Iain Cameron's Diary
"Click here to access the Fruitful Album" - Click here to visit Music for the Highveld Project
2004-01-26 - 6:39 a.m.
Everyone seems to be working flat out. I thought I had got through the week OK but I managed to mangle an appointment on Friday. No harm done I don’t think but its irritating. I was somewhere else – fortunately the other place that I was seemed go OK. It was only a flipchart presentation but it pulled together my material and some of Teresa’s. After the meeting I left for Guildford to give Vita a lift to her evening engagement.
I spend the evening catching up with some the week’s events via the internet and came across a site an old colleague is running on how to how little people understand employment rights – both their own and those which are be a Civil Sevant. I mailed him a few thoughts on content – particularly on issues which are likely to loom large in the week to come. Its amazing enjoyed by those who work for them. When you look at the way that the organisation treats its people when the going gets tough its no surprise that fewer and fewer talented people want to work for it
I checked the volume stats out – January may turn out OK. The site has been developed by Peter and Margaret has put some material on from her perspective in Jordan. This includes some interesting stuff from a large-ish jazz band which is playing in Harvard. Its on the news page under the Music for the Highveld link at the top of the page – go to the INEAS item on 21 Jan and inside that read about the Vanguard Jazz Collective. Margaret has also she has posted an editorial on Iraq.
The overarching theme is musicians trying to re-establish the music school in Baghdad.
In the Vanguard Jazz Collective page you can drop down into the muso-bios. Lynne Hart (reeds) has played with Ray Charles and the Temptations, for example and does lots of the arrangements. The guitarist Mike Monnahan does Freddie Green – Count Basie’s rhythm guitarist.
I caught Desmond Tutu on R4 this morning promoting the Bishop Simeon Trust which is a co-sponsor of the site. He sounded good to me – esp the reference to Grace who I had the honour of entertaining at my house the summer before last. The Miles Davis album which follows Tutu and is just as good in my view – is Amandla – and includes his tribute to Jaco P. See MfHV news on today’s date to discover where that name comes from.
I glanced at the interview with Elliot Carter in the Guardian from Friday which had more to it than I expected – I didn’t expect the interviewer to get the man to disclose so much. The Saturday night new music programme had interviews with Howard Skempton and Gavin Bryars plus works by them and others who could in some sense be said to be followers of Cage. Some e-mails came in on the Lamont Young newsnet prompted by the question of the links between minimalism and progressive rock. I passed a few of these onto Mark in case he wanted to offer some of the KC or VdGG material. I found a good Chapter on Jospeph Holbrooke – Bryar’s mid 60s improv trio with Tony Oxley – in Derek Bailey’s Improvisation book (first edition.)
It looks as if I am going to the Engineering Centre at Dagenham with Alan on Wednesday which has thrown up some navigational opportunities. Keith and I also have a meeting in London the next day with Autoskills and I have going to the Research Council in Swindon the day after that to follow up Milan. I think I will probably get to Cathie’s Magic Flute opening on Tuesday evening (Queen of the Nite), weather permitting. It seems James is going to be protesting in London that day but maybe I can see him on the way back. Wayne Shorter is at the Barbican most of the week – maybe that’s a bridge too far.
The second airsynth/dhorn piece is in development and buoyed by the success with the new kit I invested in a cheapish Creative Labs USB connector which does analog and optical SPDIF in and out. Those damn clicks are still there. Woo this digital connectivity is a bitch. I keep thinking about the widespread applicability of the FMEA technique.
Richard Jones (Climax, Wild Oats, Principal Edwards) is up for the Lullabyes Concert. I have got to tell everyone the right date – Saturday 27 November 04.
Groove is doing one of those great Salsa-soul 40 piece mid 70s tunes with the ex-Philly rhythm section. Then Mr JJ on This Old Heart of Mine, then the Backstabbers.
The Guardian makes some good points on the likely Hutton fallout. The point about the Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary is well made. Yet another skin-saving failure of leadership at the top level.
The Guardian says:.
The Ministry of Defence has been holding its collective breath, officially keeping mum throughout the Hutton inquiry and since.
It is well aware, for Hutton made it plain during his questioning of witnesses, that its officials are likely to be severely criticised over its handling of Dr Kelly, especially in its "duty of care".
Though the military was not involved in the affair, morale throughout the ministry has been rock-bottom. The ministry's problems have been compounded by Geoff Hoon's troubles over the shortage of equipment for British soldiers in Iraq and calls for his resignation - partly brought upon himself, officials agree - over the case of Sergeant Steven Roberts, killed because he was ordered to hand over his body armour to another soldier.
MoD officials believe they were treated unfairly by the inquiry, by lawyers as well as the media. Privately, they have been painting an unattractive picture of the senior government scientist. Those tactics will not help, especially if Janice Kelly, the scientist's widow, seeks compensation for her husband's death.
Pent-up anger and frustration provoked Mr Hoon into an attack this week on Dr Kelly and defence of his senior officials in the Sunday Times. He was reported as describing Dr Kelly as "no martyr" and that he killed himself because he feared exposure as a liar.
Mr Hoon also defended Richard Hatfield, the MoD's personnel director who was savaged by the Kelly family's lawyer during the inquiry, and Pam Teare, the ministry's chief press officer.
With both Mr Hoon and his top civil servant, Sir Kevin Tebbit, pointing the finger at Downing Street for the unmasking of Dr Kelly, relations between the two institutions will not be the same again.
Meanwhile, the assumption in the ministry is that Mr Hoon will go sooner rather than later. It will then get a clean start with its activities more transparent.
The civil service plan to exploit the Hutton inquiry by demanding clearer rights to allow whistle-blowers to reveal wrongdoing by their political masters and to refuse to give personal evidence to parliamentary select committees.
The First Division Association, the union representing top civil servants, is expected to point out that civil servants should not be required to give evidence to parliamentary select committees on their own behalf.
They complain that the government scientist, David Kelly, was summoned before the foreign affairs select committee to give evidence about his own actions, rather than in his capacity as an adviser to ministers, the previously agreed basis on which the civil service speaks to committees.
The rules on attendance, the so-called Osmotherly rules, have not been approved by parliament, but the parliamentary bible Erskine May states it has been agreed that civil servants largely give evidence on behalf of ministers and that committees should not act as a disciplinary committee.
A review by the Commons liaison committee of its handling of the Kelly affair published earlier this month conceded that the foreign affairs select committee asked "off limits questions".
The liaison committee accepted that Dr Kelly was asked to give evidence "in respect of his personal behaviour, rather than as a spokesman for government policy or as an expert witness on factual matters". /P>
The decision to require Dr Kelly to give evidence was taken by the defence secretary Geoff Hoon who tried to circumscribe the questions asked, but was not in a position to enforce the rules.
The FDA is also likely to use the Hutton report to press the case for a civil service act in which civil servants have clear access to commissioners to make complaints.
Lord Hutton may also raise questions over the role of the cabinet secretary and his failure to organise the free flowing decision making process at Number 10. It was striking that Sir Andrew Turnbull, the cabinet secretary, gave no formal evidence to the Hutton inquiry, suggesting that he was not closely involved in the Number 10 decision making process on how to handle Dr Kelly.
He is expected to be urged to ensure better record and minute keeping.