A highly-intelligent young woman graduated from Cambridge and took a job with Goldman Sachs. Very quickly, she became disillusioned with the world of finance. She became interested in the developing world. She spent a year in Liberia. She did post graduate studies at Harvard. She applied to work for the British government. At her own cost, she flew over for three separate interviews, after which she was accepted over some 4,000 other applicants. She was told she would work on tax or treasury issues. She was keen to work in her area of interest and expertise. She e-mailed, telephoned and wrote asking for a meeting or at least a conversation. She received no reply — not even an acknowledgement. She is no longer working for the British government. She has opted to apply her talent elsewhere.
I am not sure what era these civil servants believe they are working in. But I suspect with their pensions secure and benchmarks of achievements low, they have no incentive to ensure that Britain’s government is staffed by the best and the brightest. Everything in this story could be acceptable and explained — accept the refusal to reply to the correspondence. That is one symptom of a failing institution.