Beware the Mandarins

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Outrageous sexual harassment by police, which today would land the culprit in jail for 20 years in the US, plus threats from superiors about repercussions if ridiculous instructions are disobeyed are evidence that the civil service in the UK is not all it’s cracked up to be. Jane Hogg has lifted the curtain to show that Whitehall, the police and supposedly devoted administrators are just as prone to empire building and skullduggery as anyone else. There is also widespread corruption. Making the situation even more deplorable is that scientific specialists are sidelined or overruled by Mandarins anxious to climb up the ladder, even if this is to the detriment of the civil service and the nation. She saw the chicanery as a fire research officer trying to improve analysis and reporting of incidents, coupled with efforts to get more efficient fire station coverage. The tale becomes weak and puzzling when she links events to outright and sinister conspiracies, along with the implication that certain accidents are actually attempts to kill her. Clearly, she was often unfairly thwarted when proposing new schemes for a more efficient fire service. The thread is made even more puzzling by lengthy and detailed accounts of her home life. A couple of officials she deals with come through as thoroughly unpleasant characters, but this is marred by a parade of so many others that it is difficult to discern where the real nastiness lies. The inclusion of an organizational chart at the beginning goes some way, but not all, to clarifying matters. The result would be better, along with her argument, if the story stuck rigidly to the premise that the civil service is in dire need of an overhaul. The parallels with the defects of US agencies are striking and educational.

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Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 292 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 04-May-2012
ISBN 9781470068738 Buy this Book
Issue January 2013
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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