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Archive for the ‘cabinet’ Category

I’ve just got back from a nice trip to Tenby (lovely little town) only to be confronted by a vague rumour in the Spectator that Michael Heseltine might be about to make some sort of a comeback with a possible role offered to him in a Cameron cabinet. I’ve got two sets of opinions about this, one positive and one most definitely negative.

First, the positive. Tarzan is still a powerful, even commanding figure, untainted in the eyes of neutral and possibly left of centre voters by his years as a cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government (his Westland tantrum cleansed him) and as Deputy to John Major (his side was never held responsible for the great Tory Euro split – that honour belonged, wrongly, to the “sceptics”). His experience and bullet proof, heavyweight ‘elder statesman’ image would cause severe problems for both Labour and the Liberal Democrats and could even attract a significant number of their voters, looking for an excuse to vote Conservative, to the party.

He’s also a Welshman, but not a lot of people know that.

However, there are also negative points to make about the impact of his appointment on the balance of any future Conservative cabinet. The Spectator makes this point better than I ever could:

…if Heseltine returns to the Cabinet, there will be a problem of balance. As Tim Montgomerie notes, the presence of Clarke and Heseltine in the Cabinet will make a robust approach to Europe almost impossible. Plus, the right would be irritated if the left is over-represented in Cameron’s cabinet which it would be if Clarke, Heseltine, Andrew Lansley and Sir George Young were all in it. A Heseltine return would make it more likely that Peter Lilley, as a greybeard from the right of the party, would be offered a significant job by Cameron.

The only things I would add to this are that, in the first place, questions must be asked about the signals to referendum campaigners that this appointment would send. They are hardly encouraging. Also, by creating what would be a powerful clique of Europhile, big beast cabinet ministers around whom pro-federalists on the left of the party would rally, there is a risk that if they didn’t get their own way, or felt that Cameron was being too sympathetic to the (reasonable) demands of the pro-sovereignty wing of the party – and 70% of the population – they might cause a lot of trouble. They’ve done it before.

For these reasons, and on balance, I feel quite strongly that the reactivation of this septuagenarian campaigner would be a bad idea. His best role would be as leader of the Lords or as an adviser of some description. His being offered a cabinet role would be a retrograde step.

What is more, given the number of unelected, appointed peer-ministers in the current government (including, of course, the most powerful politician in Britain, Lord Mandelson), we need more ministers from the Commons in a future Cameron cabinet, not fewer. Cameron must seek to rebalance British democracy in favour of the electorate.

Lord Heseltine would be a peer too far.

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Peter Hoskin in the Speccy has given a pretty tidy round-up of the latest assault on Brown’s mindlessly tribal and dishonest approach to Britain’s coming years of austerity and stagnation, thanks to his record-breaking debt crisis after his superbust caused by his credit megabubble. Here’s a bit of it.

It’s public spending time again, dear CoffeeHousers, with a couple of eye-catching articles in today’s papers. The first is a comment piece by Steve Bundred, chief exec of the Audit Commission, on the necessity for extensive spending cuts. If you recall, Bundred claimed a few days ago that health and education shouldn’t be ring-fenced from cuts, and here he repeats the point, adding a snappy conclusion:

“So don’t believe the shroud wavers who tell you grannies will die and children starve if spending is cut. They won’t. Cuts are inevitable, and perfectly manageable. We should insist on a frank and intelligent debate about how and where they will fall, which will then enable everyone to make more sensible plans.”

And the second is the Sunday Times scoop that civil servants are already drawing up “doomsday” plans for 20 percent cuts in public spending, fearful that “politicians are failing to confront the scale of the budget black hole”. The article also claims that Downing Street advisers are threatening to quit unless Brown sacks the man “they blame for encouraging him to make misleading claims about budget figures”: one Shaun Woodward. And there was me thinking that Brown wouldn’t need any encouragment to spin misleading yarns about his “investment vs cuts” dividing line…

More evidence, as if any were needed, that Brown has comprehensively lost the argument on cuts and that his administration is now in a state of total disarray: divided, rudderless and out of its depth. The clock is ticking…

Read Full Post »

Peter Hoskin in the Speccy has given a pretty tidy round-up of the latest assault on Brown’s mindlessly tribal and dishonest approach to Britain’s coming years of austerity and stagnation, thanks to his record-breaking debt crisis after his superbust caused by his credit megabubble. Here’s a bit of it.

