Coffee House

Unpublished Mid-Term Review annex acknowledges Coalition failures

9 January 2013

The Coalition’s decision to publish a Mid-Term review reminded some of Tony Blair’s ill-fated annual reports, which strangely stopped appearing after 2000. Blair’s last report embarrassed him because it contained mistakes: the danger of this document was that while lauding the government’s progress to date, it might also have to accept a number of failures.

That wasn’t the case on Monday: in fact, the report itself was largely a paraphrase of every government policy announced so far, which was quite Blairite in itself as it sought to dress up old announcements as new plans. There was no admission of failures, or at least not until David Cameron’s adviser Patrick Rock was snapped carrying a memo warning that the annex assessing those targets could lead to ‘unfavourable copy’. The Telegraph has the scoop, and now the Coalition will publish the annex, which is understood to concede that Whitehall has missed more than 70 targets.


The document isn’t expected to emerge until after Prime Minister’s Questions, but it would be an easy shot for Ed Miliband, who could tie it in with the resignation of two ministers in two days.

Two things to watch out for will be which departments are particularly bad at implementing policy – the Telegraph says the Ministry of Justice is the worst at this, which is irritating for Chris Grayling on the day he unveils the next step in his ‘rehabilitation revolution’ – and which pledges have run aground because of tricky Coalition relations.

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  • James Strong

    What is the difference between favourable presentation and practised deceit?
    I think the coalition was guilty of deceit by deliberately witholding information they had at the time of the performance by Cameron and Clegg.

  • Colonel Mustard

    It’s difficult to believe these clowns actually work in PR when they commit such basic errors in document security. I would have sacked Mr Rock on the spot.

  • Tom Tom

    Management by Objectives is amusing in business and banal in government. Noone ever agreed these “objectives” – they were imposed on us by a clique. What we lack is Representative Government

    • telemachus

      A representative Government would have Ed Miliband as leader and a Charismtic growth Chancellor

  • Span Ows

    “The Telegraph has the scoop, and now the Coalition will publish the annex, which is understood to concede that Whitehall has missed more than 70 targets.”

    What the Telegraph and you fail to mention is the 500 (at least) targets hit!

    • Noa

      It depends on the relative importance of the targets missed and hit.
      Is meeting a target to increase foreign aid to be praised?

      Or is presiding over increasing immigration rather that reducing it to the ‘tens of thousands’ a significant failure?
      When the government boasts of ‘reducing the deficit’ by measuring its increasing year on year spending against GDP rather than debt, is that a success criterion?

      I could go on, but the picture is clear enough. Missed targets only exist where incompetent ministers and their civil servants have yet to define measures which demonstrate their success.

      • Span Ows

        My point isn’t whether targets were worth hitting or not: my point is that I would like to see balanced reporting. The BBC are the worst and act as a Labour PR service but when The Spectator and the Labourgraph are just as bad you know there are ‘communication’ problems.

        • Noa

          Thanks for clarifying your concern, which I share.
          Balanced reporting should be complemented by informed and critical evaluation. Both are often sadly lacking.

        • George_Arseborne

          Blame game for failure. When will you stop behaving like David Cameron and Osborne whose failures are always label on others rather than them. Stop this rubiish blame game

          • Colonel Mustard

            When will you stop writing in such atrocious English? Stop these rubbish comments!

          • Span Ows

            George, please what ARE you talking about?

        • telemachus

          The BBC certainly show right wing bias
          Ask where the Chairman got his experience of chairmanship and of course many of their top presenters are ex Tory MPs – Matthew Paris, gules Brandreth etc or Murdoch placemen, Andrew Neil etc

          • Span Ows

            Patten is as Tory as you are telemachus. Ah the omnipresent Andrew Neil who treats left and right the same (which is why you think he’s ‘right’…he must be if he doesn’t give the left a free ride as 99% of the BBC do) care to name another one? (please don’t stoop so low as to mention Nick R was cahirman of his Uni young Conservatives, it would highlight the weakness of your argument.

      • telemachus

        How anyone can turn a post on the mid term review into a rant against foreign aid and immigration is beyond me and cries out for moderation
        No doubt you and the beloved vicar would have liked them to stand up and rant against the judiciary for jailing Tommy Robinson

        • Noa

          I see that you are practicing your ‘truth is lies and lies are truth’ skills.

          And be careful this weekend.

          The weather is turning colder and your tongue may freeze on it as you lick the Coffee house Wall window.

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