Few tears to be shed by civil servants when Hain’s Special Advisor leaves

Guido still has some, so far unanswered, questions for the Secretary of State for Wales, etc’s Special Advisor, Phil Taylor – relating to whether he’s resigning/seeking unpaid leave/or has already been campaigning for Mr Hain in breach of the Special Advisor’s Code of Conduct. In the meantime the Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has been getting some reaction from “a well-placed Northern Ireland Civil Service source”, as well as from “a source close to Mr Hain’s NIO team” [Peter Hain?.. Phil Taylor? – Ed] Perhaps not surprisingly there’s a slight difference of opinion..From the Belfast Telegraph

A well-placed Northern Ireland Civil Service source claims the tensions with officials had little or nothing to do with the policies involved.

This source says a “bombastic” personal style and “awful” interpersonal relations were at the heart of the problems.

“It wasn’t so much what Phil Taylor was doing, but the way he was doing it.

“A lot of it was down to Hain giving him free rein and not caring about the consequences.”

While Peter Hain Phil Taylor someone gives an alternative viewpoint..

A source close to Mr Hain’s NIO team says defiantly: “Phil’s well known for playing hard ball. But there’s often a civil service machine pulling in the opposite direction to where Peter wants to go and his job, as just one individual, is to ensure the policies that Ministers want are being delivered – often they aren’t.

“The difference from previous years is not Phil Taylor but that this whole direct rule team has been focused relentlessly on bread and butter issues for the first time.

“Previously, the emphasis was largely on just holding the fort until devolution was restored.

“That left the departments to pretty much run themselves.

“Under Peter Hain, the civil service has had to get used to a politician who knows what he wants.”

Well, we know where Peter Hain wants to go… but does he know what he wants?…

Also of interest, given Guido’s unanswered questions, is the later quote from the article

Mr Taylor has insisted that he has been “absolutely scrupulous” in following the guidelines at all times.

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  • fred

    surely one of the most revealing aspects of Hain’s tenure here is the contrast it has provided between the young, pricipled anti-apartheid activist that we all knew and admired in the ’70’s and the perma-tanned, ambitious, scheming and bullying monster who flies between cardiff and belfast issuing threats and barking orders all around him – who can forget the sinister threat he made to Raymond McCord? I only had dealings with Hain and his entourage once; it was an unpleasant experience and I concluded tha Hain had surrounded himself with clones for lackeys. may he disappear out of lives soon and forever

  • parcifal

    peteb, surely you’ll shed a few tears, he represents 50% of your postings.
    What will you do without him 😉

  • fred

    parcifal
    we’ll then have a new set of bullies, one lot from sinn fein, the other from the dup both intolerant, both used to threatening their way through life, both undemocratic and selfish – you’ll hardly know the difference except that the new bullies will speak with local accents

  • parcifal

    fred,
    bleak indeed

    It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
    What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
    Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
    And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us
    Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
    Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
    The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
    The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
    Useless in the darkness into which they peered
    Or from which they turned their eyes.

    old possum

    * hebetude .. dullness of mind, mental lethargy

  • Rory

    I heard on this morning’s AM on Radio4 that Liverpool FC supporters have been petitioning Downing Street to award a posthumous knighthood to the club’s late manager, the equally late Bill Shankley. Perhaps in a spirit of forgiveness and goodwill the good citizens of the north might consider some similar accolade upon Mr Hain’s departure.

    I know that I have long been in favour of the posthumous coronation of Margaret, Lady Thatcher. And the sooner the better.

  • Rory – feel obligated to correct that; the campaign is to grant a posthumous knighthood to Liverpool manager Bob Paisley, the most successful football manager in the history English football.

  • Rory

    Thank you, Metal. Too many Paisleys clearly had me bewildered (not for the first time).