51% of Australian Parliamentary staff report experiencing bullying, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. Would Mrs Collins be offended?

30 November 2021

The unintended outcome of today’s selection of a new leader of the National Party marked the crushing of Mrs Collins’ aspirations. Scheming eliminated her opponent from the leadership stakes but in circumstances that may well see him stay on the Opposition front bench with the possibility of being in Government, should the National Party stars realign! Her own spill is probably permanent. Perhaps she should have been more aware that this week is the anniversary of the 1963 release by the Beatles of “I want to hold your hand” and been more companionable. If she wanted to be Churchillian  – as 30 November was Winston’s birthday – she would have been better adopting his advice that “However beautiful the strategy you should occasionally look at the results.” This was not a fighting on the beaches occasion.

If she thought observations at a social occasion five years ago on the technique of procreating female offspring was gender-based harassment, she would certainly be too delicate for a Ministerial role in Australia.  A report tabled yesterday on the state of the Australian Public Service disclosed that sexual harassment complaints more than doubled between 2020 and 2021 and there had been a 30% increase in bullying and harassment complaints over the previous two years. In the face of troubling data on sexual complaints, an APS Gender Equality Strategy, due for release soon, will set out the APS Commission’s approach to preventing and responding to gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying.  The report sought to balance these “proportionally few” concerns with an acknowledgment of a strong workforce engagement and a changing mindset during the year, from individual agencies to “one-enterprise”.

But it may well be that the behaviour of Parliamentarians influences the conduct of public servants. The Guardian headline today of a 456 page report by the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner is  “Revolting and humiliating: 10 things we learned about working at parliament …” During a seven month inquiry, the commissioner and her staff  were told;

  • 51% of current parliamentary staff had experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault, while 77% had experienced, witnessed or heard about such behaviour.
  • 33% experienced some form of sexual harassment. “Aspiring male politicians who thought nothing of, in one case, picking you up, kissing you on the lips, lifting you up, touching you, pats on the bottom, comments about appearance, you know, the usual … the culture allowed it.”
  • Those doing the bullying, harassing and assaulting, tended to be more senior, and women were more likely to bully while men were more likely to perpetrate sexual harassment.
  • Only half of those involved knew how to make a report or complaint. And even if they know how to, most said they wouldn’t report it.
  • Only 11% of those who experienced sexual harassment reported it, because they thought it wasn’t serious enough, or that people would think they were overreacting.
  • Just 32% of those who experienced bullying reported it, as they thought nothing would be done or it would damage their reputation or career.

Existing codes, let alone the sense of decency expected of Members of Parliament and a recognition of their professional responsibilities, apparently have limited influence. Perhaps naming and shaming may be the only way to influence change. And may be Mrs Collins felt her actions were necessary to avoid a Covid-like transmission to the New Zealand Parliament of these Australian practices…..  




Tora, tora, tora | Integrity Talking Points

Can the Spirit of Service dull reactions and diminish responsiveness?

26 November 2021

A virtual celebration this week marked the announcement of the five category winners of 2021 Spirit of Service Awards. These were the agencies and individuals selected as exemplars of the Public Service Act section13 duty to act with the Spirit of Service to the community and to preserve, protect, and nurture the Spirit of Service to the community, that public service employees bring to their work.

The Awards have a lengthy pedigree having been championed for many years as the Public Service Excellence Awards by the Institute of Public Administration (IPANZ). A similar process has been maintained, with a premiere, Prime Minister’s Award going to the most worthy winner from the competition categories (Better Outcomes, Service Excellence, Maori-Crown Relationships, and Leadership in Governance). Coalitions of Health Agencies and Border Agencies engaged in Covid 19.  Shared the Prime Minister’s Award. Te Papa Tongarewa received the Leadership in Governance Award.

The persistence of Delta variant incursions has led to increasingly vocal criticism of Covid 19 elimination / suppression measures. What initially was a general willingness to comply with controls, is now fracturing with some in the media who deprecate the capability of Covid 19 programme managers, are expanding their audience of the disaffected. They want a “return to normal, now”, and with high numbers of the double vaccinated, for open borders, a resumption of tourism, a return of international education, immigration, and temporary workers from the Pacific. This movement may be seen as devaluing the commitment of the agencies awarded the Better Outcomes  and the Prime Minister’s Award and perhaps challenging the substance of the outcomes for which they have been recognised.

