The comments on this post are amazing...the extraordinary efforts required by civil servants and others to justify their expenses, against this cavalier use of public money. My favorite comment was by someone criticized for buying the "expensive biros"!
I spent literally hundreds of hours over my career both collating, photocopying and itemizing my own expenses, as well as poring over the claims of those I line managed, (feel guilty about this) sometimes order to ensure not even a hint of fraud.
Of course, it's absolutely essential to use public money carefully. However, I once got into serious trouble with the FCDO hierarchy for pointing out that the amount of time spent on such activity and other rigorous internal paperwork also came at a cost.
I calculated that "bureaucracy freedom" day (ie an end to the amount of time we spent administering ourselves) came in about September, meaning only October onwards was time freed up for actual external foreign policy work.
This observation (on the in-house blog) irritated the FCDO senior management so much that they complained to my Ambassador that he wasn't managing me properly and needed to approve my blogs (ie censor them) before they went live.
Though to their credit, the FCDO board did then initiate an exercise to streamline internal processes.
But what does all the counting pennies and careful accounting of junior expenses matter, when higher level expenditure gets waived through.
I feel very sorry for civil servants trying to maintain standards with staff, when their political masters have no such restraint...;
Let's not forget that while the civil service code is statutory, the ministerial code is not, and at discretion of the PM whether to punish Ministers found in breach (Patel? Hancock?). And he appoints the supposedly "independent" arbiter..Lord Geidt, anyone?
Retweet if you think this is a rotten system.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with alexandra hall hall

alexandra hall hall Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @alexhallhall

28 Dec 21
I'm quoted in this article about the decline of the FCDO saying: "The job of foreign secretary no longer necessarily goes to a minister with a long record of thinking about the Uk's strategic challenges..(cont)…
"It is a top prize - one of the top cabinet posts that is given to politicians for their loyalty, or to keep them quiet, or out of the country."
Couple of other quotes in the article came from me also, uncited, including the comments about officials now self-censoring, unable to give honest advice for fear of being accused of being a "Remainer" who can't be trusted. I experienced that directly.
Read 11 tweets
24 Dec 21
Though I may have resigned from the Foreign Office, rumours of my demise as a diplomat are greatly exaggerated. Today I report as the new "Ambassador at Large" to the Court of St James: my first report is the traditional "First Impressions" despatch, titled "Yule Britannia"🧵
SUMMARY: The UK today is far removed from the "Cool Britannia" of a decade ago. Buffeted by crises and scandals, many self-inflicted, trust in the government is plummeting, even as the costs of Brexit become more apparent, and covid takes its toll on a fatigued and divided nation
ECONOMY: This year saw supply chain problems, empty grocery shelves, worker shortages, soaring fuel prices, pigs culled and crops unpicked. While covid played its part, and other countries faced problems, Brexit magnified the impact in UK, though the Government remains in denial.
Read 21 tweets
19 Dec 21
Very good analysis here on implications of Frost's departure. But what I can't imagine is how and with whom BJ replaces him whilst maintaining party unity: I call it "The Goldilocks Problem "🧵
2/ Another hardliner, or even more extreme successor to Frost will only exacerbate relations with EU [and US, if NIP threats continue], worsen business problems, and increase disillusion of even more voters about Brexit, whose results fall far short of what was promised..
3/ But a more moderate pragmatic replacement will alienate ERG rebels and stir up allegations of BJ "selling out". Too soft.
Read 7 tweets
15 Dec 21
My earlier tweets were really just limbering up for today's 🧵, dissecting Penny Mordaunt's speech at the Carter Centre in Atlanta's a bit all over the place, frankly, and I am afraid this is not my best effort either, but here goes...…
First: location: the Carter Center founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter has a "fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health"
Mordaunt makes barely a passing reference to the Carters or their work; instead focusing almost entirely on the UK & Brexit, pitching it as "a massive opportunity to anyone who believes in democracy and the power of trade as a force for good in the world."
Read 17 tweets
13 Dec 21
Amidst the row over the govt's perceived "One Rule for Us and One Rule for them" approach at home, I've been reflecting on the extent to which there's also a certain amount of "Do as I Say, Not as I do" in our international dealings as well..🧵
I thoroughly welcome focus in Govt's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Dvlpmt and Foreign Policy on "championing human rights, democratic values, good governance, the rule of law, and open societies". I regard these as part and parcel of security: enlightened self interest.
In the FCDO's 2020 human rights report, Raab described "the mission of Global Britain as a force for good." Liz Truss's Chatham House speech last week, though heavy on trade, tech and security, also contained stirring words about supporting freedom loving countries and so forth;
Read 24 tweets
12 Dec 21
Actually, Truss's speech makes my blood boil: it's fine to have a strategic vision, but the bread and butter of foreign policy involves daily hard choices/tradeoffs: Saudi arms sales vs human rights, fighting corruption vs Russian money in UK, Uighurs & Tibet vs trade w China etc
Truss's calls for "the free world to fight back", harness the "power of economics and technology ", forming a "network of liberty" etc offer no practical guide for dealing with real live situations in Yemen, Belarus, Myanmar, Iran, Afghanistan, Venezuela etc....
She urges "it's time for us to be proud of who we stand for"; and proclaims "Britain is the greatest country on earth "
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!