So, the Telegraph has managed to get hold of a leaked document showing how the government intends to lay waste to the quangocracy. Perhaps I'm a little cynical, but I'm guessing this has been leaked with the full knowledge of the top table. It will, I suspect, be welcome news to most people, but still nobody is going to want to be seen to be the person wielding the knife, this is a handy tool to avoid that.
If you look at the list of those who seem to have their fate sealed there's a number of institutions that almost beggar belief:
Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances
Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection
Eh? It is a government, not an art gallery.
Lord alone knows what they do.
Commissioner for the Compact
The Commissioner for what? Is this a board for dwarves, like Pratchett's Campaign for Equal Heights? Or is it to do with Government make-up policy?
Committee on the Safety of Devices
What sort of devices? Electrical? Mechanical? Dramatic?
Government Hospitality Advisory Committee on the Purchase of Wines
Now you're taking the piss.
If you look down the list, you realise just how much stuff is being done in our name which means nothing, accomplishes nothing or deals in the irrelevant.
All of this is being done with your money, whether you want it done or not. All of these bodies will have the staff which carry out the duties of the quango, the staff who make sure all the paper is ordered and put in the printers, the staff who train those staff, the staff who manage those trainers, the staff who make the policy for those managers, the staff who support those policy makers, the list goes on and on and on, in 177+ bodies which are completely unaccountable.
And there's the rub, it isn't the fact that this stuff is being done when it isn't needed, and at great cost, it is the fact that we have virtually no right to know what these quango's are doing, why they are doing it and how they are doing it. Bugger the money, this is no way for public servants to act in what is supposed to be an open democracy.
Ian Parker Joseph is concerned that the work will be done, or is already being done by departments in the machinery of the EU. My feelings about the EU are well documented here, but at least this means we won't be paying for it twice.
It's not all good news though, and there is an aspect which saddens me. I understand what the employees of these quango's must be feeling this morning. Hard as it may be to believe, there will be a good number of people who are about to lose their jobs who do care about the standard of their work, who do care about whichever aspect of life their particular quango oversees, who are effective at their jobs and who do appreciate that every single penny of public money which passes through their department is very precious.
I can do nothing but wish them well, and that their record and attitude means they will be able to find a job with the minimum possible delay. It is a path I may be walking shortly.
Whilst I feel for those people, there are organisations on that list which may as well be called the Dragon and Unicorn Preservation Trust, The Lunar Waterways Board or the Atlantis Redevelopment Council. I will mourn the losses of jobs for those who were worth those jobs, but I will not mourn the loss of the quangos.