There may well be a link to the concerns voiced by Dame Kate Bingham in Britain. She is a venture capitalist in the life sciences, who was put in charge of leading the British vaccine task force last year. The Covid 19 campaign there was slow to get off the ground, but once mobilised, was speedier than any other large jurisdiction at vaccinating its population. The problem, she wrote about in The Times, was a lack of scientific knowledge among mandarins and ministers. Few in authority understood the implications of Covid 19 and as a consequence had left the country ‘woefully unprepared’ for the virus.

‘The machinery of government is dominated by process, rather than outcome, causing delay and inertia,’ Dame Kate wrote in The Times. Only by short circuiting the usual government processes was further delay avoided. And could that become the criticism here where there is growing awareness of the deliberative and excessively considered pace which marked the realisation by decision-makers, that mass vaccinating of the population should be an immediate necessity.

She spoke of British officials having an obsessive fear of personal error and criticism. ‘There is a culture of groupthink and risk aversion.’ Civil servants were also accused of treating business with ‘hostility and suspicion’ in her criticism of their lack of skills in science, industry and manufacturing.  She is unlikely to be recommending the equivalent of Spirit of Services awards.

When speaking subsequently about lessons to be learned from the Covid 19 experience she referred to the role of a non civil servant – the chief scientific adviser – in precipitating the decision-making process. She believes that the outcome of the vaccine programme may otherwise have been very different.

It was a decision to buy vaccines deemed most likely to succeed before results were available that has been widely credited with helping Britain to start the western world’s first vaccine programme. It appears that New Zealand decision makers felt unable to do likewise and were steadfast in adhering to tried and tested approval processes.

Apparently a former chief adviser to Boris Johnson added fuel to what may become a pyre for senior civil servants by stating that “…Ministers lacked the scientific understanding necessary to realise the threat of the Covid pandemic and senior civil servants did not have the scientific and technical comprehension needed to be ‘operationally effective’. He said that this left the country exposed to future threats from cyberwarfare to climate change.

I wonder if the situation is any different in New Zealand?

The attached video of Dame Kath’s Romanes Lecture at Oxford University is worth a watch.

Te Hāpai Hapori | Spirit of Service Awards | Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

Romanes Lecture – Kate Bingham, ‘Lessons from the Vaccine Taskforce’ – Bing video Romanes Lecture – Kate Bingham, ‘Lessons from the Vaccine Taskforce’ – Bing video

New Zealand still the most free country according to the Human Freedom Index

25 November 2021

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced measures and timelines for facilitating the return to New Zealand of more citizens, and others with residence rights, who find themselves unable to travel home because of the unavailability of Managed Isolation and Quarantine placements. She also gave indications of easing restrictions on foreign travellers sometime from May 2022. The anguish of families divided by Covid-19 may moderate. However, the changes outlined appear to have worsened the angst of the tourist industry and the coalition of interests which sees little but disadvantage in closed borders. A uniting aphorism being that Auckland now with hundreds afflicted by Covid-19 and isolating (or not) at home makes the city more unsafe than most of Australia and that the Delta variant is more likely to be spread beyond current confines with the Christmas exodus from Auckland than would occur with double vaxxed and triple swabbed Australian tourists.

 In some circles, referring to New Zealand as a Hermit Kingdom speedily polarises. The inference is that supporters of Government policy are content with shutting out the World and closing down the most populous part of the country. And by inference they don’t want a renewed focus on economic growth – generated by tourism and foreign students – and are resisting the freedom to shop, travel, and to commute to their workplace. They don’t want to revitalise our connections to the World, for New Zealand to trade its way through the massive national debt incurred to cope with Covid 19, (and to help rescue Air New Zealand!). The insinuation being that the Prime Minister has created a climate of fear regarding Covid-19, and many have been convinced that she will keep them safe.

There is an irony in the implication that many New Zealanders don’t want their freedom.

The Human Freedom Index 2021 has been released by the Cato and Fraser Institutes and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (which have impeccable free market credentials!). What is measured is a social concept that recognises the dignity of individuals. That individuals should be able to do things that will not be prevented by other forces or that will result in punishment. Human freedom is seen as playing a huge role in human progress.

The latest Human Freedom Index presents the state of human freedom of 162 countries based on a broad measure that encompasses, economic, civil, and personal freedom.

