It is deeply disturbing hearing and reading the comments from a number of the highest profile people in our current Governmental organisation. Although the departure of Andrew Sabisky is to be welcomed, what was much more disturbing was that he was recruited in the first instance, given his public views that were well recorded and would have been well known amongst his colleagues. A couple of months ago the Governments published a document called “Annual Report on Special Advisers 2019” which explains how that at the end of 2019 there were 108.4 full time equivalent special advisers in the Government. These men and women were listed in the report although obviously they did not include Andrew Sabisky as he only lasted one day and began his job after the report was published. They also included the people who were working for Sajid Javid at the time as one of the elements of a Special Adviser role is that their contract ends if the person they are advising stops being a Minister. This number of people represents 0.026% of the full time Civil Service based on the document although it does not present that in a percentage term. However it does report that they are paid 0.06% of the Civil Service salaries so that indicates that they earn around 3 times the salaries of the Civil Servants and as we know in the case of Andrew Sabisky they get a great deal more profile than most civil servants do. Of the total number of SpAds who were working for the Government on the 20th December, 40% worked for the Prime Minister and they earned nearly 50% of the total salaries which amounts to over £7.5m so this is not an insignificant amount of public money and together they would be the equivalent of a medium size business. Clearly to employ 109 different people in very high profile public roles with a budget of nearly £8m cannot justify a poor quality recruitment arrangement which was very evident in this case. That said apart from Sabisky and Cummings and Cain, most of the SpAds are not publicly recognisable people.
On the other hand Priti Patel who had 4 SpAds working for her at the end of 2019 could perhaps benefit from some additional people or alternative people to help her to understand how her public comments are creating major challenges for us as a nation, although perhaps the bullying she carries out on the Civil Servants who work for the Home Office also makes her a difficult person to recruit Special Advisers. It is of course very helpful if people who come to another nation are able to communicate in an effective way, providing of course they arrive to start work as opposed to fleeing from a nation where bombs and violent threats are the reason for their departure. However it is also important that we do not ignore the history of our nation, given that many years ago we had a tradition of travelling to nations that we could fight against and control. We then demand that they would learn English so that we could dominate them in a manner that our Government considered would help us and may even help them. It is of course a very good idea to encourage people who want to work overseas to learn the language of the nation they are planning to live and work in. However speaking about it as if it only relates to people coming into our nation, and ignoring the basis on which people from our nation travel abroad is a rather negative approach. Also given that Patel and Johnson allow people from a range of nations to come here, irrespective of their language providing they are very rich, displays a lack of credibility. I have had limited overseas experience, but I do recall visiting Thailand just over 30 years ago and whilst I stayed away from the British Club in Bangkok, it was obvious that some British people wanted to visit another place without changing their behaviour and even their eating arrangements. Another example is British people who run British looking pubs in parts of Spain or the people who are involved in the Escape to the Chateaux who set up venues in France for British people to go to for weddings. These sorts of ideas are at odds with the demands being made by Patel towards people coming into our nation to help strengthen our economy. Also the British Ambassadors and their colleagues who live and work in nearly 200 other nations do not all do so with very effective language and cultural understanding. If we are going to place demands on people moving into the UK, perhaps we can set out some terms for our emigrants to adopt!