Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Shuffling the Pack

Another pleasure of having lost means that I can catch up on Series 5 of The West Wing - one of my all time favourite TV shows. Shame that Rob Lowe isn't in it anymore - he was the character I identified with most of all. Pity I don't have his looks!

Now to the reshuffle. Bits of it are quite clever. Several of the leadership contenders will either shine or fail. George Osborne must have gulped a bit when he was offered the Shadow Chancellor's job. Talk about being put in the firing line. The appointment I find most intriguing (at least I think that's the word I am looking for) is Francis Maude as Party Chairman. Francis is the moderniser's moderniser and to put him in charge of CCO at this time is either a red rag to a bull or a calculated gamble. It could put CCO on a direct collision course with the constituency parties, which is frankly the last thing we need.

I think the appointment of Malcolm Rifkind to shadow Blunkett is inspired. This could be one of the most interesting battles to observe in the next few months.

I'm glad Alan Duncan has been promoted to the Shadow Cabinet - long overdue, and I am pleased to see my friend Andrew Mitchell joining the top table. I do feel it could all have been a little more radical to breathe some new life into it. I would have liked to have seen Julie Kirkbride and Damien Green brought back - and, dare I say it, Boris Johnson. I see little point in retaining anyone who won't be around in three years time.

In a way I am more interested to see what happens to the junior spokespeople who will no doubt be shuffled tomorrow.

8 comments:

Ted said...

Iain - do you have any thoughts why William Hague wasn't involved? I was under the impression that he'd return to the front bench at the election, I assume he didn't want to take a pay cut afterall!

It's interesting that Howard appears to be promoting David Davis's biggest rivals, the modernisers, to prominent positions.

Anonymous said...

So you would have got rid of Ancram, I take it, by your 3 year comment. What do you think about the retention of Redwood? You are right about the three you mention. Perhaps all of them should have brought in. Isn't there room for another Chairman to do the media stuff as well?

Andrew

Cllr Francis Lankester said...

Osbourne & Cameron-fine. Maude is a dreadful choice. Being the only man ever to lose a debate on Europe with Keith Vaz and totally effective at putting over the Tory case as Shadow Chancelor seems to make him the natural choice for Party Chairman! Ridiculous.
Still so few women-and to leave Damien Green out is unwise. As a Tory teacher I was impressed by him when he was Education spokesman.

Cllr Francis Lankester said...

Of course, I meant "ineffective!"

Anonymous said...

George Osborne is a mistake. A man who has no experience of anything outside politics is hardly going to be a man who anyone suffering financially can identify with. If Ken Clarke can't be leader, Malcolm Rifkind must be. Osborne is a lame duck shadow chancellor, let alone party leader. jw.

Iain Dale said...

William Hague won;t return to the front bench for at least a couple of years. Shame, but there you are. Anynonymous, what makes you think Malcolm Rifkind will be any better at attracting back former Conservative voters than Michael Howard has been. I have just seen him on Newsnight described as a Michael Howard Tribute Band. Surely we need to move on from the Major era and look to the future. As Tony B might say: Forward not Back!

Anonymous said...

It's not the people who lead the party that's important, that's a style thing, and all they need is strength and respect. The party is entirely out of touch with the issues that people in the key age group 18-30 want.

Running three pubs round here (so Iain knows who I am), the young vote is not hard to get. The reality is that there are people who are struggling with punitive charges made by banks for going overdrawn, they are suffering from debt issues, let alone social issues which politicians rarely get involved with such as loneliness and isolation.

Instead the Conservatives seem to think that cutting tax will win votes. It won't win the votes of those 18-30 who hardly earn to pay tax. Knowing that Oliver Letwin will earn 300,000 pounds a year in a merchant bank doesn't help the 18 year old who has just been charged 30 pounds for going overdrawn.

It's about expectations, understanding people and listening to people. Not knowing who is number one (as Iain mentioned somewhere else) is not crucial in itself, it just shows a total lack of conception about understanding people across the age groups.

The appointment of George Osborne as Shadow Chancellor is a snub to youngsters IMO.

jw.

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