Philip Davies reveals his cunning plan to end Commons bullying culture

Written by David Singleton on 6 November 2018 in Diary
Diary

The Tory MP wants to call in help from bosses at Asda.

A major objective of the Thatcherite reform of the public sector win the 1980s as to instil the principles and practices of the private sector into public bodies.

Under the guidance of her economic adviser Alan Walters, the then prime minister began with an attack on waste and red tape designed to make the Civil Service more businesslike. The programme of intensive "efficiency scrutinies" was inspired by Derek Rayner, the former CEO of Marks & Spencer.  Then came the Next Steps Initiative, following a review by Sir Robin Ibbs of ICI, which transformed the Whitehall landscape through the creation of executive agencies,

Some 30 years later, is it time to follow in Margaret Thatcher's footsteps to put an end to bullying and harassment in the Commons? As MPs debated the issue this week, one MP seemed to think so.  

"One of the best culture changes that I saw took place during my time at Asda, when Archie Norman was the chief executive and Allan Leighton was his deputy," Philip Davies told his colleagues.

The former Asda marketing manager added: "They transformed the strongly hierarchical culture in what had been a very 'control and command' kind of business when they took over. They revolutionised the way in which managers treated their colleagues, and ensured that everyone was considered to have equal value within the business, whatever their role might be.

"I think that there would be a great deal of merit in persuading people like Archie Norman and Allan Leighton to come to Parliament and explain how they changed the culture of companies such as Asda."

Alas no other MPs piped up in agreement with Davies on that point and many suggested that a hierarchical culture was only part of the problem. The SNP’s Alison Thewliss highlighted the "pervasive culture of alcohol" in the Commons - and said that she often didn’t safe when lining up to vote alongside inebriated colleagues.

"We are then forced to spend a ridiculous amount of time in crowded voting lobbies, which is unpleasant and unsafe, particularly when some Members have been drinking for a good part of the day," she added, ominously.

 

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