25 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Author enters Brexit debate

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Author, Frederick Forsyth (pictured) has been branded “out of touch and incapable of comprehending the impartial ethos of the Civil Service” after describing Government workers as traitors.

Mr Forsyth (79), whose novels include Day of the Jackal and the Fourth Protocol, wrote in a newspaper column that it “was probably fair to estimate that 90 per cent of the bureaucracy were in favour of staying in and [being] subservient to the European Union”.

He described opponents of leaving the EU (Brexit) on the public payroll as “treacherous”.

General Secretary of the FDA union, Dave Penman said the attack was the latest example of a short-sighted inability to understand the depth of Whitehall’s Public Service ethic.

“Once again, we have political ‘commentators’ who simply cannot comprehend how Civil Servants can serve a Government with impartiality regardless of their personal political beliefs,” Mr Penman said.

“They cannot comprehend it because they would be incapable of acting in this way themselves.”

He said the fact they projected this failing on to Civil Servants said more about the critics than it did the Civil Service.

Mr Penman said the Civil Service was getting on with the job in hand in quite extraordinary circumstances, given the lack of clear political direction.

“Attacks such as these on the integrity and impartiality of the Civil Service only serve to undermine our Government, political system and ability to deliver the best outcome from the Brexit negotiations,” he said.

“It’s all the more ironic that it comes cloaked in a flag of patriotism.”

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, staff at the Treasury, the chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins and even High Court judges have been repeatedly accused of seeking to undermine the decision delivered in the referendum.

In April, head of the Public Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood felt compelled to publicly voice his support for Mr Robbins after newspaper reports that the Minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis had called on Prime Minister, Theresa May to sack him.

London, 17 June 2018

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