This isn't to trivialise the report. Far from it. Many of its findings are of the I-can't-believe-government-operates-like-that variety – and Green extrapolates from there to make sensible points about how Whitehall can function better. I was struck, for instance, by his observation that "data is inconsistent and hard to get at, making it impossible to buy efficiently." As Neil O'Brien and I said in an article at the beginning of the year, this is something that has frustrated many a policymaker over recent months. After all, how can you cut spending when you can't find out how much is being spent, and where?
Much of this, I suppose, will be submerged by a low-level political battle. Labour are already saying that they won't take advice on fixing the public finances from a billionaire like Green. But there's a more important issue here than the tax affairs of one man: whether any of this will actually be implemented. As the work of Peter Gershon demonstrated, it's one thing to identify government waste – and quite another for government to suppress it.