Some very odd things are going on in the Civil Service. Until very recently it has been a model of integrity and (despite all the jokes), in its upper reaches in particular, more competent than almost any other. It owed its quality to the great 19th-century reforms which ended the practices of buying commissions in the Armed Services and promotion that depended on who you knew, or who your father was, in the civil service.Tebbit asked
about the Government's policy to develop a civil service "representative of the community it serves", and was told that there is a strategy which "sets representation targets for the senior civil service covering ethnic origin, disability and gender" and that departments must report progress to the Civil Service Capability Board....So much for meritocracy.
The strategy "also gives departments freedom to develop policies on representation covering religion/belief, sexual orientation, age, gender identity and educational/social background, but not educational attainment, criminality or physical attributes".
For my part, though I loathe this sort of 'positive discrimination', I wonder if it might be a good thing that the civil service is increasingly incompetent. After all, their interests do seem to run quite contrary to our own.
I am left wondering why it seems to be thought that quotas for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and for that matter atheists and Jedi Knights of varying sexual orientation would lead to a better civil service than simply appointing the best person for the job. Or is it that the Government puts the excellence of the Civil Service second to juvenile social engineering?
If I were a fighter pilot or an infantryman going into battle, I think I would be happpier if the chap covering my back had been chosen as the best for that job rather than for his social background, religion, sexual preferences or the colour of his skin.