Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who Should David Cameron Promote?

ConservativeHome has an interesting piece on the Big Beasts of the Tory Party not in the Shadow Cabinet. They include IDS, DD, Ken Clarke, Malcolm Rifkind and John Redwood. They speculate about which of these might be included in a Cameron Cabinet. My bet is none of them will.

But this does raise the question of David Cameron's priorities as PM. Does he want a Cabinet of the biggest beasts possible, or does he want to shape a Cabinet in his own fashion, full of fresh talent and young faces? A wise PM will somehow want to mix the two, which is why I hope he does include at least two of the names above.

But just how deep is the talent in the ranks of junior shadow spokespeople outside the Shadow Cabinet? Gordon Brown's problem is that there is a dearth of talent at Minister of State level, so if he holds a Cabinet reshuffle, it would only have any impact if he brought back some of the Blairites who have fallen by the wayside over the years.

Looking through the middle ranks of the Conservative front bench I wondered how many of them could genuinely be described as definite Cabinet material. I've created a poll for you to have your say, in which I ask which five of the current front bench are definite Cabinet material.... My five votes go to Greg Clark, Damian Green, Ed Vaizey, Maria Miller and David Burrowes.

Vote HERE.

55 comments:

Nicole said...

Why no "none of the above"?

Alan Douglas said...

Big Beasts is one thing, but lumbering dinosaurs are quite another. The likes of Clarke, Patten and Heseltine have been quite destructive enough already of Great Britain, and any inclusion of them would be disastrous !

I would make Redwood chancellor. He writes an excellent blog from which I have gleaned much. He knows his stuff, and shows much humanity in his writing.

Alan Douglas

Graham said...

How can I choose 5 when I've only heard of 4 of them?

chuck said...

I've only heard of Ed Vaizey.

James said...

Ed Vaizey is very good looking...
But what have you to say, Iain, on the IoS's revelations that 6 Tory frontbenchers have investments in companies propping up Mugabe? Says a lot about the moral difference between Labour and Tories still I feel...And the greed which is at the heart of Conservatism, if I may go so far.

Anonymous said...

I choose 5 white British males but I suppose under Harriet's Law it would mean the 5 would have to be aged female ethnics instead.

James said...

Just to correct anonymous 7:16, the law is not compulsory, it simply allows companies to use corrective policies if they see fit - so it's up to Dave... And may I stress, as a Labour member, that not everyone in the party supports these silly faux-egalitarian ideas. As far as I can see, they're only relevant to high flying women who need no help; far better to focus on raising wages in the low-paid jobs where women predominate - not because they are women, but because it's not a living wage. That'd be real progress towards equality; I think Harman wants to be remembered as some kind of Barbara Castle, and she's not allowed to do anything real in terms of promoting equality through redistribution, so this is the best she can come up with. It's a bit of a shame.

jd said...

With the exception of DD I wouldn't let any of that grouping anywhere near. IDS and Redwood are useless liabilities. As for the others. granted it's already going to be a sopping wet Government because of Dave, but Ken Clarke? Malcolm Rifkind? Purleeese.

As for the poll, could only find one worth voting for (and no it wasn't Vaizey). But still trying to stop laughing after seeing Maples name there... after last time??

Anonymous said...

James @ 29 June 2008 19:16

But what have you to say, Iain, on the IoS's revelations that 6 Tory frontbenchers have investments in companies propping up Mugabe? Says a lot about the moral difference between Labour and Tories still I feel...And the greed which is at the heart of Conservatism

Do keep up James and check out Guido for the disgusting hypocrisy of the Indy on this story. You sound a bit of a desperate Labourite to me - so before you do your Labour-type sneering, suggest you make sure of your facts first.

Alex said...

Jeez, Maria Miller in the Cabinet? I have met more impressive Deputy Regional Heads of Human Resources. Vaizey is no better than a third rate game shoiw panellist and the others have distinguished themselves by their anonymity.

Is that the sound of a barrel being scraped that I hear?

