Home Secretary Priti Patel is just about the only proper Conservative within the Boris Johnson administration — so naturally, the left-leaning Remainer Deep State is trying to destroy her and claim her scalp.
All week, the media has been full of stories — leaked, of course, by her Deep State enemies in the Civil Service — about what an awful, useless minister Patel is. One egregious rumour claimed that MI5 officials were withholding intelligence from her because they did not trust her. (MI5 has robustly denied this). Other reports have claimed that she is a workplace bully in the habit of “swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands”.
The last claim was made by Sir Philip Rutnam, the senior Home Office official who publicly resigned at the weekend in front of a BBC camera crew, in order to cause maximum embarrassment to Patel and the government.
Rutnam — nicknamed Sir Calamity because in his time as a senior civil servant he has presided over so many cock-ups and disasters — is the very embodiment of the kind of remote, arrogant, complacent, intractable and devious Deep State mandarin that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings is trying to purge from the Civil Service.
Like most of the Civil Service, Rutnam is an ardent Remainer. Though his job is to implement government policy, Rutnam appeared to spend more of his time trying to frustrate it – especially with regards to the plans for Brexit, which Rutnam claimed, were too ambitious to complete in time for the December deadline.
According to the Sun‘s account of their spat:
But Ms Patel’s allies last night retaliated to dub Sir Philip “a classic, old school establishment mandarin” who is overly cautious.
One said: “He is very good at blocking things without saying it. It is never a flat out ‘no’, just lots of ‘ooh minister, that’s very courageous’”.
Rutnam, in other words, was ripe for the chop. But by jumping before he was pushed, he was able to present his departure as a case of high moral principle – while sticking the knife into Patel.
His pompous resignation letter gives a pretty good idea of the kind of man Rutnam is:
One of my duties as permanent secretary was to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our 35,000 people.
This created tension with the Home Secretary, and I have encouraged her to change her behaviours.
I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands – behaviour that created fear and that needed some bravery to call out.
It’s really not difficult to read between the lines here. Rutnam – and his fellow civil servants – tried to frustrate Patel rather than help her. Patel wasn’t having this and made her displeasure known. This then enabled the Civil Service to pretend that the issue was Patel’s workplace bullying rather than its own institutional sclerosis and incompetence.
The liberal elite hunts in packs, so it comes as no surprise whatsoever to find that the BBC is ganging up with the Civil Service to try to oust Patel.
BREAKING: A formal complaint about Priti Patel's conduct was made when she was Employment Minister at Department for Work and Pensions,@BBCNews has been told. Complaint is believed to have been made by a member of her private office…
— Danny Shaw (@DannyShawBBC) March 1, 2020
According to an analysis conducted by Conservative Woman, the BBC’s coverage has been massively biased against Patel and pro-Rutnam.
Broadcasting House: Lord Kerslake (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti)
The World This Weekend: Jonathan Powell (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Lord Butler (neither one nor the other).
PM: Dave Penman, Yvette Cooper (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Crispin Blunt (pro-Priti / anti-Sir Philip)
BBC News Channel: Lord Kerslake (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Owen Jones (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Cindy Yu (neither one nor the other); Sir Anthony Seldon (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Yvette Cooper (pro-Sir Philip / anti-Priti); Sebastian Payne (neither one nor the other).
This is a battle the government has to win. If it loses, what’s left of its credibility will be shredded for it will have shown itself to be powerless against the Deep State.
The Deep State — politically correct, rampantly Europhile, endemically Nanny Statist — is the embodiment of everything the British people voted against when they voted Leave in the Brexit Referendum.
Take yourselves out of the Whitehall protectorate for a moment. Some of the claims being made, hurty emails etc are utterly feeble and petulant and in stark contrast to the needs of ordinary people in the real world where crime & ASB blight lives. #HitJob https://t.co/2ghcb3q26l
— Ian Acheson (@NotThatBigIan) March 4, 2020
As Ian Acheson, himself a former Home Office civil servant, rightly suggests in that tweet, most British people have many, many more important things to worry about than whether or not Priti Patel bullied a senior civil servant so that ‘he signed off with stress.’
No one likes a bully. But equally no one likes the tendency — especially prevalent among the kind of Social Justice Warrior snowflake types rampant in the Civil Service — towards using mental health issues as a way of avoiding responsibility for laziness or incompetence.
Acheson’s article for Cap X about his experiences at the Home Office is well worth a read.
But I have also encountered many more people in public service who allege bullying or go off sick with ‘stress’ at the point where they are facing exposure and accountability for failure to deliver. This can also be the final throw of the dice for the bureaucrat who, having used all his obfuscatory ammunition to no effect, deploys the ‘B’ word.
And he goes on to spell out just why it’s so important that Boris stands up for Patel:
To put it bluntly, people burying their kids due to knife crime, fearful about violent extremism, plagued by a collapse of civility and antisocial behaviour, marooned in postcodes where the only visible authority is a parking ticket aren’t interested in the bruised feelings of some well-heeled permanent secretaries. They want things done.
Their preference will be to back a Home Secretary who is on their side and impatient for results. The political rhymes with the personal. And that constituency dwarfs the Whitehall machine.
Absolutely right. The voters who gave Boris Johnson an 80-seat majority did not do so in order to buoy up the overmanned, overpaid, self-serving Civil Service — not least because that Civil Service is full of people who think that Brexit voters are ignorant, fascistic thickos.
Reports today suggest that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ‘sticking by’ Priti Patel (who, symbolically, sat next to him on the government benches). Boris is not stupid; his chief advisor Dominic Cummings even less so: lose this one and they lose the entire game.