrong people take the rap while the real villains cling to office?

A few weeks back I met, as Chairman of the Revenue and Customs, Mr. Paul Gray.  He is a career civil servant, a decent man and, I believe, honest.  He has been doing his level best to sort out, with the help of other senior executives, the shambles that is the tax credit system created by Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer and presided over, as the previous Chairman of HMRC, by one David Varney.  Mr Varney now likes to be known as "Sir David" following the honour bestowed on him for his highly questionable stewardship by a grateful New Labour Party, from which government he has now received other high office!

Mr Paul Gray, however, has resigned.  Following the loss of some 25 million names, addresses and bank details belonging to benefit claimants he felt honour-bound to do the decent thing and fall upon his professional sword. Even though the failings were not of his making and not generated on his watch the buck stopped, he believed, with the man at the top.

Only the men at the top are still there.

Those who do bear responsibility for the structural defects within the HMRC are the man who created it, Gordon Brown, the present Prime Minister and Mr. Alistair Darling, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer.  In a former and more honourable era the latter, and very probably the former, would have taken responsibility for their appalling recent economic mis-management and surrendered their seals of office.  Instead, Mr. Darling disingenuously sought to blame a "low ranking civil servant" for the failures of the Department over which he presides and at the time of writing has yet to come clean about the whole truth of who knew what and when. Mr. Brown, as so often before when challenged over the failings of the child tax credit scheme, has preferred to let others act as his heat-shield.

Can a Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Prime Minister who have presided over the botched sale of Qinetic, the debacle that is the hugely costly bail-out of Northern Rock and the loss of millions of families` personal records really remain in power or retain one shred of credibility?  Sadly, in the Britain that Blair Built the answer would appear to be "yes".  New Labour Ministers do not resign.

And neither, it seems, do those responsible for our most recent sporting failure feel any more compelling need to face the consequences of their decisions.

True, the hapless Mr. McLaren has been fired off into the Caribbean with just enough money to buy a brand new multi-million pound beach house.  But was it not the well-remunerated men on the field that were culpable for the defeat of the England football team? And was not the team and the team manager in reality the creation of football's Executive body?  And has the Chairman of that body, the man who sacked McLaren, been sacked himself?  For the moment, at least, the answer is once again "no".

Time, I think, for the creation of another new website.  Let's call it "notmegov.com" !


  • As we go to press the General Secretary of the Labour Party resigns over the "Cash for No Honours" affair in which a businessman launders money through "work associates" to mask about half a million pounds worth of donations to Gordon Brown’s Labour Party.  But while the Party apparatchik takes the fall for others the Labour Party Chairman, Harriet Harman, clings, at the time of writing, to her job.  Either she knew about the scam, in which case she should go, or she did not, in which case she is incompetent and should go!  No chance. It’s "deja vu all over again”!

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