Among the 76 indicators of freedom claimed to be using the most recent data available, are:

  • Rule of Law
  • Security and Safety
  • Identity and Relationships
  • Size of Government
  • Legal System and Property Rights
  • Access to Sound Money
  • Freedom to Trade Internationally
  • Expression and Information
  • Religion
  • Movement
  • Association, Assembly, and Civil Society

The Human Freedom Index places each country on a scale of 0 to 10, where a score of 10 represents the most personal freedom and the most economic freedom. Each country’s human freedom index is an average of the two.

Personal freedom is the freedom of an individual to have freedom of opinion and expression, freedom to come and go, equality before the courts, and security of private property. Economic freedom consists of personal choice, freedom to compete in markets, protection of person and property, voluntary exchange, and allowing people to prosper without intervention from the government or economic authority.

(However  a serious  concern must arise about the currency of the data when the people of Hong Kong are rated as the third most free.) The three peoples rated as the most free were the same in 2020 and in 2021.

New Zealanders, about half of whom appear unconcerned about being isolated from the pandemic afflicted World, score highest on the Human Freedom Index. That has been the rating since 2017-18.

The following are the World’s 12 Freest countries

CountryFreedom Rank Personal Freedom IndexEconomic Freedom IndexHuman Freedom Index
New Zealand19.278.58.88
Hong Kong38.78.918.81



New Zealand rubbing shoulders with Scandinavia again

22 November 2021

The World Values Survey has published conclusions from more of the data gathered in its 2019-20 questionnaire. The Survey has been through seven “waves” since its 1980s beginnings.  Ronald Inglehart, a renown American political scientist who was a co-founder of the WVS and co-producer of Inglehart – Welzel cultural map (a scatter-plot depiction of a number of the survey findings), died in May 2021.

The New Zealand contribution has been contemporaneously published by Paul Perry (with Polly Yeung) as Keeping New Zealand in the World Values Survey, A Brief Project History and Selected New Zealand Social Trends from the World’s Largest Non-Commercial Social Survey  in the Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues.  Perry (with Massey University colleagues) has perpetuated the New Zealand involvement through numerous WVS “waves”, and increasingly through a sense of responsibility, not for any fiscal advantage!

Trends that emerged from the observations of the approximately 4000 New Zealand respondents are listed in the following extract from one of the 18 Tables;

Some Broad Trends Over Time from the World Values Survey in New Zealand

  1. Strongly Declining Religiosity on many indicators
  2. Increasing Agreement that “Most people can be trusted”
  3. Generally Increasing Support for the Environment and Related Issues
  4. Increasing Social Tolerance
  5. Decline in Active Membership in Certain Types of Voluntary Organisations
  6. Increasing Support for Gender Equality
  7. Increasing Value Placed on the Treaty of Waitangi
  8. Confidence in Certain Institutions
  9. For future society, increasing support for it being a good thing if there was less importance placed on work in our lives
  10. Declines in use of Traditional Sources of News about country and world
  11. A modest leftward shift politically
  12. Increase in support for tighter government regulation of big companies and multinationals
  13. Decline in blaming the individual for their poverty.
  14. Decline in willingness to fight for your country, in case of war.

New Zealanders are showing increasing social tolerance, illustrated by responses to queries about having, as neighbours;

  • Homosexuals
  • People with Aids
  • People who are Emotionally Unstable
  • Maori
  • Pacifica
  • People Speaking a Different Language

And on morality issues; 

  • Homosexuality
  • Abortion
  • Divorce
  • Suicide
  • Prostitution 
  • Pre-Marital Sex 
  • Euthanasia

New Zealanders are depicted as being almost Scandinavian in their perspective, distanced from most of our APEC partners, and to a lesser extent Australia and the United Kingdom, as indicated in the Cultural Map 2020. Perhaps it is because we think and see things from nearly a Scandinavian point of view that New Zealand rates closely to that high performing cohort in many of the international surveys where trust and integrity underpin the aspired outcome.





Whistleblowing or Wolf whistling on Wall Street?

21 November 2021

Last week the Acting Chief of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Whistleblower Program published the agency’s Annual Report. It makes for interesting reading.  It indicates an exponential increase in the number of informants making contact with the agency in 2021 and that much larger payments for information have been made during the year than previously.

