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Matthew Hancock

After more or less ignoring politics for eighteen months, I am trying to catch up with changes at the top of the civil service and in key ministerial roles. So this is the first in a series of catch-up posts. A few months before the last election, Francis Maude (b1953) announced he would be standing […]

Communications and other data (2)

In the first article ( Guilt by Association ) I listed three factors that people tended to miss when advocating more powers for the security services and police. The third was the impact of Big Data. I have written on this topic before (eg here and here), but I do not seem to have written […]


Back in 1979 grades in Whitehall were simpler. The top grades were all “Secretaries”. Going downwards we had: Cabinet Secretary, Permanent Secretary, 2nd Permanent Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary. Only the Treasury had 2nd Permanent Secretaries, and only the Cabinet Office had the Cabinet Secretary. Grades of Under Secretary and above were the […]

Guilt by association

The draft Bill was published at lunch-time today. The document is almost 300 pages long and I have not begun to look at the detail. But the two essential points are clear. First, Theresa May has grasped that she cannot get the Bill through Commons or Lords without granting more oversight to the judges, so […]

Synod (2)

I remarked in the previous post on this topic that the traditionalist commentary by Christopher Ferrara, a Catholic layman and New York lawyer, was persuasive. That does not mean that I agree with it in its entirety, or that it does not sometimes get a little overexcited. One of the difficulties about the Synod for […]