Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brown hails the Same World Order

So it appears that Gordon Brown has decided to shake up the way intelligence is handled in another of his Soviet-esqe slating of his predecessor.

Obviously the difference in the Soviet Union is that they would stand up and openly slag the person that came before them, whereas Brown praises him publicly whilst U-turning his policies.

Anyway, digression of Soviet analogies aside, these changes in the Intelligence and security structures in the Cabinet Office seem... well.. utterly meaningless to what they claim to be trying to achieve.

According to Brown his changes are "in line with the Butler Report" and will make the Joint Intelligence Committee "provide Ministers with assessments which have been formulated independently of the political process". In order to achieve this he has created a political position titled Head of Security, Intelligence and Resilience that will act as Security Adviser to the Prime Minister.

So let's just recap for a second:

In the 'Old' World Order, or specifically the Blair World around the "45 minute dossier", was one in which the JIC provided independent intelligence assessment to Government which was then shaped against public presentation by a politically appointed position that was not on the JIC - in this case the Director of Communication, Alastair Campbell who was also a direct adviser to the Prime Minister.

In the 'New' World Order, the JIC will provide independent intelligence assessment to Government which will then - presumably if the need arises for public consumption - be shaped against public presentation by a politically appointed position that is not on the JIC - in this case the Head of Security, Intelligence and Resilience, Robert Hannigan who is also a direct adviser to the Prime Minister?

Sounds more like the 'Same' World Order doesn't it? Or may be the phrase should be 'continuity and change'?

Update: I should add that I am not criticising either structure. More the claim that they are somehow different from each other, when it looks to me like the name plate on the door is all that has actually changed. But the political appointees handling intelligence assessment against policy continue to be present.


guido faux said...

Ibidem Ordo Seclorum?
Ditto Ordo Seclorum?
Homo Ordo Seclorum?

Why is Latin so hard anyway?

Anonymous said...

It's a little more complicated than that. What is happening is that a single role is being split in two. The JIC chair role is being seperated from the government policy role in an attempt to make the JIC more independant of government. The new title is the policy bit while the JIC chairman is still called the JIC chairman.

dizzy said...

That's exactly what I've already said. JIC Chairman on an independent JIC. Political policy advisor taking JIC intelligence assessment and presenting it to PM.

Essentially it's the formalisation of the infromal structure that was there before.

Anonymous said...

Not quite. The JIC chairman was also officially involved in policy. So they had a potential conflict of interest and could be accused of shaping JIC assessments to meet policy demands. Your description of the 'old' order assumes an independant JIC whose product is manipulated by the press office after publication. This is not the limit of the accusations made during Bulter. It was also that political pressure was (or at least could have been) brought to bear on the JIC through the chairman.

Granted it's not a massive change but it is not a cosmetic one.