The news that Dave Hartnett, the UK’s chief tax collector, has become a consultant to Deloitte, is hardly shocking because so many now pass through the revolving door. In France, when public servants cash in by taking private sector jobs, it is called pantouflage. In Japan, it is amakudari (“descent from heaven”); and, in the US, it is normal.
For all that, it is worrying. Not because it involves crude corruption, but because the benefits of knowing how things work at the top, and knowing the people in charge, are valuable. The fact that those benefits can easily be sold to outside bidders changes the incentives to become a public servant disturbingly.
Gapper concludes we cannot stop this.
And I do not agree. Courageous States should pay enough to keep staff.
And contract people so they cannot move in this way.
But as has so often been the case in recent years, Hartnett is creating debate in ways he cannot welcome. His capacity for making errors of judgement is extraordinary