One of the core StabPrin predictions is that the Coalition will leak like a mouldy kayak - LibDems briefing against Tories, Tories briefing against LibDems and the Civil Service briefing against the collective idiocy of the pair of them. Right on cue comes the *second* anonymous Guardian piece from someone at the sharp end pointing out the difference between Cameron rhetoric and chaotic reality in the Civil Service. He/she also clearly gets the idea that there's nothing random in this attack on the state; it was planned all along complete with a solid media strategy:
First there were the pernicious media briefings about insane expenditure by greedy civil servants. Then the public-sector rich lists were published – highlighting a class of bureaucrats that had lost all perspective.
Once the target had been softened up, and the civil servant identified as public enemy number one, the first cuts could begin – along with bleak forecasts for the autumn. This was a neat game. Paint the darkest picture possible so that even the thinnest glimmer of light would shine beautifully across us all. There are reports that the civil service is full of purpose and energy with the new government. This may be true for those at the top of the pyramid, but at lower levels the air is thick with anxiety and discontent
What we're actually seeing, therefore, is a policy aimed at vastly and at the lowest possible cost reducing the numbers of lower grade civil servants that the higher grades (who are the ones who are actually taking the piss, partly due to the Thatcher/Blair obsession with getting industry bigwigs into the Civil Service) will sign up to. There's nothing that a senior civil service manager likes more than putting his name to a reorganisation, regardless of success, and I think we can already hazard a guess at the kind of managerialist who will prosper under the change of regime while the rest wonder what the hell's going on. I give it six months before it's apparent that health, education and local government effectively stopped operating in June 2010 - you can't cut GPs, teachers and councillors loose from their sustaining bureaucracy* and pretend they'll all pick up the baton any more than you can release a tame owl into the wild and expect it not to starve.
* it doesn't matter that it's inefficient or a stupid way to run things, merely abolishing it with no Plan B other than 'you're on your own, don't ask us' is crazy, but that seems to be the plan. One prediction I'll put my name to now is an explosion of private sector shark oil merchants offering to run GP practices, schools etc. for a fat public money fee.