It’s public spending time again, dear CoffeeHousers, with a couple of eye-catching articles in today’s papers. The first is a comment piece by Steve Bundred, chief exec of the Audit Commission, on the necessity for extensive spending cuts. If you recall, Bundred claimed a few days ago that health and education shouldn’t be ring-fenced from cuts, and here he repeats the point, adding a snappy conclusion:

“So don’t believe the shroud wavers who tell you grannies will die and children starve if spending is cut. They won’t. Cuts are inevitable, and perfectly manageable. We should insist on a frank and intelligent debate about how and where they will fall, which will then enable everyone to make more sensible plans.”

And the second is the Sunday Times scoop that civil servants are already drawing up “doomsday” plans for 20 percent cuts in public spending, fearful that “politicians are failing to confront the scale of the budget black hole”. The article also claims that Downing Street advisers are threatening to quit unless Brown sacks the man “they blame for encouraging him to make misleading claims about budget figures”: one Shaun Woodward. And there was me thinking that Brown wouldn’t need any encouragment to spin misleading yarns about his “investment vs cuts” dividing line…

More evidence, as if any were needed, that Brown has comprehensively lost the argument on cuts and that his administration is now in a state of total disarray: divided, rudderless and out of its depth. The clock is ticking…

Read Full Post »

Peter Hoskin in the Speccy has given a pretty tidy round-up of the latest assault on Brown’s mindlessly tribal and dishonest approach to Britain’s coming years of austerity and stagnation, thanks to his record-breaking debt crisis after his superbust caused by his credit megabubble. Here’s a bit of it.

It’s public spending time again, dear CoffeeHousers, with a couple of eye-catching articles in today’s papers. The first is a comment piece by Steve Bundred, chief exec of the Audit Commission, on the necessity for extensive spending cuts. If you recall, Bundred claimed a few days ago that health and education shouldn’t be ring-fenced from cuts, and here he repeats the point, adding a snappy conclusion:

“So don’t believe the shroud wavers who tell you grannies will die and children starve if spending is cut. They won’t. Cuts are inevitable, and perfectly manageable. We should insist on a frank and intelligent debate about how and where they will fall, which will then enable everyone to make more sensible plans.”

And the second is the Sunday Times scoop that civil servants are already drawing up “doomsday” plans for 20 percent cuts in public spending, fearful that “politicians are failing to confront the scale of the budget black hole”. The article also claims that Downing Street advisers are threatening to quit unless Brown sacks the man “they blame for encouraging him to make misleading claims about budget figures”: one Shaun Woodward. And there was me thinking that Brown wouldn’t need any encouragment to spin misleading yarns about his “investment vs cuts” dividing line…

More evidence, as if any were needed, that Brown has comprehensively lost the argument on cuts and that his administration is now in a state of total disarray: divided, rudderless and out of its depth. The clock is ticking…

Read Full Post »

Ian Dale suggeststhat Gordon Brown’s cabinet is tearing itself to bits with bitter power struggles going on almost constantly.

I’m not sure the Sunday papers are going to make happy reading for Peter Mandelson. Simon Walters has the story [in the Mail on Sunday] of how Mandy refused to talk to Gordon Brown until he asked Shaun Woodward to leave the room (hilarious).
But more seriously for Mandelson, the Sunday Times accuses him of covering up a report into MG Rover.

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Mandelson’s almost mystical ability to spread discord is hurting Brown now. Mind you, there can be no sympathy for the auld fraud: if you try to make a deal with the devil, somewhere down the road you’re gonna get burnt.

What motivates this pair is probably beyond rational thought. I would hazard, though, that with the former, it is vanity on a legendary scale and with the latter, it is unprincipled, demagoguic fanaticism combined with a delusional sense of his own importance. One thing they have in common is their ability to alienate almost everyone unfortunate enough to have to work for them – and to lie constantly, deliberately and without the slightest compunction. No wonder Labour is in total disarray.

There’s more, though. Add to this the story in the Sunday Telegraph that Alan Johnson acted unilaterally in the so-called U-turn over ID cards – he didn’t tell Brown he was going to do it – and the Independent on Sunday’s report of a new backbench rebellion brewing over the 10p tax fiasco, and you have a perfect picture of government paralysis.