Set up under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act as a measure to avoid a recurrence of the market manipulation that precipitated the 2008 Financial Crisis, the Whistleblower Program is funded to make substantial awards to employees and others with inside information who contact the SEC with information about businesses acting unlawfully.

The Annual Report advised Congress that since its establishment in 2010, more than $1.1 billion has been awarded to 214 whistleblowers.

The last Financial Year was significant for the extent of whistleblower operations. 2021 saw the largest number of whistleblower tips received, and saw the highest number of awards made, both in terms of dollars and recipients. More awards were made than in the previous ten years combined. These included

  • the two largest awards to date — a $114 million award to one whistleblower made in October 2020;
  • a combined $114 million award to two whistleblowers made in September 2021; and
  • an award for more than $50 million to joint whistleblowers in April 2021.

The Report observes that “These large awards underscore the Commission’s commitment to rewarding whistleblowers who provide specific and detailed information that plays a significant role in the success of the agency’s enforcement actions,” 

The SEC credits the Whistleblower program with a sharp rise in enforcement orders that have resulted in the return to shareholders of losses suffered as a result of companies’ financial manoeuvres. 

To date, the program has generated nearly $5 billion in monetary sanctions, including more than $3.1 billion in disgorgement, of which more than $1.3 billion has been, or is scheduled to be, returned to harmed investors.

The SEC obviously finds that rewarding whistleblowers is a “good thing”. But what are the ethics of such payments? When invitations to provide information and the awards payable are advertised, is the responding whistleblower acting through a sense of public duty or primarily for the payment? Because of the detail required for an SEC payment, does that motivate an employee to defer action they may otherwise have taken? Instead, do they purport continuing loyalty to the employer and compliance with the employer’s business information obligations, while covertly extracting and distributing, without authority, whatever will enhance the reward for whistleblowing? Is a Police informer reputable if they appear as prosecution witness; was a privateer not just a pirate licensed by the State?

Whistleblowing makes deception and misappropriation acceptable because of a higher cause, not devalued by the motivation of the whistleblower.

Most agree that countering illegal and unethical activity is necessary for a just and moral society. Whistleblowing is justified for that purpose. It is sort of ethical! But whistleblowing often involves balancing the importance of one law against another. This means asking questions like, “Who is helped by the whistleblowing? Who is harmed?” Experience suggests that whistleblowing in a capitalist economy facilitates a more just society than may otherwise be the case. And the practicality is that in business, few “in the know” will blow the whistle without a lot of deliberation. Whistleblowing always involves risks. Offering incentives seems to be the best way to ensure that people take the risk. And bigger fish are attracted by a bigger bait.

Large awards reflect the SEC commitment to rewarding whistleblowers who provide specific and detailed information that plays a significant role in the success of the agency’s enforcement actions. 

2021 Annual Whistleblower Program Report to Congress (sec.gov)



What’s important to us when we are reasonably prosperous?

20 November 2021

What makes life meaningful for people living in prosperity?

Blending the findings of the Legatuum Prosperity Index and a Pew Research Centre Attitude Survey, both published this week, provide some clues.

The Prosperity Index has been compiled annually since 2007. It highlights country strengths and weaknesses, identifying how economic choices build inclusive societies and empower people to drive for prosperity. Relevant factors include wealth, economic growth, quality of life, health, education, and personal well-being.

The most prosperous of the 167 countries in this year’s Index have high levels of freedom, safety and security, education, and health. These countries also have healthy natural environments and conditions that allow for economic prosperity such as protection of investments, favourable business regulations, and market infrastructure. Without revolution, these elements are subject to evolution; change is often slow, and the Index ratings move similarly.

New Zealand in 8th place averaged over the 104 assessed characteristics, has been consistently in the upper decile (and was 6th in 2011). The top ten countries in the Index this year were the same in 2020 (with the only difference in overall pecking order being that Sweden and Switzerland changed places).

New Zealand fits alongside Scandinavian countries which are the leaders in all characteristics save for Investment Environment where Hong Kong and Singapore rate well. New Zealand ranks 4th for Social Capital and for Natural Environment. It is 5th for Governance (confirming other recently published Global Reports), 6th for the Investment Environment and 8th for both Inclusive Society and Empowered People. Legatuum finds as evidence of strong Social Capital that almost 60% of New Zealanders think that most people can be trusted (one of the highest proportions worldwide.)

