Running the whelk stall

Yesterday was the last day of the government contract I’ve been working on since last year.  Coincidentally the day I left my civil service job to go freelance  was the day Tony Blair stood down.  In a very different way yesterday also felt like the end of an era for Labour, even though the fall out this time round will be messier, more rancourous and (almost certainly) fatal for the party.

The permanent replacement in my role has just come into the civil service from a job in the private sector and evidently couldn’t believe the Looking Glass world I was briefing him about. (‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat. ‘We’re all mad here. )

It’s not at all impossible that everything I’ve been doing for the past six months will be torn up and thrown away by an incoming Minister after the reshuffle, not because it’s bad or wrong, but because the points have changed and we’re all off on another track as of Monday.  In the meantime, at least in our case yesterday, we carry on as though nothing at all had changed – making arrangements for a Ministerial visit next month, even though there is no Minister, no agreed policy, no diary to fix a date in and no idea of whether or not the policy will survive the week. Or as Lewis Carroll would have it – I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.

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