Do we know for sure that the days of political and personal patronage ever went away?
Look at David Cameron and the head of HM Revenue and Customs, Edward Troup – who was a partner at the law firm that acted for Blairmore Holdings.
His appointment to a top public office may be considered cronyism because of his connection with the Camerons.
They may be seen to have given him their patronage and it is possible they may be making political demands of him in return.
If such appointments are to be avoided, then possible connections between applicants and politicians must be considered before anybody gets to a job interview.
Labour has called on the government to reject a proposed overhaul of the appointments process for senior public jobs, amid fears that it could lead to a rise in cronyism.
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “It’s vital we prevent important public roles like the chairman of the BBC Trust or the heads of museums and galleries becoming politicised.”
He was responding to claims by Sir David Normington, the outgoing commissioner for public appointments, in an interview with the Financial Times. Normington said that the recommendations of a recent review by businessman Sir Gerry Grimstone would usher in “a return to the days of political and personal patronage”.
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