Friday, September 19, 2008

Ken Clarke Should be Cameron's Chancellor

Government is something which should be conducted without sentiment. This is especially true in tough economic times. For some time I have toyed with the idea of writing a column suggesting that David Cameron should make Ken Clarke Chancellor when he wins the election. The very idea will cause some spluttering in certain quarters, and I understand why, but let me explain.

The idea of making Ken Clarke Chancellor should in no way be taken as a criticism of George Osborne. I think George has grown into the job in a way many people doubted he was able to. And in normal economic circumstances I wouldn't be suggesting a move for him. However, we are no longer operating in normal circumstances, and I doubt very much that normality will have returned by the time of the next election. We will be entrenched in a recession. And that's why Ken Clarke should be brought back

Ken Clarke got us out of one recession when he was Chancellor, let him do it again. Clarke is popular in the country, in a way that no other Tory Shadow Cabinet Minister is. They like his blokiness and his apparent willingness to call a spade a spade. He is a reassuring presence, and in a government inevitably full of people who are not household names, that's a vital quality.

Part of the issue here is whether David Cameron forms a Cabinet on the basis of wanting the best people in the right jobs, or feels that those who have earned their passage in opposition should be given their chance to shine in government. ConservativeHome explores this issue today, suggesting that many of John Major's Cabinet may be brought into a Cameron team. I think they go too far with some of their names. Stephen Dorrell, for example, is someone few people realise is even still an MP! However, the principle is sound - bring in a few people with experience of government.

88 comments:

Daily Referendum said...

As I said on ConHome:

Why the hell would we want Clarke? When or if the economy dies down, the EU will come back into focus, and Clarke is at odds with the vast majority of the party. An he's not too bothered about showing his allegiance to the EU when speaking in the house.

NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Jilted John said...

it's a good idea, but there is one glaring problem with it.

The biggest barrier to a tory victory at the next election is their own right wing (vide Wheeler already and imagine all the others). So far the right have largely kept schtum having scented their first chance to get into government in a decade. Clarke would whip them up into a frenzy.

Anonymous said...

He might even cut tobacco taxes and make it legal to smoke in pubs again !! He reminds slightly of an older tubbier version of Stephen Fry for some reason..

James Hopkins said...

I supported Clarke both in 2001 and originally in 2005, and thought that he should have been considered as a candidate for Shadow Chancellor back then, having done the job for four years, having twenty years of government experience (including the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s)and having the necessary clout to take on the big clunking fist which people like Peter Lilley, Francis Maude, Michael Portillo and Oliver Letwin didn't have.

He still undoubtedly should be considered a candidate, for all the reasons you suggest Iain. HOWEVER, as you acknowledge, this suggestion will be met with Thatcher like cries of "No no no!" from most Conservatives, who faint at the idea of Clarke being given any sort of frontbench role at all, and will in return say that John Redwood should be Chancellor.

But, would Cameron really not give Osborne the Treasury now? His closest friend in politics, the man who has spent a lot of time making the Conservatives electable with the City and working on economic policy, the man who announced the inheritance tax threshold rise, the man who has been the longest serving shadow chancellor since 1997 (at three years four months that doesn't say much for the others!) Osborne will be Cameron's first Chancellor, without doubt. Clarke's is needed in cabinet though as Lord President or something to give advice and experience to others during this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Oh for heaven's sake Iain.

We'll now have a day of frothing bile from Euro-nutters blathering on about EU Treason.

A more elegant solution would be to install Clarke as Chief Secretary - Osborne doesn't get cross, and the real experience and expertise is just along the corridor whenever its needed.

oiznop said...

And what exactly will that do for Cameron's pledge to withdraw from the EPP or hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

The idea of Clarke as Chancellor is superficially attractive but politically divisive. In fact, the party would be in power for one term and then lose the next election because of unresolvable division. And Clarke would put the EU above a further Conservative victory.

Anonymous said...

In 1998 KC was telling anyone who would listen that Brown was wrong to stick to KC's spending plans because they were too stringent.

The idea of the chomper in charge at the moment makes me reach for the pills, sorry.

Anonymous said...

"Ken Clarke got us out of one recession when he was Chancellor"

Wrong. What got us out of the last (until next time) tory recession was the complete collapse of tory policy on Golden Whateverdayoftheweekitwas.

