Black watch.(Parlimentary Roundup)

There are, we are quakingly told, certain civil servants who are hostile to our monthly comments because they criticise their actions and therefore (of course) the national interest. Heaven forfend.

Should we castigate stupidities when they emerge, failure to follow informed opinion being the most frequent cause? Perhaps we should all be grateful for them. "Efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to democracy", the wise man said.

And we never fail to recognise longer-term cunning by our public servants, such as keeping real intentions of Ministers and themselves as secret as possible. An important example is currently before us. We refer to the stealth campaign to replace local government powers with rule by regions financially controlled from the centre. …

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