Badger said...

Clarke

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

This man is obsessed with the EU.

He voted against the Referendum.

He will support any policy proposed by the EU. He loves the undemocratic EU so much that the interests and wishes of the EU are far more important to him than the interests of England.

If you told the loopy Clarke that ANY policy was supported by the EU he would support it too. His brain is on hold - it is completely EUatrophed.

I would like this man out of the party - he is an EU trojan horse. He will betray this country for the EU. He is poisonous, dangerous and desperately old fashioned.

Richard Nabavi said...

The 'big beasts' phrase is over-used and misleading. The familiar names from the nineties may seem to be 'big beasts', but that's only because of familiarity. New talent will be available to Cameron, I am sure.

the orange party said...

You missed off Thatcher!

trevorsden said...

Clarke is too wet, even for Cameron. But to put him back in government when he has refused for 10 years to pull his not inconsiderable weight on the front benches would be quite disruptive I would have thought.

I quite like Clarke, but I could never support him because of his position (ie servile) on Europe. But for being pro Europe he would be Tory leader and probably PM by now. 'Where did it all go wrong?"

IDS is I think a decent human being and would make a good minister. Likewise Redwood. I would, assuming he is still in parliament, try to find a job for DD.

Assuming, ASSUMING, we win the next election Cameron should put as many of the new intake as show any inkling of talent straight into his govt as possible, immediately even. Above all no jobs for any expenses toting freebooters and pea-brained dimwits.

(all parties have these and at the time of writing I do not include Spellman who seems to have been 'clean' for 9-10 years))

Anonymous said...

badger - ha ha ha. If anyone is obsessed by Europe it is the Clarke-baiters, not Clarke. Clarke is in favour of Britain in Europe sure and has never made a secret of it, but not to the exclusion of all the other issues unlike some on the other side of the divide.

As for David Burrowes, it isn't certain whether Cameron goes along with the Evangelical God-bothering agenda but I doubt he'll want to be associated with or encourage this entryist tendency in the Tory Party. Tim Montgomerie on the battlements is bad enough without them in the Cabinet Room.

Anonymous said...

badger - ha ha ha. If anyone is obsessed by Europe it is the Clarke-baiters, not Clarke. Clarke is in favour of Britain in Europe sure and has never made a secret of it, but not to the exclusion of all the other issues unlike some on the other side of the divide.

As for David Burrowes, it isn't certain whether Cameron goes along with the Evangelical God-bothering agenda but I doubt he'll want to be associated with or encourage this entryist tendency in the Tory Party. Tim Montgomerie on the battlements is bad enough without them in the Cabinet Room.

Tim Montgomerie said...

Iain,

We weren't suggesting that the 'big beasts' should return to the frontbench - although some might/ should.

Our post was simply a list of five figures with considerable status and making a big contribution to the party from a backbench position.

I agree with your list of five btw. I'd love to see David Burrowes go to intl development for example.

Greg Clark is most deserving of the five.

Andrew said...

He would be doing the country a diservice if he didn't make Redwood Chancellor. The man obviously knows his stuff.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that John Redwood is NOT a big beast.

wrinkled weasel said...

Apart from Ed Vaizey I havn't heard of any of them, so I cannot vote.

All this is silly any way. You are probably watching the football.

I rang my son just now, and he is watching the football, whatever it is.

You are that way inclined, what can a father do? I mean, I thought I brought him up in a rational, calm and loving atmosphere. And then I find he watches football.

Does this mean he wants a Delia Smith book for his birthday?

canvas said...

short on talent I would say - Ed Vaizey is decent...the rest are pretty lame.

Devil's Kitchen said...

If Cameron promoted Ken Clarke, I would never, ever vote Tory whilst Cameron was leader.

Clarke is a fat, poisonous, EU-phile, authoritarian scumbag who has no place in any party that even half-way believes in freedom.

Actually, the same applies to Rifkind, apart from the fat bit.

DK

trevorsden said...

