Magazine
Latest Issue

Greensill shows it’s time to clean up government. Start with politicians’ private messaging

Successive governments have sought to circumvent civil service bureaucracy by using private communication channels. But these shortcuts remove necessary checks on political power—as the Greensill scandal shows

By Rachel Sylvester  

Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Soon after David Cameron became prime minister, he attended his first G8 heads of government dinner—the elite social occasion at which the most powerful men and women in the world are supposed to bond over the dover sole with no officials present. He was amazed to discover, he later told me, that Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel spent the whole time texting their aides for advice. 

The former prime minister took this to heart and learned from their example. If Tony Blair ran a “sofa government,” with a small clique squashed onto the soft furnishings in…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect