What an extraordinary phenomenon Brexit has become. The UK Supreme Court’s dramatic ruling that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful is just the latest dramatic development in this real-time stress-testing of the British constitution and the Westminster system. All parts of the body politic have been drawn into the maelstrom, including that once most unobtrusive of institutions, the British Civil Service.
In late August, Lord Kerslake — himself a former head of the civil service — argued that civil servants must consider putting their “stewardship of the country ahead of service to the government of the day.” Not surprisingly, a chorus of critics attacked the idea that the civil service should consider itself some kind of arbiter of Britain’s fate.
Which raises the question: what exactly should civil servants be doing in these extraordinary times?
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