Kit said...

"Ken Clarke got us out of one recession when he was Chancellor"

No he didn't. A tub of lard would have been equally effective.

Whiffler said...

While there is merit in your suggestion, never forget that Ken Clarke's big thing is Europe. He and Hesltine blackmailed one Conservative PM into going against party & country, and he would have no qualms about trying it on again.

With Cameron promising as much as he can on a Lisbon referendum, getting Clarke through the flap into the tent may not be that easy.

Anonymous said...

Clarke is a social democrat and Euro fanatic. Are you off your rocker suggesting this. Osborne is weak, and looked totally out of his depth on newsnight the other night. But Clarke's policies are essentially NULAB!we need a tory who can slash taxes and public spending not some keynesian euro fanatic.

C Powell said...

It would certainly have been better to have had Ken on our screens during the last few weeks than Darling. At least you felt with him and Eddie George that they would have done whatever was necessary for the country and that they could be trusted.

But I just don't see it happening, Iain.

Agree, though, that the Tories need to say something on tax: people are fed up with paying so much for so little and they want to feel that the Tories are on their side on this.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea. Talk about your dream tickets. However we all know that whenever the Conservatives have the opportunity to do something popular involving Clarke (eg electing him leader), they choose not to.

cherami said...

Very interesting idea.

Part of the reason Labour is lost is that it is riddled with inexperienced policy wonks (the Milibands) or the pernicious (Harman, Blears and company) at a time when we badly need some grown ups around.

Yes, I know there is still a strand of Toryism that loathes Brussels and all its works (so do the French, Dutch, Irish and even Germans who would still like the Mark back) but the truth is that Europe has managed its affairs a lot better than USA/UK inc.

We should stop thinking of Calais as being foreign and just possibly consider the idea that Europe has quite a lot to offer that America doesn't. And vice versa but we should be adult enough to draw on the best from wherever it comes.

So, Clarke is a very interesting suggestion.
Osborne's time will come. Would he even want to be chancellor having to clear up the mess Brown is leaving?

Ben Evetts said...

All well and good banging the drum comment makers but, speaking as a labour supporter, i always thought he was one of your strongest players and was amazed that you rejected him in favour of IDS in 2001. Not for me to give conservatives advice but its worth considering that the combination of youth in cameron and experience in clarke could be very compelling to the swing voters.

In fact forget it, get someone really, really right wing instead.

Blue Eyes said...

Clarke was an excellent chancellor but there is no reason why virtually anybody couldn't do as well. It really is simple: keep spending on a tight leash, use rates to manage supply/demand to keep growth and inflation steady. Even Brown managed it 1997-2001.

Osborne is very good, he managed to put Paxman back in his box the other night and that is worth a lot of credibility.

I think Michael Howard should be Home Secretary.

Anonymous said...

If Cameron did this then he would have "chosen unwisely".

In Like Flynn said...

I think that this is a pretty appealing idea, and should at least be explored before writing it off completely.

There would also be value in Osborne gaining some experience in one of the 'spending' departments. I think people expect a certain amount of gravitas in their Chancellor, in order to inspire confidence. This is particularly salient at the moment.

However, it is pretty obvious that many within the party would have serious issue with it... you only have to look at the other posts so far...

Victor, NW Kent said...

Clarke would create a schism in the new cabinet by his fervent advocacy of closer ties with Europe.

We will need a united cabinet, not a divided one.

Most of those that are mentioned are relics of the disastrous Major government and carry too much old baggae with them.

Dr Froth said...

Iain, I think you are a party man through and through. To have suggested this after your criticisms of Wheeler yesterday really shows that you don't get it. Conservatives don't care about the Conservative Party, it can go to hell. Conservatives care about Conservative principles, and the very basis of them is the self-determination of the nation.

Man in a Shed said...

But would he tow the party line on Europe.

I think we know the answer on that.

The press would be full of Tory split stories.

Jake said...

You do come out with some crazy ideas.
Whilst nobody can deny Ken Clarke's credentials he has shown himself to be not 100% trustworthy at times and not always a team player.
And apart from the fact that he would be too much of a reminder of the past, there is absolutely no need to move George Osborne.
He comes across as very calm and astute which is exactly what we need from a chancellor.

