Coffee House

Jeremy Heywood, just call him very influential

7 December 2012

The main topic of conversation in Whitehall today has been The Guardian’s profile of the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. One particular passage has raised some eyebrows in several ministerial offices:

He believes, they say, that reports of his power are overstated and the very suggestion that he might be making decisions on behalf of politicians makes him “cringe”. He prefers to describe himself, they say, as simply very influential.

Heywood, and this irritates some in Number 10, briefs journalists personally. He is known to be particularly concerned about his image. I’m told that after The Spectator cover depicting him as the PM’s puppet-master, there was much discussion over what should be done to finesse things.

Today’s piece and Heywood’s decision to have a newspaper piece published in his own name this week, have raised the hackles of those Tories who see him as too big for his boots. One complains that Heywood wants all the credit and none of the accountability.

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  • fallguy

    Oh he’ s the one responsible… Oh he’ s not but I thought it was his doing… So power with no responsibility, lucky man… Or should I say mouse;)

  • Jade 343

    Has he found the David Kelly minutes yet? Thought not.

  • WIlliam Blakes Ghost

    Whilst the last Labour Government was probably the most malevolent and despicable government in living memory this government has quickly become the most incompetent, dysfunctional, impotent and frankly psychologically unstable.

    Allowing unelected desk warmers to brief the press is yet another sign that Cameron is weak and does not have control of his government let alone the country. Cameron just doesn’t have what it takes. Its beginning to get quite difficult to decide who was the worse Prime Minister Brown or Cameron because both in their way represent the worst of this country’s political classes and given that our political classes are really poor anyway, that’s pretty awful.

    • 2trueblue

      How big an input does the civil service have in our daily lives? What do you actually think this government can do with an organisation that was totally politicised by Liebore over 13yrs? We are actually run by these people and they could not give a damn about us. We simply pay them.

  • TomTom

    Nomenklatura with full control of the Politburo that is Heywood’s role for Morgan Stanley whose directors funded David Miliband

  • Michael990

    I thought the most astonishing thing that came across in the original Independent article was that he actually seems to believe the civil service does a good job and works in a connected way. The man is totally out of touch with reality.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    When I see this kind of post with the byline of JF I always wonder who has primed it, and what do they want me to think. Nothing we see here is without an agenda. What should we learn from it? That our democracy as constituted is gone, lost in the coils of people like Heywood and the ones who sneaked on him, and the willing tool who enscribed it all here.

    • Fraser Nelson

      When you see James’s byline, it’s normally a sign that you’re about to get the best political briefing there is. I’ve been a journalist for 17 years and I’ve never met anyone who works harder to give his readers the inside scoop.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        People tell him tyhings, and he repeats them to us. Everybody involved has an agenda. Not excluding me. I think the lobby stinks. But if you have to live with it because it is an established fact of the trade, that doesn’t mean you have to like it or defend it.

        And the analysis here below the line is often better. As an example, the arab spring, well predicted down here while above all was roses

  • Colonel Mustard

    There is something not quite right about a senior civil servant engaging in boastful self-publicity in a newspaper. He has very little to be proud of anyway. The country is a basket case no thanks to him and his fellow mandarins. Clearly the “Chinese model” is going to his big head. I hope someone has the guts to sack him instantly for his damned impertinence but I shan’t hold my breath. Backbones in the Land of Invertebrates and all that.

  • Reconstruct

    He rose to pre-eminence under the Blair and Brown regimes. Enough said.

  • Jim20

    Credit for what? This dysfunctional country?

  • Sally Chatterjee

    High time he was taken down a peg or two.

  • salieri

    “caused eyebrows to raise”?? What’s happened to the sub, FGS?

  • telemachus

    Jeremy honed his trade at the Treasury knees of Gordon and then Tony
    He is admirably suited to organise a lightweight like Cameron

    • Gaverne

      Giving them BJs?

      • Colonel Mustard


  • Archimedes

    So, is he as indispensable as he clearly imagines he is? Of course, lest we forget, if he is indeed running the country, then he isn’t really doing a very good fucking job, is he? So much for incompetent technocrats.

    • HooksLaw

      He is probably doing a better job than Gus O’Donnell did as Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Prospects (‘Prospects’!) then Permanent Secretary at the Treasury under Brown and Cabinet Secretary (and Head of Civil Service) – under Brown.

      O’Donnell’s job has since been split into 3 so just how influential is Heywood?

    • telemachus

      I still think Murdoch runs the country
      Him or john humphrys.

      • Hepworth

        Well Mucus… If you dislike “Humphrys” that means I love the man.

        • telemachus

          I too love the man
          But understand power

    • Cogito Ergosum

      He is no technocrat. Look at the omnirail multishambles.

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