The buck stops with civil servants too

The Callinan letter shows how politicians rely on bureaucrats

13th September, 2015
Principle of shielding officials from political fallout is outdated, writes Pat Rabbitte Picture: Getty

Sir Humphrey’s usual languid disposition was in danger of giving way to impatience. What in heaven’s name did his younger colleague imagine was the purpose of a minister? A minister, Sir Humphrey explained, should confine himself to three functions:

1. He is an advocate. He makes the department’s actions seem plausible to Parliament and the public.

2. He is Our Man in Westminster, steering our legislation through Parliament.

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