Anonymous said...

"He is a reassuring presence "

Iain, is this a spoof ?

Clarke is bloody poison.

His allegience is to a foriegn power.

He is not a "detail" man ie he doesn't know his stuff and never has, he just muffs through it all.He openly admits this. He would be totally out of his depth in the modern financial world. Derivatives weren't even invented when he was Chancellor.

He is deeply against England, wants regionalism and basically the end of England. With the slow breakup of the UK now taking place this is not the time to promote such a man.

Face it. He is just an old fart from the past, long over his sell by date , who has been kept in the public eye by an over indulgent Tory party and a grovelling BBC. At least the Labour party have the common sense to put their Healey's out to grass and not keep kidding themselves about them.

Osborne would be better, though not perfect. Redwood pretty alert and good too.

workrobotwork said...

Of course, in a hung parliament we might just see Dr Vince Cable MP as the next Chancellor whoever is the largest party.

Ken Clarke is a dinosaur and belongs to history. There's no point decontaminating the Conservative party if you then bring back those who contributed to the horrific defeat of 1997.

curly15 said...

Keep your thoughts on the golf Iain, it's one European ideal which won't upset everyone!

Anonymous said...

Why are people who do not want a political Union with Europe but want a trading Union with Europe always called nutters?

When I voted yes, all those years ago it was for a common market, that's what Ted Heath promised it would be, no more no less.

I can't see anything remotely nutty in not having unelected European commissioners making most of the laws that I have to obey.

Notho said...

I must say I disagree, Mr. Dale. Not because I do not like Clarke, which is true, but that I feel that 1997 was a blessing for the party, giving us a chance to clear up. I don't think we should have too many of the "old lot" on the front bench, lest the public get scared off.

Anonymous said...

If Cameron could attach some kind of electrodes to his testicles which automatically zap him if he mentions the two letters E and U together then it might just work.

Z.

Anonymous said...

I've a better idea.


Grordon Brown should make Ken Clarke Chancellor!

trevorsden said...

Thereare times when I wonder about your sanity Mr Dale.

I like Ken Clarke - but I would never countenance his views on the EU.

Besides we do not need him as Chancellor. The medicine needed for the economy is self evident. That Labour cannot bring themselves to deliver it does not change that. A new incoming government will have the perfect excuse and opportunity.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Sod that. We have enough Europhiliac rubbish already.

Newmania said...

Quite right Iain we should value experience however much we loathe someone’s politics. Why not invite Gordon Brown into the cabinet , he`ll be looking for a job.

Seriously though , you cannot treat people that way . Its like a team that fights its way up from the First division with some great prospects and then dumps them fro a superannuated Prima Donna with a name .It would be a disaster for collegiate government which is essential at all times . Very interesting article here about how Callaghan was able to soldier on in circumstances that make Brown`s mess look like a stroll in the Park

http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2008/09/callaghan-government-cabinet


It shows that personal relationships are not less important under pressure they are more important .

Anonymous said...

If our Dave is thinking of putting generic Clarke back in the cabinet then NuCons prepare for the backbench's for a long time,
As far as I am concerned it will signal that our Dave is thinking about not giving us a referendum on the EU and I will vote for UKIP,BNP any party but NuCon.

The Head Hitter said...

Hear hear. The man is a colossus. He's been the only person worth listening to on the economy since 1992 - politicians, economists, bankers and BBC Business editors included.

Richard Nabavi said...

Iain, you know this is a bonkers idea. You're just trying to wind people up, right?

Ken Clarke was indeed an excellent Chancellor. It is regrettable in many ways that his immense talents cannot be put to more use, but it's simply impossible politically, for the reasons already given in the comments. There's no point speculating now about what might have been; it is all history, and most of it is very old history.

And I don't think it is necessary to even consider anyone other than Osborne. Like many people, I had doubts about Osborne's inexperience when he was first appointed Shadow Chancellor, but he has grown in stature as he has got more experience. I would say he is a pretty impressive figure now; he's clearly very astute, in full command of the brief, and also very careful. He'll make a good Chancellor. The key thing is to make sure that there are some experienced people around him.

haddock said...

"Clarke is popular in the country".... ? and what country would that be
Clarke is a household name, but the name is usually prefixed with "that **** "

Anonymous said...