"I agree with your list of five btw. I'd love to see David Burrowes go to intl development for example."

Ho Hum ...

This is where I show my right wing credentials - why do we need a ministry of international development?

We need to sort out our own internal development first.

It may well be politic to dish out a chunk of money to some foreign countries in return for some service, or indeed a bit of civility, but that's a different matter.

And before all the bleeding hearts get in a lather - what have the billions we have dispersed over the years actually achieved - except put a lot of business the way of a few Swiss bankers? Have the poor and starving miraculously melted away?

And let me also make clear - I believe in welcoming increased prosperity in the third world, it offers new markets to sell to, it offers new opportunities to buy from. That is capitalism.

Throwing money down an open sough - that's stupidity.

Paul Pinfield said...

Is Redwood beyond the pail? I know he comes across as a bit wild-eyed, but I think he would make a decent chancellor.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice to have one or two Tories even if only for appearance sake.

Anonymous said...

Andrew said...
"He would be doing the country a disservice if he didn't make Redwood Chancellor. The man obviously knows his stuff."

Redwood is an an absolute freak. He would be an embarrassment to the party.

sid rat said...

How can you claim this is a serious political blog, when you are avoiding the only story in town, which is, Is Dr Who really about to undergo a regeneration?

Weygand said...

Cameron has spent 2 years pretending that IDS and Redwood were just part of a nightmare following an ill-advised cheese sandwich and that KC and Rifkin have been chemically disarmed.

He has done so, because he knows that just the sight of the first two is worth a five point Labour gain and that the latter have no place in a forward-looking party.

Of the five, only DD is voter-friendly, sane enough to be let out without a keeper, and young enough not to be receiving a winter fuel payment.

There is no chance of the other four coming back - unless Brown starts causing mischief by inviting them to be European Commissioners

haddock said...

His best bet is to promote David Davis to Prime Minister, and John Redwood to Chancellor of the exchequer. Dave could be the Speaker, safely out of the way and continuing the recent tradition of having a speaker worthy of ridicule.

Anonymous said...

Redwood would be a complete disaster as Chancellor, as anyone who lived in Wales when he was Secretary of State could testify. (well almost anyone - former Vale of Glamorgan MP Walter Sweeney, now one of DD's challengers in Howden & Haltemprice, wanted Redwood to be Chancellor)

Anonymous said...

Cameron, if he has any sense, would look at the make up of good cabinets. He must not, for instance, create a cabinet, such as Brown's, with young boys and incompetent women. He should ensure that he has both youth and experience, male and female.

I would certainly have John Redwood in as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in theCabinet. He knows his onions. He may be an odd ball but we want people who could hold up an argument with conviction and sincerity.

As for Kenneth Clarke? Dont make me laugh.

I would though offer a position or two to one or two outstanding Liberal Democrats and progressive Labour MP's...copying Blair? yes. but it went down well with the people.

Anonymous said...

badger: "ha ha ha. If anyone is obsessed by Europe it is the Clarke-baiters, not Clarke."

Careful badger, you don't want to miss the train, get left in the slow lane, or find yourself in a two speed Europe.

Frankly, Clarke, Heath, Hestletine, have been the most destructive influences in the Tory party, last twenty years of the last century.

I agree with the devil regards Clarke, and Rifkind.

Clarke was one of the first 'so called' Tories to collude with Tony Blair, almost as soon as the Tories had lost the '97 election, he took every opportunity to undermine previous Tory leaders - it would be foolhardy to promote Clarke.

Chris Paul said...

And you think Brown has a dearth of talent to exploit?? Ditto the comments about the anonymity of this lot. And let's not forget that Cameron will need far more than five if and when the Tory Sleaze stories really start to bite. And they will.

Paul Pinfield said...

Off topic, but... Oops! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/2217813/Alan-Johnson-Gordon-Brown-not-a-centre-court-player.html

Yak40 said...

I think Harman wants to be remembered as some kind of Barbara Castle

And Barbara Chateau is memorable for what exactly ?

