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