I began my blog the day after I formally left the civil service in mid-2011.

In those early days I very much defined myself as a former civil servant. But much time has passed since then and the civil service is a slightly different creature to what it was. Possibly more so than under any previous transition of party control in central government.

I tweet through Puffles the dragon fairy – an account I started in the civil service in the days when there was no guidance. Later on, I was to have a small hand in the drafting of the new guidance published in 2012 (see here). I’ve also used social media to input into select committee hearings – see here for a case study. This makes Puffles the first dragon fairy to be mentioned on Cabinet Office’s website and in a parliamentary debate.

In recent times I’ve moved away from focussing on the civil service and Westminster politics towards community action in Cambridge – my home town to which I’ve returned. This is both due to circumstances – deteriorating mental health, finances and much less time spent in London, as well as becoming much more aware of the challenges Cambridge faces.

I’ve often described Cambridge as a city with a global brand but the infrastructure of a market town. Hence writing my own draft manifesto for Cambridge for the purposes of starting and continuing conversations across the city and beyond that don’t often happen inside local political circles.

I hope you’ll find the content both stimulating and enjoyable to read. I’m not looking for everyone to agree with everything I write – the world would be a boring place if we did. (Think of the Prime Minister being asked lots of loaded questions at Prime Minister’s Questions – exactly).  Feel free to disagree – but play the issue, not the writer – and please keep it polite.

Banner credits:

Gavin Brockis and Alex Jackson for the photographs, Annabelle Carpen for being far more proficient on image editing than I will ever be.


4 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there…it was a pleasure to meet you at #MindTech last week and to have a bit of a chat during lunch about the culture of the civil service. I’ve just read a few of the posts on your blog – on line management, the history of Puffles, your experience with depression and so on – and I wanted to say a big “thank you” for writing with such honesty and insight about such important stuff. I was also interested by my own initial reaction to Puffles – as the event started I found myself thinking “why is there a purple toy dragon on that chair?” but I now see it as a bit of a genius idea! Hope we get the opportunity to meet again soon.

  2. Hi, I’m trying to get in touch to ask permission to reproduce one of your blog posts in an ebook we’re going to publish. The explanation is here: http://ilegality.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/episode-iv-a-new-hope/

    Would you mind emailing me theteam@ilegal.org.uk or getting in touch via Twitter @ilegal so I can send you the password?

    The post I’d like permission for is this one:


    Many thanks

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