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December 06, 2008



The other possibility is that you are thinking like a managerialist, and you think that the best candidate is the one that will run the Met best. But the Met largely runs itself.

The main attribute of a Met chief is to be a "team player", politically reliable, acting as a good transmission belt between the Home Office and the Met.

In other words, the main goal is to find and reward with a promotion someone who is going to enjoying the confidence and "works well" with the Home Secretary.


In general, like in your book and in previous posts, you seem to pretend to take "managerialist" politicians at face value. Politicians are firstly politicians and their main worry is to figure out what voters will vote for in the secret of the ballot, and be re-elected.

"managerialism" to me seems just a "dog whistle" message that voters understand very well, it is about reassuring the median voter that her politics are so important that There Is No Alternative, the only task is to do what the median voter wants in a passable way.

That the hegemony of the petty bourgeouise politics is so absolute that the only conceivable questions are how about administration.

As I sometimes say, it is the dictatorship of the elderly aunts...


I think your final paragraph is completely correct. The wisdom of doing nothing so that practical solutions emerge is completely lost on this shower.

Bob B

"But the Met largely runs itself."

That, arguably, is the main problem - the Police are out of control.

Let's put it this way - Damian Green was fortunate.

He could have been carrying a table leg or in bed when the Police came to arrest him:

"Officer cleared after killing a man carrying a table leg"

"Three Sussex officers avoid prosecution over fatal operation and subsequent cover-up which was damned by two separate inquiries

"In a small Sussex seaside town, at 20 past four in the morning, James Ashley was sleeping naked in his bed. Seconds later, he was on the floor, shot dead at a range of 18ins, by a police officer using a powerful Heckler & Koch carbine."


I think you miss the point of the selection process; it's to establish loyalties and power heirarchies, not to choose the right person.

The interviewers have the opportunity to say no. If they say yes, then they cannot later compain about the candidate as they were party to the decision. Similarly the eventual post holder owes the interviewers for selecting him/her, so immediately has an inclination to support them.

Bob B

If true, this is certainly alarming:

"A new Bill outlined in last week's Queen's Speech contains small print which would allow officers of the Electoral Commission unfettered powers to search MPs offices or homes. If the Commons' Speaker tried to stop the searches, he would be committing a criminal offence."

One of the MPs on BBC Any Questions? on Friday made a strong case for maintaining Parliamentary privilege to protect MPs' correspondence from police scrutiny.

The MP said his office files contained correspondence with a constituent who was in the police and concerned corruption in the local force. The MP dreaded to contemplate the consequences that could flow if the police were able to access his files.

Try this:


No, Damien Green was unfortunate. He can no longer enter the US (and possibly other countries, I've not checked) without applying for a visa at the embassy.

One answer to this post, surely, is that's it's a good idea that a democratically elected person gets the final decision? Or has that been dealt with?

Bob B

"One answer to this post, surely, is that's it's a good idea that a democratically elected person gets the final decision?"

Why? Decisions about interest rates - a potent instrument of economic policy - have been handed over to a committee of nominated economists.

Why can't the appointment of Met Police Commissioners be delegated to a committee comprising the nominated good and great applying whatever modern methods of personel selection they deem appropriate for the post? With all the Blairite modernisation going on, why not include psychometric and lie-detector tests in selection procedures to ensure only honest, politically-sensitive and balanced personalities get the job?

Just as interest rates can go up as well as down, the power of dismissal could also be vested in the committee of the good and great. That might be a good way of ensuring that opposition parties will be allowed to continue to fulfil their constitutional function of ensuring that governing parties maintain all the qualities of transparency and accountability that they so vehemently claim to be committed to.

Roger Evans

You may be surprised by the amount of experience senior politicians actually have of selecting top managers.

In almost 20 years of elected office, first as a councillor, then as a member of the London Assembly, I have interviewed for head teachers, council directors, chief executives, public authority board members, parliamentary candidates, senior police officers and senior fire officers.

My experience has reached the point where I am often shocked by the poor quality of some of the interviews I sit through on the receiving end, and I actually coach and advise candidates for political posts.


Did Jacqui Smith get her job by lot? It might explain a few things


"In other words, the main goal is to find and reward with a promotion someone who is going to enjoying the confidence and "works well" with the Home Secretary."

Which makes no sense given the limited time in office of a Home Secretary. Perhaps the goal is to find a candidate who can work with the Home Office? That sounds a bit too cosy for my comfort.

Bob B

Remember all that stuff about: "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"?

"Violent crime by young people has risen by nearly 40% in the past three years. according to figures published yesterday. The Youth Justice Board said violence against the person by under-18s increased by 39%, from just over 40,000 offences in 2003-04 to more than 56,000 in 2006-07. Robberies committed by under-18s also saw a large rise - up by 45%, from 4,740 to 6,855 a year." [16 May 2008]

"The Home Office today provoked a major row when it blamed inaccurate police record-keeping for an apparent 22% rise in the number of the most serious violent crimes in England and Wales."
Guardian, 23 October 2008

"Data supplied by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to her Opposition shadow, Dominic Grieve, indicated the detection rate for offences of violence against the person fell to 49 per cent in 2007/08. The Home Office said the figure was being pushed down because forces were no longer able to count as many cases where no further action was taken as 'solved' crimes."
[18 November 2008]

That's why the job of Met Polics Commissioner is important. What those news reports also illuminate is why Home Office mandarins and ministers are apt to get up tight at the prospect of outsiders ferreting around in the office files of undisclosed data.

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