Monday, 20 August 2018

The rise of the bluffocracy.

In this week's Spectator the main article is written by James Ball and Andrew Greenway who co-wrote their newly released book 'Bluffocracy.'

The key points from their article are:-

1. Far too often government policy collapses as a result of MPs and civil servants whose knowledge extends a mile wide but only and inch deep. These are people able to talk themselves out of trouble rather than learning how to run things carefully. Our institutions run on short-termism.

2. Our MPs increasingly come from the same 'political reseachers' background with for example only 9% of candidates at the last election with a degree in science or technology with the Labour party only have one engineer out of 258 MPs.  As a result MPs spend their time 'spinning' arguments they often don't understand and certainly don't mean.

3. Bluffers are made not born often with a degree in PP&E with ministers spending far too little time in any given department. Sajid Javid, for example, has had seven jobs in six years and many civil servants suffering the same syndrome with the D for E the EU losing one in 10 staff every three months.

4. Civil servants who get on 'are those that can write a good minute which gets a minister out of trouble' rather than ' those who can run things so that they don't get into trouble in the first place'.

5. The media are just as bad at exposing the 'bluffers' and holding them to account as journalist are generalists having to turn their hand to any number of subjects and end up 'playing the game of politics'.

6.  The public are tiring of this system with 55% saying MPs should have had another job.

7. They don't see this system changing any time soon outside of a decent sized war to shake things up. They finish by writing "It's time to reshape our institutions to let the experts in, to reward serious knowledge. We need a system that works, and experts who are willing to join it. Any volunteers?"

I agree with much of this article and it supports nicely the other book I frequently quote 'Blunders of our Governments by King and Crewe.

The missing ingredient in my opinion is the omission of the part we 'The People' must play in any new system and reform of our governance for without them having the necessary POWER to, where and when necessary, control our governments they will always resort back to the bluffocracy culture.


  1. Excellent overview Niall, and very prescient. I do think that THA has legs and when the final crunch comes, the six demands will become raised in the consciousness of the people. Keep slogging away, at least I am reading your observations.

  2. Thanks for this. Alas, the basic analysis seems only too accurate. And goes back a long way. In the 1980s I had a series of runins with a very senior civil servant about IT policy - I realise now he was a classic bluffocrat.

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    1. Thanks Peter and David for both your comments.

      The essential thing now is for anyone who supports our agenda to go out and help spread the word. We always knew from the start that we would need ambassadors for our cause to help us become main stream.

      There is still a long way to go as most of the people,for now,are still too comfortable but that can and will change as the incompetence of our politicians becomes too obvious to cover up.