Friday, November 30, 2012

David Cameron takes a swipe in energy war

The Financial Times' Nick Butler writes on political interference in public service appointments in a column concluding the UK energy bill is policy only until it isn't ...

David Cameron takes a swipe in energy war | Nick Butler:
What are we to make of the bizarre events in Whitehall where the prime minister has personally intervened to block the appointment of David Kennedy, the highly respected head of the Committee on Climate Change who had been chosen by a formal civil service process as permanent secretary of the troubled Department of Energy Climate Change.
I feel very sorry for the civil servants involved. Mr Kennedy has had a lucky escape but they have to continue to try to do professional jobs in an institution ridiculed by the rest of Whitehall, untrusted to appoint its own staff and destabilised by the atmosphere of distrust between its own ministers.
For the energy industry, the bigger message is that the energy department is still a very volatile and political place. The measures announced in the energy bill will be reviewed again after the election – with the clear implication that they are likely to be changed if the political complexion of the government changes. The department has no permanent secretary and no permanent policy.
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