Can you help, Iain?

I watched Gordon Brown's speech recently and I'm sure he said that there would be 50% off double glazing, for those not on benefits??
We're pretty desperate not to spend another winter with the wind blowing in through the windows, so I rang the helpline and got a number for my local area. I was told that the newspapers mis-reported it, but when I said I heard him actually say it, I was then told that he had made a mistake and it wasn't true.
Is there any way I can check what he actually said on that day? I would like to know if he deliberately lied to us in order to get a headline.
Thanks (we're pretty desperate not to spend yet another winter in the cold)

Anonymous said...

Sure Ken can do the job (as can many others) but any government must have a sense of collegiality otherwise there is just chaos which disrupts everything. For that reason Ken isn't the man.

A Body Fascist said...

too fat, too lazy (Clarke)

Alex R said...

Iain, yes, you are 100% right! Bring back Ken!

HF said...

Ken Clarke has not been prepared to compromise his views on Europe. Admirable. However, with the possibility (remote) of a Lisbon referendum and the probability (high) of referendums on other aspects of Europe, Clarke would be a loose cannon. If he agreed to shut up on Europe and go along with whatever the cabinet decided he could be used, but I doubt that he would do that.

John Price said...

Iain - a great idea but it won't happen. There are still too many people in the party in the country who foam at the mouth at the mention of Clarke's name. Happily, age will wither them.

tally said...

Ken Clarke wants to be no more than a parish council subsevient to brussels. He is also a member of the any one but England brigade.
No.

Paul Linford said...

They say that everything comes back into fashion eventually. First it was ballroom dancing, then legwarmers, now it's the Major government.

Hitchy said...

I find it pretty funny that your suggestion that KC should be Chancellor for his economic experience is shot down by other Tories because of his views in Europe and social justice etc. Last time I looked, demands by the grassroots for ideological purity on all issues was what did for the Conservatives in the past.

But there's another issue - no Chanecllow can get us out of the current economic crisis and upcoming recession; and even if they could, they shouldn't try. Government has no business interfering in the workings of the market and this is no exception. No matter how painful, this crisis should be left to burn itself out.

permex said...

Man in a Shed said...
But would he tow the party line on Europe.
Pedant's corner:...and who would he have in toe?

Conand said...

Iain, I'm afraid I have to disagree. I think it is pretty evident that you have to have a First Lord of the Treasury (i.e. PM) and a Chancellor of the Exchequer who are extremely close politically. I know Ken is a loyalist (above and beyond the E word). The post is too important to have any hint of disunity. Our ambitions are so far reaching that we have to have Ozzy there, as he is the co-author of our ambitions.
I also worry about the importaion of too many 'old hands'. You potentially have a split cabinet, Half whom although totally signed up to policy may use their experience to try and supercede the young guns. Who are maybe closer to the leader politically and have made a lot of the running in recent opposition.
In short, I don't think preparing a method of governing should consist entirely of a return to the M.O. of the Major government.
There is an appalling danger that this discussion makes us look complacent. We have not won the next General Election. I know that it is logical to show how we would govern. It must not turn into triumphalism.
On a separate note I'm worried by Clegg saying the LDs are headed for government. By my calculations 89% of people won't vote for them at the next General Election. That doesn't sound like a very big democratic mandate.

James Hopkins said...

Clarke did not cause the Conservative defeat in 1997.

We had been in power for eighteen years. EIGHTEEN YEARS. Even in normal circumstances it would have taken a miracle for us to have won in 1997. It was time for a change. As it is now.

Sleaze was a major issue. I don't remember Clarke being involved in this. Cash for questions and various sex scandals.

Withdrawal from the ERM in 1992 was a big factor in this. I believe Clarke was Health Secretary when we entered the ERM, then Education Secretary, then Home Secretary on Black Wednesday. He was not Chancellor until afterwards, and after that the Tories never overtook Labour in the opinion polls again.

John Major was not a charismatic, inspiring leader of the party. The same could not be said of Clarke.

The party was divided on Europe. Ok, you can put some of the blame on Clarke for this. But then, from the other viewpoint, you can put blame on others too.

Labour had elected a new, young, charismatic, modernising leader in Tony Blair in July 1994. He was very appealing to voters back then, especially compared to Major.

