I gather that there are moves afoot in Tory party circles to allow ministers to remove top ranking civil servants in their departments who prove to be recalcitrant, or, as is the case in the Department of non-Education, downright obstructional against government policy. In effect, this would take us into the American system in which a new presidential regime moves in with a completely new set of advisors with power to act and over-ride civil servants. I must say it has its attractions, not the least of which is that there would no longer be any excuses for the politicians to offer up when they fail to do that which they promised. Of course, it means that when Labour have their chance they, too, will be able to ram their mostly rotten policies down our throats, but then again, at least we will know them for what they are. I incline to this view not least because it seems to me, from a considerable distance, that the calibre of our top civil servants has fallen mightily in recent decades. Whilst a Double First from Oxbridge was never a guarantee of intelligence at least it did indicate an ability to absorb and remember huge amounts of information and then regurgitate it in a coherent form. A 2.1 from Huddersfield 'PolyVersity' in flower arranging does not inspire confidence. And it should be remembered that when these grease-monkeys oil their way up to the office next door to the minister their capacity for mischief is enormous.