Yak40 said...

the IoS's revelations that 6 Tory frontbenchers have investments in companies propping up Mugabe? Says a lot about the moral difference between Labour and Tories still I feel...

Nonsense. Similar arguments made re investments in SA before the ANC took over.

Companies operating in Zimbabwe at least provide employment for some locals, would you rather they pulled out and, in the case of mining operations, have Mugabe give 'em to the Chinese ?

Matthew Jones said...

Redwood is a must for me, his knowledge of economics is superb.

Auntie Flo' said...

One day, in the not too distant future, the name of my MP to be, the amazing Robert Halfon, will be on this list. He is brilliant, so charismatic and hard working.

Rob Halfon for Harlow!

Auntie Flo' said...

Badger said:

Clarke

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

This man is obsessed with the EU.

He voted against the Referendum.

I totally agree with you badger, Clarke's a traitor.

Auntie Flo' said...

Mark Prisk is excellent. He's been a Stop Stansted Expansion campaigner for years.

Though not as good as Robert Halfon, though Rob's hard to beat. He worked his heart out for Harlow's IWAR referendum campaign.

gordon-bennett said...

the IoS's revelations that 6 Tory frontbenchers have investments in companies propping up Mugabe? Says a lot about the moral difference between Labour and Tories still I feel...

The beeb pension fund has holdings ranging from £26.4 million to £53.7 million in 5 of the 7 companies mentioned in the IoS report as being linked to zimbabwe.

If it's OK for the sainted beeb to invest then it must be OK for the MPs and for us other mere mortals.

Sugar Free said...

"Gordon Brown's problem is that there is a dearth of talent at Minister of State level"

totally disagree...it is his saving grace... if there was anyone with charm and more than two brain cells in the cabinet, Gordon would be in even more trouble. It is all his own doing, that's why he dithers, because he has to make ALL the big decisions of government. Cabinet ministers are little more than messengers. In reality the Blair's cabinet might have been similar, but at least his 'Big Beasts' looked like they were capable of thinking (if poorly) for themselves.

I agree Cameron needs to get a balance. He does need the likes of Clarke involved, if only because of the way they can actually outline policy to the people. I am also always really impressed with Neville-Jones whenever I see her speak, I hope she is involved somewhere.

Sugar Free said...

Also, what happened to the Harperson's 'sleaze allegations’... I must have been out of the country when they were 'resolved'...

tapestry said...

I would not put DD in the front bench at this stage.

However I support his campaigning on liberty 100%. It's a case of see how he goes. Davis might yet work some magic, but he has to be on probation as far as Cameron is concerned.

Redwood has the best financial mind. If Labour found Brown's communication skill good enough for Chancellor, Redwood would far exceed that level. With the country now in a right mess, it will take Redwood's knowledge and skill to get us out of it.

However Cameron might favour Osborne. I would prefer the older more experienced head of Redwood myself - although Chief Secretary to the Treasury might work to Osborne's Chancellorship. I think Osborne listens to Redwood.

I would give Owen Paterson agriculture and fisheries, (DEFRA) or any other department as he is so diligent and gets things done....

The fantasy of opposition and the modernising agenda needs to change over to the reality of power. The public are voting Conservative because they want the mess sorting out, not because they think Cameron is the new Blair.

That's what Cameron should do, put the best management into place, not the nicest smiles, or best image-creators.

IDS is an obvious candidate, as is John Hayes who would deliver great improvements from a basis of common sense.

KC, MR etc. No. If Cameron wants to lose credibility with his party, put the europhiles back in place. It's odd how politicians love the EU, while the public hates it.

In my case I detest the EU to the extent that I've left Britain to live outside the clutches of the bureaucracy that has ruined the place. I see that many others are doing the same (2 million in 10 years), and foreigners that came to the UK for a better life are now leaving again in droves.

The Conservatives must sort it all out, as no one else will. The fear is that Cameron will avoid the real issues such as the EU, but he's the only bet right now.

