"We should understand the rules of the government service game – the system protects its own as long as they protect the system. That is the operating rule now, for if anyone is penalised now for professional misconduct or out of political expediency, those remaining are at greater risk because an embittered person could leak. So no-one is jettisoned, as long as they all stick to the rules of no unauthorised public comment that could even remotely be construed as expressing regrets or questioning the rules.
"What happens to those kinds of people – even the mildest of dissidents – is instructive in itself – but that is another story.
"This is how the Soviet bureaucracy worked. It is not the way the Westminster system worked or was ever supposed to work – we were supposed to have checks and balances. But we no longer have that system. We have a Soviet-style nomenclature, where the roles of politicians and administrators are indistinguishable, and blind loyalty is the performance criterion that matters above all else."