Tuesday 7 March 2023

Off The Case?

In Yes, Prime Minister, Sir Humphrey Appleby was the Cabinet Secretary. With the appointment of Simon Case, I became older than the occupant of that post in real life. I was delighted. Whenever I am older than someone who makes it to one of those positions, then a person who cannot be named for legal reasons is even older again. I am now older than the Prime Minister.

Unlike Rishi Sunak, Case is said to be on the brink of quitting over the Lockdown Files. His name has always come up far too often. He himself came up through GCHQ and the Royal Households, so he is a spook and a courtier, who therefore sees himself as the Prime Minister's fixer, and the Prime Minister of the day was Boris Johnson. But is that really the role of the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service?

Case's appointment was a triumph for the Court Party that the then Prince Charles had spent decades creating and consolidating, ably assisted in recent years by Prince William. That is now firmly established as an alternative centre of power and patronage in London. For example, it has become impossible to imagine the approval of any planning application to which the King had taken exception.

Fair play to Prince William, who is considerably older than Stormzy, for being Stormzy's gym buddy, thus linking his court to Jeremy Corbyn's. But as times changed, so the tactic shifted to the installation of the Prince's Private Secretary as Downing Street Permanent Secretary with a view to bumping him as quickly as possible to Head of the Home Civil Service. That was achieved.

Was Case at any of the Downing Street parties? It is wildly improbable that he did not attend even so much as one of them. Yet he was put in charge of investigating them. Even though, at that point, they had never happened. When it turned out that they had, then he was not sacked. He never has been yet. Nor has he been fined the £10,000 that, unlike many other people in the same position, he would easily be able to pay. So his letter of resignation remains in his drafts folder.