Scottish mandarins breaking away from Whitehall

Just back from a weekend enjoying the English summer, so I haven’t had a chance until now to acknowledge this very significant story:

In a development that will alarm unionist politicians at Westminster, Sir John Elvidge has revealed civil servants no longer exchange information informally, as they did in the first eight years of devolution.

The sea change in relations between Edinburgh and Whitehall was revealed as Sir John, the Permanent Secretary at the Executive, said he was pressing ahead with plans to create a separate Scottish civil service, severing the link with Whitehall that has existed for more than a century. (Scotsman)

The fact that Scottish Civil Service is implementing one of the SNP’s manifesto commitments seems to have come as a surprise to the opposition parties. Perhaps that’s an indication of the cast of mind that Tom Nairn highlights in his latest post:

The present never ceases to surprise us. But
that can only be because everyone has taken too seriously certain
official ideas of the past, perceived as regulating the onward course
of cruise-liner Homo Sapiens. Not surprisingly, the on-bridge
intelligentsia has considered primarily the views of its
ticket-brandishing state-room passengers. (Their Kingdom 2)






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