You would be forgiven for suggesting that an electorate battered by a severe slump, rising unemployment and a debt crisis that’s become nothing short of a national emergency deserves far, far better than this. And you would be right. One question that’s beginning to loom large, consequently, as the economic situation continues to deteriorate (despite what certain quarters of the press would have us believe) and government in-fighting escalates is where will it all end?

History suggests an answer to that question: collapse.

Read Full Post »

Ian Dale suggeststhat Gordon Brown’s cabinet is tearing itself to bits with bitter power struggles going on almost constantly.

I’m not sure the Sunday papers are going to make happy reading for Peter Mandelson. Simon Walters has the story [in the Mail on Sunday] of how Mandy refused to talk to Gordon Brown until he asked Shaun Woodward to leave the room (hilarious).
But more seriously for Mandelson, the Sunday Times accuses him of covering up a report into MG Rover.

<!– if (!document.messagespace_adshown || document.messagespace_adshown != 1) { document.write('’); document.messagespace_adshown = 1; } //–> gq++; if(gq == 2) document.write(”);

Mandelson’s almost mystical ability to spread discord is hurting Brown now. Mind you, there can be no sympathy for the auld fraud: if you try to make a deal with the devil, somewhere down the road you’re gonna get burnt.

What motivates this pair is probably beyond rational thought. I would hazard, though, that with the former, it is vanity on a legendary scale and with the latter, it is unprincipled, demagoguic fanaticism combined with a delusional sense of his own importance. One thing they have in common is their ability to alienate almost everyone unfortunate enough to have to work for them – and to lie constantly, deliberately and without the slightest compunction. No wonder Labour is in total disarray.

There’s more, though. Add to this the story in the Sunday Telegraph that Alan Johnson acted unilaterally in the so-called U-turn over ID cards – he didn’t tell Brown he was going to do it – and the Independent on Sunday’s report of a new backbench rebellion brewing over the 10p tax fiasco, and you have a perfect picture of government paralysis.

You would be forgiven for suggesting that an electorate battered by a severe slump, rising unemployment and a debt crisis that’s become nothing short of a national emergency deserves far, far better than this. And you would be right. One question that’s beginning to loom large, consequently, as the economic situation continues to deteriorate (despite what certain quarters of the press would have us believe) and government in-fighting escalates is where will it all end?

History suggests an answer to that question: collapse.

Read Full Post »

Ian Dale suggeststhat Gordon Brown’s cabinet is tearing itself to bits with bitter power struggles going on almost constantly.

I’m not sure the Sunday papers are going to make happy reading for Peter Mandelson. Simon Walters has the story [in the Mail on Sunday] of how Mandy refused to talk to Gordon Brown until he asked Shaun Woodward to leave the room (hilarious).
But more seriously for Mandelson, the Sunday Times accuses him of covering up a report into MG Rover.

<!– if (!document.messagespace_adshown || document.messagespace_adshown != 1) { document.write('’); document.messagespace_adshown = 1; } //–> gq++; if(gq == 2) document.write(”);

Mandelson’s almost mystical ability to spread discord is hurting Brown now. Mind you, there can be no sympathy for the auld fraud: if you try to make a deal with the devil, somewhere down the road you’re gonna get burnt.

What motivates this pair is probably beyond rational thought. I would hazard, though, that with the former, it is vanity on a legendary scale and with the latter, it is unprincipled, demagoguic fanaticism combined with a delusional sense of his own importance. One thing they have in common is their ability to alienate almost everyone unfortunate enough to have to work for them – and to lie constantly, deliberately and without the slightest compunction. No wonder Labour is in total disarray.

There’s more, though. Add to this the story in the Sunday Telegraph that Alan Johnson acted unilaterally in the so-called U-turn over ID cards – he didn’t tell Brown he was going to do it – and the Independent on Sunday’s report of a new backbench rebellion brewing over the 10p tax fiasco, and you have a perfect picture of government paralysis.

You would be forgiven for suggesting that an electorate battered by a severe slump, rising unemployment and a debt crisis that’s become nothing short of a national emergency deserves far, far better than this. And you would be right. One question that’s beginning to loom large, consequently, as the economic situation continues to deteriorate (despite what certain quarters of the press would have us believe) and government in-fighting escalates is where will it all end?

History suggests an answer to that question: collapse.

Read Full Post »

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