Less favourably, New Zealand was 30th for Living Conditions,  26th for Safety and Security, 24th for Health, and 23rd for Infrastructure and Market Access.

2021 Legatuum Prosperity Index

8New Zealand

So what is important to New Zealanders living in that eighth most prosperous society?

The Pew Global Attitudes Survey exploring “What Makes Life Meaningful” found New Zealanders place greatest importance on family.

Pew describes the Survey as finding out what people value in life. How much of what gives people satisfaction in their lives is fundamental and shared across cultures, and how much is unique to a given society?

It posed an open-ended question about the meaning of life to nearly 19,000 adults across 17 advanced economies. The clear answer – one source of meaning is predominant: family. In 14 of the 17 advanced economies surveyed, more mention their family as a source of meaning in their lives than any other factor. Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring.

  • Family, careers and material well-being are among the most cited factors for what makes life meaningful. 
  • In New Zealand, Australia, Greece and the United States, around half or more say their family is something that makes their lives fulfilling. 
  • New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Sweden also stand apart for the relative emphasis they place on nature compared to many other places surveyed. In each of these countries, nature is one of the top eight sources of meaning.
  • Those on the ideological left and those under 30 are more likely to find meaning in nature, hobbies, education and friends; and less likely to find meaning in religion.
  • Americans are much more likely to mention religion as a source of meaning in life than in the other countries surveyed

2021 Legatum Prosperity Index™ | Legatum Institute (li.com)

Where people around the world find meaning in life | Pew Research Center

New Zealand maintains governance credentials abroad despite hermit kingdom disparagement at home

18 November 2021

The Global Defence Integrity Index was launched by Transparency International this week. New Zealand is the only country with an overall “Band A” ranking. This reflects very low risk assessments regarding Political, Financial, Personnel and Procurement Risks, and a Low assessment regarding Operational risk. The conclusion that New Zealand has strong institutional resilience to corruption, which flows into its defence institutions, is not surprising. New Zealand is consistently placed alongside Scandinavian jurisdictions, in the upper decile of global indices relating to good governance and integrity. It is perhaps just as comforting that in June New Zealand moved up a place to rank 2nd in the Global Peace Index.

New Zealand (14th) and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top twenty places on the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index released this week, with New Zealand ranked 7th on the Governance Performance component.

The latest Worldwide Governance Indicators, accessible this month, rank New Zealand among the top fifteen for each of the six Indicators that make up the Index, including;  Regulatory Quality  2nd,   Rule of Law 3rd,  and  Control of Corruption 4th.

In the Rule of Law Index published in October by the World Justice Project, New Zealand continues to be ranked 7th.

And from a people perspective, New Zealand maintained its 4th ranking on the Global Gender Gap Report published earlier this year.


Global Peace Index 2021 – StatisticsTimes.com

The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (solability.com)

WGI 2021 Interactive > Documentation (worldbank.org)

WJP-INSIGHTS-21.pdf (worldjusticeproject.org)

WEF_GGGR_2021.pdf (weforum.org)

THE HERMIT KINGDOM | No Minister (wordpress.com)

Tide of corruption eroding Pacific Islands’ business and government

17 November 2021

Transparency International published its first assessment of corruption in Pacific States this week. The observations of 6,000 people from ten Pacific States disclose the frequency with which interactions with business and government must be facilitated with cash and sexual favours. Over 60% of those surveyed believe corruption is a significant problem in their government and more than half say that it is getting worse. Over a third think almost all politicians and many senior public servants are corrupt. Fewer than 20% believe that politicians and officials have a focus on public wellbeing; most feel little action is taken to address corruption.

Transparency International reports that the frequency of paying bribes for services appears to be more common in the Pacific Islands than disclosed in any of its Corruption Barometer surveys elsewhere in the World.

To obtain better or quicker responses, almost 30% Pacific Islanders spoke of paying to get official documents issued. About 25% paid bribes when dealing with the Police or when seeking health services or public utilities. More than 60% of respondents think businesses secure government contracts through bribes and connections.

Interestingly there is a substantial variation among the Pacific States in the most common forms of corruption and its extent. Respondents in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea saw three times more corruption than those in French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

Election corruption in the Federated States of Micronesia is seen to be ten times worse than in Fiji and Tonga. On average 13% of respondents made a Police report about paying bribes, rising to 30% in Fiji and Kiribati.

