Monday, August 16, 2010

Death to the Tsar

I have no problem with Alan Milburn acting as an adviser on social mobility to the Coalition government.

What I do have a problem with is the continued use of the term "tsar" or "czar" for this sort of role.

It is redolent of the worst of Blairism. Discussion and honest disagreement are seen as weakeness or expensive luxuries: solutions must be forced through from the centre. Critics must be trodden under the hooves of Cossack cavalry, sent for the knout... or at least not listened to.

If there is a justification for this sort of role it is that modern government is now so byzantine, so complex that it is impossible for anyone to get anything done.

But the answer is good old-fashioned reform, not giving people overpowerful roles with silly titles.


oneexwidow said...

Hear Hear!

I've always thought the Czar/Tsar tag was ridiculous.

Mark Pack said...

What's odd about the word is that it is often used as if it is a positive description of a person / post, yet Tsars from history don't exactly have great reputations. I wonder why this label has been so enthusiastically adopted by some despite its negative overtones?

Anonymous said...

If Milburn is a tsar, does that make Frank Field Rasputin?