Norman Lamont saying he sang "Je ne regrette rien" in the bath was an illustration of how out of touch we had become.

BSE.

The economy was improving under Clarke, and Gordo got the benefits of that. Clarke's tenure at the Treasury was one of the success stories of the Major government.

As was Howard's tenure at the Home Office.

Yes, they were part of the top team and so have to take some responsibility for defeat, but lets be honest, was there really much that they could have done? King Canute trying to stop the tide springs to mind.

not that mr smith said...

Clarke would appear to be using the same hair "colourist" as Tony Blair from his appearance on the Daily Show. "A warm honey tone with a realistic hint of grey around the temples". It's all the rage amongst relevance seeking has been politicos.

http://tinyurl.com/3n3rst

Not a sheep said...

Ken Clarke would be a great choice of Chancellor but for one factor, his blinkered pro-EU mindset. This I am afraid should disbar him from a Cabinet post, let alone one of the three senior posts.

T England said...

Ken Clarke is a pompous,love the EU, waste of space & about as popular as the plague, who in their right mind would want this EU loving "man" in charge of our money?

I wish Ken would just do one!

danny said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
seriously??! Is this the best they can do?? Excuse me while I wet myself laughing.

tory boys never grow up said...

All this time with Ann Widdecombe is obviously loosening your grip on reality!

Anonymous said...

There's no doubt Osborne is a risk having had no experience at that level. We need the very best, most experienced person in what is going to be the most important post of ANY future government. Clarke could well fit the post more than anyone I can think of, BUT the problem is his obsession with all things Europe. On that point alone NO NO NO NO No

Martin Day said...

Ken Clarke would make a good C of E, he built the foundations for a good number of years of growth post 1993.

Osbourne could be made Deputy PM, it might also be good for Osbourne as any tough medicine can be attached to Ken Clarke thus when Cameron quits as Leader in X years Osbourne has got a good chance of leadership.

I couldn't see him being C of E for more than 4 years or so though!

Anonymous said...

"A more elegant solution would be to install Clarke as Chief Secretary - Osborne doesn't get cross, and the real experience and expertise is just along the corridor whenever its needed."

Sounds a much better idea!

Grumpy Old Man said...

Iain. The Major cabinet you talk about so respectfully are the "bastards" who hid in the bushes when Major played the "Back me or sack me" card. DC should think very carefully before giving jobs to the grey suits. Ken Clarke should be left as a national treasure, to be wheeled out from time to time until the Lisbon thing is settled. This will allow him to campaign as hard as possible for Federalism without the Party alienating the 70% of Britons who want Lisbon defeated. When the issue is resolved one way or the other, kick him upstairs and let him play a major role in the Lords.
George Osbourne is going to have so few options open to him in 2010 that his policy choices will be "no brainers". He can learn on the job until the UK economy gets back into some sort of balance. As the number of economic policy choices increase, we will see whether he's got what it takes.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Iain but Clark does not deserve to be chancellor. Yes, he's a formidable politician and one who most governments would love to have, but he spent the best part of ten years undermining whoever was the Conservative Party leader. His behaviour in the 1997-2001 parliament was inexcusable and he wasn't much better up until 2005. After having sat and sulked for a decade and having contributed absolutely nothing to our (at long last) return into the public's confidence, Clarke does not deserve to be rewarded with this political plum.
Having said that, we could always make his governon of the Bank of England...

Richard Calhoun said...

I have not seen such an absurd proposal for a long time, in fact I would go so far as to say its just wasting people's time and energy discussing it.

Sure we will be in a recession in 2010 and there will have to be some severe public spending cuts, but there are those who could fill the role but Clarke simply isn't needed.

Anonymous said...

pompous lazy fat bullying and essentially ignorant Euro fanatic.

He, Heseltine, Major and Patten were responsible for the ERM fiasco and the destruction of the Conservative Party. Since then Clarke has had the cheek to claim credit as the Chancellor who got us out of the trouble he caused.

No more of this arrogant fool please

Anonymous said...

Iain,

I think you suffer from defective thinking sometimes.

Putting Clarke at the centre of Government is the best way to undermine what little faith the Eurosceptic heart of the party would have in Cameron.

