The failure to sack @pritipatel for breaching the Ministerial Code in her abuse of civil servants shows a deep breakdown in accountability from a government that continues to regard its role as to campaign rather than to govern. [thread]
Campaigning involves rapid reaction and response. The peak of a campaign lasts a few weeks. Governing involves taking proactive, long-term, sometimes difficult decisions, explaining them patiently and consistently and then focusing relentless on implementation.
In campaigning, if you lie, you take the risk of being found out and punished by the voters. In government, you make the laws and you should be bound by them; ministers are there to uphold the law, show impartiality, and govern for all citizens (not just their friends).
Apparently, Boris Johnson understood this when he wrote his foreword to the Ministerial Code:
Ministers often come into office suspicious of civil servants. That’s natural. They haven’t been with you on the campaign trail, through thick and thin. They aren’t “one of us”. But part of governing is working with the machine of government.
Civil servants have duties to serve the government of the day and uphold the law. Government can change the rules, but it can't ask civil servants to ignore them. Things go wrong when ministers don’t trust the CS to serve them and so see upholding the law as deliberate blocking.
Even so, Ministers can disagree with their civil servants while remaining civil towards them. Ministers who have legislated on workplace bullying and harassment should be held to a higher standard, not exempted because they hold high office.
All those in public life should expect to be held to account for their actions. The problem with this government is that it appears to regards the expectation of accountability as a hostile act. So it flips to campaign mode and tries to “tough out” the negative stories.
By fighting back when misconduct is spotlighted, the government fundamentally misses the point. A report into bullying by a Minister is not an awkward question at a campaign rally that can be batted off. Sir Alex Allan resigned because the PM rejected his independent findings.
Many of those urging action are not hostile; they want to see action because they have a higher ideal of what government can be and should be. They, in fact, agree with the Prime Minister’s preface to the Ministerial Code. All they want is for @10DowningStreet to act on it.

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