The former head of the civil service, Lord O’Donnell has said recently, that it was wrong for Tory ministers to shift the blame onto their officials. This follows high profile cases of Tory ministers making "fall guys" of the civil service in two rather odious matters. Lord O'Donnell said, "What I think is self defeating, is attacking their own staff," he told the BBC Today Programme.
Following the revelations that the Department for Transport, botched a mainline train contract, sticking the taxpayer with a bill running into hundreds of millions of pounds, Theresa Villiers who was moved to being Vice royal in British Occupied Ireland. The Tories, after Richard Branson who had a bid rejected creating hell, u-turned on its decision to hand the contract to First Group over Virgin Trains after discovering "significant technical flaws" in how the franchise process was dealt with. The bill for the 'mistake' could cost £300m, with £225m wiped off FirstGroup’s shares. In a time of public spending cuts it should cost Villiers her job.
The former transport minister Theresa Villiers who was moved instead in the cabinet as Northern Ireland secretary or to be politically correct, the Vice royal of British Occupied Ireland. Ms Villiers is under intense pressure, to explain how she did not spot the unfolding mess. Villiers, who was trains minister at the time, will hope her time around the cabinet table to prevent her career being derailed after just two months passed the blame to the civil service. perhaps she took advice from another Tory cabinet colleague who also shifted the blame to the civil service.
Marian Price who has been politically interned without trial, received a full royal pardon (the “Royal Prerogative of Mercy”) when she was freed in 1980 after she appeared to be on the brink of death as a result of being tortured. Owen Paterson, who was Villier's predecessor who is also accused of Perverting the Course of Justice, said at the time, the pardon “cannot be located” that it had been lost or shredded, by the civil service and that no copy exists. Peter Corrigan, Marian''s Lawyer, told a public meeting in Belfast, that this was the only time in the entire history of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, that a pardon has gone missing. The veteran Irish human rights campaigner Mgr. Raymond Murray said that “You can draw your own conclusions.”
Swearing to "incorrect and misleading information.....would appear to fall within the concept of perverting the course of justice" as Eamonn McCann the cross community civil rights activist wrote recently.These cases of Tory ministers passing the buck or perverting the course of justice, as the case may very well be, raises very serious issues, which should be the subject of immediate and searching inquiry at a highest level.
Owen Paterson and Theresa Villiers have been involved in the political internment the traditional Irish republican Marian Price because after the pardon was shredded, they now claim, she breached the terms of a non-existent licence on which she had been released in 1980 by Royal pardon, not on licence, and that neither have the authority to overrule a Royal pardon aside the accusation of Perverting the course of of Justice.
As McCann wrote, "there are many people - by no means all of them sympathetic to Price's politics - who are quite prepared to disbelieve this.Others will find it impossible to believe that a Secretary of State could supply incorrect and misleading information in a fraught and sensitive case. But, oh yes, they could as has been proven with other previous British ministers in British Occupied Ireland.
As a previous Labour Viceroyal Peter Hain scoffed, "It wouldn't have happened anywhere else in the UK". Right enough if it happened anywhere else besides British occupied Ireland both Villiers and Paterson, would be run out of public life besides serving very lengthy prison sentences. But as Eamon wrote, "this is wild and wacky Northern Ireland, where normal rules don't apply, where due process is optional and, at the whim of a politician, where anything goes." Perhaps these Tories have been watching too much of the BBC, for far too long.