The Byzantine Empire used to appoint regional Governors who had no family or political ties to the province or region where they were to rule, in order to prevent a local powerbase from being established which might challenge the central political authorities.
The NuLabour Government seems to continuing this practice with the recent shuffling of senior Civil Servants:
[via Martin Stabe's blog}:
The Prime Minister's office Number 10 Downing Street has announced that:
"New Permanent Secretary Appointments announced
28 September 2005
The Prime Minister, with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Defence, has approved the appointment of Bill Jeffrey, currently Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Cabinet Office, to be Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence."
Bill Jeffery was the senior Civil Servant in charge of the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate during the scandals which lead to the resignation of the Minister responsible for Immigration Beverly Hughes, and the disgrace and resignation of David Blunkett, again over an Immigration scandal.
He was only appointed less than six months ago (although the announcement was made in January) to replace Sir David Omand this Easter. As Intelligence and Security Coordinator, he has already achieved the rank of Permanent Secretary, so this could arguably be considered to be a sideways promotion or demotion, as he is replacing
"The Prime Minister has also approved the appointment of Sir Richard Mottram, currently Permanent Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions, as the new Security and Intelligence Coordinator in succession to Bill Jeffrey.
Sir Richard will also chair the Joint Intelligence Committee."
The Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee was supposed to be someone who is approaching the end of their Civil Service Career. Presumably the former Chairman William Ehrman, will now presumably take up his position as British Ambassador to China in Beijing.
Why have the roles of Intelligence and Security Coordinator and Chairman of the Joint intelligence Committee now been combined ?
Surely this is not what the Butler Committee Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction into the "dodgy dossier", the "sexed up dossier" and the tragic death of Dr,. David Kelly reccommended ?
Or is this just a way for Sir Richard to escape from the clutches of the odious David Blunkett, who is, astonishingly, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
"The Prime Minister has also, with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, approved the appointment of Leigh Lewis, currently Permanent Secretary Crime, Policing, Counter Terrorism and Delivery in the Home Office, as the new Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions in succession to Sir Richard."
Does this mean that David Blunkett will now be expanding the already extensive snooping powers of the Department for Work and Pensions even further, and planning to treat benefit claimants like terrorist suspects ?
Or is this an implied criticism of Leigh Lewis, who is not following Bill Jeffery from the Home Office to the role of Security Intelligence Coordinator ?
Is the obvious failure of intelligence, which did not prevent the terrorist attacks in London by British nationals this July the reason for these appointments ?