A similar trend to the Pacific States Corruption Barometer is evident in the Control of Corruption component of the 2021 Worldwide Governance Indicators published recently. Corruption is found more frequently in the Western Pacific than in the eastern, Polynesian states.

The Corruption Barometer does not include observations and statistics from Niue, Tokelau, Cook Islands or Tuvalu.    

 Respondents saying corruption is a big problem in Government        
Solomon Islands     97%
Papua-New Guinea96%
Federated States of Micronesia80%
New Caledonia17%
French Polynesia16%
Corruption in Pacific big problem – and it’s getting worse, says report


Slip sliding the Transylvanian way

16 November 2018

Romania takes over the presidency of the European Union on 1 January 2019 – with a responsibility for leadership which the Romanian Government seems steadfastly resisting at home. It has been accused of backsliding by the EU, and undoing improvements required of it when it joined the EU in 2007. This week the EU made eight demands to reverse new laws which would damage prosecutorial independence and decriminalise some forms of corruption. Like Poland and Hungary, Romania having been admitted to the EU in the belief that its population aspired to a Western European respect for democratic principles and the rule of law,  now seems to be reverting to the corrupt practices of its days as a communist regime.

Romania faces a credibility issue with its image in the EU suffering from “constant attempts to undermine justice reform and anti-corruption”. “Judging by the reactions of the ruling coalition leaders, there is little desire to reverse the back-tracking,” an Expert Forum spokesperson reported.

  • Romania’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor was removed from office in July, after achieving dozens of convictions against officials, including ministers, former ministers and MPs. A process to appoint a replacement has stalled.
  • The Justice Minister is in the process of dismissing the general prosecutor who is investigating violence during anti-government demonstrations when more than 450 people were injured.
  • Supporters of the Social Democrat leader (barred from serving as prime minister because of an electoral fraud) are disrupting corruption probes against him.

EU Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “I regret that Romania has not only stalled its reform process, but also re-opened and backtracked on issues where progress was made over the past 10 years. It is essential that Romania gets back on track immediately in the fight against corruption and also ensures an independent judiciary. …. in the interest of its citizens, its country, and the EU as a whole.”

Romania sits along with middle ranked nations in a range of governance indices. Transparency International rates its government services as 59th of the 180 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index ( NZ is 1st ).  The Sustainable Governance Indicators for Romania are at 5.10 ( from 10 ) for Governance ( NZ is 7.5 ) and 4.64 for Democracy ( NZ is 8.43 ). The World Justice Program rates it 51st  of  102 surveyed countries for Open Government ( NZ is 2nd ).



Sir Frank Holmes Memorial Address; More God Talk

13 November 2018

Gus O’Donnell (GO’D), Baron O’Donnell former Head of the UK Civil Service gave the Sir Frank Holmes Memorial Address at the School of Government last night. His topic “Global problems, national solutions; building better states and better global architecture” was a frolic around perspectives gained from an impressive career at the centre of the British government.

He made recurring references to the contributions to effective government of good people as he spanned climate change, technology, population ageing, globalisation, comparative systems, organisational structures, the contribution of women, and the ineffectiveness of international organisations.

Lord O’Donnell started optimistically, at a personal level, suggesting things should get better through the endeavours of people that he has “brought on” – with the implication that good leaders grow better leaders.  But he concluded on a macro level with a disheartening assessment that without leadership from the large economies, and inhibited by international organisations structured for the 1950’s, global solutions to global problems are not currently feasible.

We need better government – a 21st-century civil service, but he did not indicate a preferred model.  National leaders must be willing to perform on a global stage.  The best we can expect is regional cooperation.

Among the numerous quips,

  • when speaking of globalisation and the need to compensate those who were disadvantaged, “we need better ways to retrain losers into winners”;
  • “intelligence, like underwear, is important to have but it is not necessary to show it off”;
  • of Civil Service research into the historic practice of terminating employment of women on marriage –“married women are no worse than the unmarried”;
  • on Special Advisers – “the good ones are invaluable, but on the other hand the bad are a problem – they revert to what they know, which is speaking to journalists”;
  • Government is best with a strong centre “Scotland has done it best”;
  • The system of government currently in Northern Ireland  is “Westminster without Ministers – but is it paradise or paralysis?”;
  • “Is it wise to house the politicians together? Keeping Ministers in their departments is best”;
  • on the IMF and the World Bank; “they are not fit for purpose”.