If only Labour would dump Brown and elect a eurosceptic leader, not a New Labour retread, the situation might start to unravel. But as of now Brown is leading the country into Lisbon and endless ruination.

Paul Linford said...

I this this survey might have been more interesting if you had asked which current members of the Shadow Cabinet are actually Cabinet material. Not that I'm suggesting Labour's lot are any better necessarily....

There is a widely-perceived lack of "weight" in the current Shadow Cabinet and Cameron needs to address this. Unlike you Iain I think he will eventually bring DD back, not particularly because he wants to but because it will strengthen the line-up. I suspect it won't be as Shadow Home Secretary though.

IDS has gained a lot of respect from the public through his work in the social justice field and would also be a wise inclusion in my view.

Thatcher would be an interesting parellel for Cameron in terms of Cabinet-making. She did fill her first Cabinet with "Big Beasts" and Heathites, but gradually remade it in her own image over time. This is broadly speaking what I think Cameron should do.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Me thinks he should promote Mark Simmonds.

Mark has proven for many years now what a safe pair of hands he is and his handling of the human embryology bill was nothing short of first class.

Anonymous said...

James said...

"the law is not compulsory, it "simply allows companies to use corrective policies if they see fit""

Apart from abusing government market position to only buy from companies that can prove they only employ inadequates with the Harriet Fatperson seal of approval.

"may I stress, as a Labour member, that not everyone in the party supports these silly faux-egalitarian ideas."

Which counts for diddlysquat. You, like all the few remaining members of that shameful remnant, are irrelevant.


"they're only relevant to high flying women who need no help;"

What's left of the Labour Party is, in reality, dedicated to helping the rich, especially if they're foreigners.

"I think Harman wants to be remembered as some kind of Barbara Castle"

She won't be. Babs had some skill and talent.

Anonymous said...

wrinkled weasel said...

"watching the football"

I can relate to that! I blame that World cup thingie we had a couple of years ago. Because then there was literally nothing else on tv I kinda had to watch some of it, as did my mother. During that one competition I watched far more football then I had ever seen in my life before.

Last night I found myself watching the match to cheer on the dagos to punish the bosche for the failure of the Hun to beat the Jock at Wimbledon on Saturday. All very distressing, I agree.

Who was that tory bloke on 'Daily Politics' last week condemning the latest wheeze to give MPs more money? He didn't seem too bad.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Think it's more a case of wehom DD promotes.

By the way, interested in being a Panellist, Iain? Could you find any time?

DiscoveredJoys said...

Why not bring back able people (like DD, IDs, Redwood) as a separate "Joined Up Think Tank"? DD with his emphasis on liberties, IDS with his sterling work on social justice, Redwood becasue he has an economic view broader than mere finance.

This team could give long term strategy advice to the Cabinet to reduce the short termism of modern political life.

The "Joined Up Think Tank" could also be a pool of reserves to fill in for emergency situations (e.g. foot and mouth or floods), and also provide a training opportunity for future Cabinet ministers.

Anonymous said...

Redwood is a FREAK and part of the 'OLD STYLE TORY' problem...remember when no one would ever consider voting for a Tory - not so long ago...

Cameron's not stupid - he would never give Redwood anything high profile.

Anonymous said...

Big Beasts?
More like old farts!

rosie said...

Perhaps we should forget the names and just try to find the five whose accounts will bear scutiny.
The comments are hilarious, about as funny as most of that list of nonentities being cabinet material.
God help us.
Out of the frying pan into the fire.

Londoner said...

I could only find three from your list who are, or might be, cabinet material, and that was being charitable in a couple of cases. Damian Green is the only one clearly with that capability. There may be a few very recent MPs on your list who could be cabinet level in due course but only after a much longer apprenticeship.

But remember you have excluded a Shadow Cabinet of, I think, 27. I very much hope the real Cabinet is a great deal smaller than that or it cannot possibly operate properly. So there is plenty of room to move out a few without having to find others.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Redwood's a man of principle.