Chaos will ensue

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As the Guardian notes:

Ministers have already earmarked more than 100,000 civil service posts to be cut as the government sets about reducing its administration costs by a third, a Guardian survey of every Whitehall department has found.

I find it intriguing that this most massive cull of staff is being planned by four people — Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Alexander — who have between them had no experience of running anything but a photocopier.

This cull is, of course, about 20% of all the jobs that will be lost within the government sector as a whole. So, these cuts, whilst important, are not by any means the largest part of the savings that the government wishes to secure. Now, I make no secret of the fact that I think these cuts are unnecessary, that is not the issue of relevance here. What worries me is that these four, in their complete ignorance of anything to do with real management, have not appreciated that you cannot cut management and staff at the same time - at least not unless you want to close down the whole operation, and not unless you want absolute chaos to ensue.

As far as I can tell very few whole operations are to be closed down. In that case culling management, destroying chains of command and leaving people without any clear lines of communication, as will be inevitable with cuts of this scale, can only create chaos.

What Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Alexander do not appreciate is that there are just two fundamental questions that people ask in life. The first is “who is in charge?” The second is “who loves me?” If people can answer those two questions then they will, broadly speaking, be happy and will do what you want. This cull will ensure that very few state employees will now know who is in charge, but that all will know, for certain, that whoever it is they do not love them.

That is why I can be so confident in my prediction.

This is a disaster in the making.

And we will all suffer the consequences.