Letter: The Civil Service: a national asset

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Sir: I was delighted to see the recognition given to the devastation wreaked on Whitehall by the current Government ("Whitehall ruined by Tory years", 31 March), belated though it might be.

I suppose that one must be grateful to former top mandarins for seeing fit to salve their consciences by berating the Government, albeit from the comfort of their retirement and secure in their honours. But how much more effective would their protestations have been if they had been prepared to fight harder against the downsizing and break up of the Civil Service while still in office.

As a former senior mandarin who was made redundant last year after nearly 30 years - during which time my remuneration was abated to reflect the job security I was supposed to enjoy - I saw little evidence of anything other than slavish acquiescence to Ministers' arbitrary decisions. The result has been to risk the reduction of the Civil Service to a cadre whose driving force is not one of devotion to the public interest but pursuit of individual ambition. The nation is in danger of losing one of its most precious assets.

JOHN DORKEN

London N10

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