The Changing Standards of Acceptable Behaviour in British Public Life

Mrs May has an uncanny ability to go through her career suffering no consequences for her actions, Teflon Theresa




Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I worked as a local government officer.


In the early 1980’s, before the Spirit of Thatcherism buried it’s taproot of power into the British political system, to be a public servant demanded a higher standard of behaviour. It was codified in a Contract of Employment that set these standards at a national level (colloquially known as ‘The Purple Book’) and these were negotiated by the white-collar trade union, NALGO (long since assimilated into UNISON). Whilst some trade union agreements might be negotiated at branch level, the Purple Book was the local government shop steward’s bible.


During my time as an LGO, I was also a NALGO rep and I learned a great deal about the standards expected of public employees from the personnel staff I dealt with. We wrote and reviewed staff disciplinary procedures together in…

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