Priti Patel

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Offline the leveller

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Priti Patel
« on: February 26, 2020, 05:09:46 PM »
❤️ Priti Patel
🤮 Home Office
From Telegraph’s Allison Pearson:
When I met the new Home Secretary at the Conservative Party Conference back in September, she was remarkably buoyant, determined to get on with the job the voters expected her to do – and clearly aghast at the state of the department she had taken over.
Reviews had been commissioned at vast expense and resulted in exactly nothing. The newsagent’s daughter was staggered by all the waste. Priti Patel twitched that mischievous little smile of hers and told me that in nine weeks, she hoped to achieve more than had been achieved in the previous nine years.
Well, we know how that worked out, don’t we? Or, at least, we can have a good guess.
For the past week, Home Office civil servants – not particularly civil and certainly no one’s servant – have been briefing furiously against their boss, who is accused of “bullying, belittling officials in meetings and creating an atmosphere of fear”. Yesterday, we learnt that two senior civil servants have been forced out and transferred to other departments.
On top of that came the highly damaging allegation that MI5 did not trust Patel and was limiting the information they showed her. We were led to believe that intelligence chiefs “regularly roll their eyes” at her interventions in meetings. So not just a horrid bully, then, but thick as well.
The latter charge was swiftly knocked on the head when security sources took the remarkable step this week of issuing a statement to say that the claims about the Home Secretary were “simply untrue”. That didn’t stop her many critics repeating them with a told-you-so relish.
Male commentators of a certain vintage and background seemed to take particular pleasure in lambasting Priti Patel in a highly personal manner. In The Times, Matthew Parris, still suffering PTSD after Brexit, poor man, declared that “Patel’s bullying stems from her inadequacy”, her record of “abusive and undisciplined behaviour is as long as your arm” and she should “never have been allowed anywhere near a ministerial red box”.
Meanwhile, responding to allegations that senior civil servants were working to undermine the Secretary of State, The Guardian sniffed: “That officials might finally be seeking to sensitise a Right-wing minister is welcome.”
Wow. Marvel at the exquisite condescension dripping from that sentence. Patel, who has committed the hideous faux pas of being “Right wing”, must be taught the error of her ways by unelected Left-wing civil servants who know so much better than she how the country should be run. I’m afraid Sir Humphrey has decided that uppity little brown woman is intruding on his fiefdom and simply has to be put back in her box.
In any other circumstances, this would be called out for what it is: racist, misogynist and with a nasty pinch of snobbery thrown in.
On the Labour benches, shadow ministers Diane Abbott and Dawn Butler say things of almost unfathomable stupidity on an hourly basis (only last week, Ms Butler assured an interviewer that a baby doesn’t have a biological sex at birth). However, both those women are in the protected category of BAME: any criticism of a black, Asian, minority ethnic person is automatically deemed to be racist by the Guardian-reading classes.
But Priti Patel is the wrong kind of brown person, so they hate her. Not only is she a Tory, she doesn’t choose to confine herself to the BAME victim ghetto; she’s British and that’s that.
The attacks on “Priti Vacant” over the past few days have been truly disgusting. If there is any bullying going on here, it’s the chapocracy at the Home Office trying to bully Patel out of her job.
“She is not committed to the rule of law and encourages behaviour outside of it,” they complain. Translated from the Mandarinese, that means: She thinks foreign criminals who are due for deportation should damn well be deported to protect the public, and is furious when a court prevents that deportation going ahead. This may not endear her to the Home Office, but it’s how most normal people think.
After one meeting, an exasperated Patel was said to have shouted: “Why is everyone so f------ useless?” Frankly, when all her policies are obstructed, who can blame her? She went in to do a job and the cosy cabal are fainting in horror at the idea that they might actually have to do something besides attending meetings and dipping their Bourbon biscuits into weak Lapsang.
Aides report that the Secretary of State is constantly told by civil servants that there is “a 70 per cent chance” they will lose any given court case. Imagine her frustration at being unable to get a grip on law and order because the law – and her department – are ranged against her.
In this latest skirmish, Patel is said to have called for the removal of Sir Philip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office. Sir Philip is no stranger to failure, including the 2012 West Coast rail franchise fiasco. A review found that officials made “deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes”. But at Sir Philip’s level, no one ever carries the can; can-carrying is for the lower orders – like Priti Sushil Patel.
Patel is hardly the first Home Secretary to do battle with the Home Office. Stephen Pollard, the biographer of David Blunkett, recalls that when Blunkett first became home secretary, he and his aides were shocked to find how chaotic and inefficient the department was.
But there was only so much change Blunkett could manage without triggering a backlash. Ministers who want a clear-out of obstructive civil servants can swiftly be brought down by smears like the ones currently targeted at Patel. (No surprise that the attacks started just as she was introducing her points-based immigration system.)
“The people inside the Home Office didn’t believe that we would do what we said,” Blunkett recalled, “And they had a policy of their own. We were running parallel policies. There were my policies, and there was what officials called ‘Home Office policy’, and that was what they worked to. I had to say to them over and over again: ‘There is only one policy, and it’s what we say it is.’”
Now that, dear reader, is the true story behind all the headlines about Priti Patel being a bully. Our plucky little firebrand of a Home Secretary is giving Sir Humphrey a rocket and he don’t like it up his pinstriped posterior.
At root, this is a crucial question about who actually governs the country. Is it a becalmed, self-protecting officer class that shudders fastidiously at popular change, or is it the democratically elected, born-above-a-corner-shop, grammar-school girl?
Last week, I reported on the way Cambridge Police used emergency powers to close down two roads to “facilitate a peaceful protest by Extinction Rebellion”. Over the weekend, XR protesters occupied the roof of a petrol station in the city. The lovely man who works behind the counter at the station – let’s call him Dev – closed his shop. When the police arrived, Dev says they told him to open up the shop so the protesters could “use the toilets and buy snacks”. Dev point-blank refused. Why on earth would he help criminals trying to ruin the business?
I think we could be fairly certain – Priti certain, actually – whose side the Home Secretary would be on in that stand-off between Dev and the police. How strange that it now falls to the children of immigrants to be the first defenders of British common sense against Leftist lunacy.
I have every sympathy for Priti Patel, and every confidence in her, too. We may like to pause at this point and think about another born-above-a-corner-shop, Right-wing grammar-school girl who was patronised, smeared and stymied by chaps in the cosy club of power as she fought to introduce changes they didn’t approve of.
There was no doubt at all who was running the country after Margaret Hilda Thatcher had finished with them.


 
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