Put Clarke into Government and you will ensure that many leave the party and that Cameron's leadership will be tainted from it's start.

Clarke, however competent a Chancellor he is, would be a political disaster. If Cameron is stupid enough to appoint Clarke then he doesn't deserve to be Prime Minister and won't see a second term.

Blackacre said...

I like many non-Conservatives did not understand when Clarke was not elected leader when he stood. But I suspect that is because we do not get the whole Euro obsession that eats away at the party.

However, his moment is now passed and there is no way Dave would overlook Gideon now.

Henry Rogers said...

Iain,

Please No! However capable and experienced he may be, his contribution would be likely to cause more trouble than it's worth.

Anonymous said...

Pavlovian Euro nutters have risen to the bait and are frothing away.

Cheeky stimulus from Iain.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

don't be a jobber!

Clarke is spent. let the poor chap enjoy his port and cigars in the library... I mean in an outside area with no more than two enclosing walls.

Anonymous said...

Ken Clarke and his love of the EU is one of the reasons I left the Tories for UKIP. If you think I (and I suspect many others) will come back to the fold with that porcine has been as chancellor you are dreaming.

Alan Douglas said...

No No NO !!!

Send him off to be Governor of Hong Kong, he should be safe enough there.

At least this time, he won't be able to give it away.

Alan Douglas

Anonymous said...

For George read Dave.How long would it take him to get rid of the pound?
Given yesterdays sad attack on SW and this piece today I am left with two possibilities A)Your going for an interview that we are not aware of or B)You are on some powerful form of medication.
Hope it's A.

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair called the FSA "hugely inhibiting of efficient business by perfectly respectable companies that have never defrauded anyone" in 2005

Callum was so upset he wrote to his mate gordo about him. Gordo loved their risk based approach - ie do nothing and let the risks multiply. Quite funny bit in here about how citigroup [still going strong] had lots of regulators crawling over them but our biggest bank had HSBC only had 6 regulators and they were only part-time - is it any wonder it all went tits up under callum


http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/foi/foi_0256.pdf

its quite clear who was irresponsible in the mess we are in. Gordon appointed the hbos chief to the FSA supported by callum - and the result was light touch regulation. Get the truth out I say


TREASURY PRESS RELEASE 18/12/2003

NEW NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS TO THE FSA BOARD

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, today announced that James Crosby and David Miles have been appointed Non-executive Directors of the FSA.

Gordon Brown said:

“ I am delighted to announce these appointments. James Crosby is a leading industry practitioner with a wealth of experience in banking, fund management and the insurance field, and will bring a new perspective to the Board.
Callum McCarthy, Chairman of the FSA Board, said:

“I am delighted to welcome James and to the Board ... These appointments and reappointments mean that we will continue to have a strong, effective and varied Board with an all-round high-level focus including the practitioner, consumer, regulatory and academic viewpoints”.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Biographical Details

1. James Crosby is Chief Executive of HBOS plc and was previously Chief Executive of Halifax plc before its merger with the Bank of Scotland.

Watervole said...

I am a great fan of George Osborne - I think he is extremely smart, likeable and has a brilliant mind. I very much want to see him as Cameron's No. 2 - they are a winning combination.

However, I also rate Clarke and would have liked to see his expertise put to good use. He is the only, the only person in the country that can reasonably claim - unlike Gordon Brown - that he has the necessary experience and track record of success to sort out the economy. No doubt tory dinosaurs will fluff up but that is very short-sighted and small minded.

I agree with your idea however, I would then want to see him and Osborne and Cameron working very closely together at the very top of government. I think Osborne is one of the quiet strategy brains of the outfit and he should be either Chancellor or Home Secretary. Or perhaps, Ken can have an extraordinary appointment to work alongside Osborne - for sure the mess is so big it will take one economic brain to sort it out and another to keep the strategy flowing along. Both are excellent men in every sense of the word. And, yes, it would also be nice if Ken would restore some commonsense and de-regulation to our country.

We are in extraordinary times which calls for extraordinary measures. I think whatever the decision, neither of these men should feel demoted or offended - they are both equally good in different ways and we will, in my opinion, need them both.

Michael said...

Why stop with Clarke? Lets have Douglas (Yugoslav mess) Hurd as Foreign Secretary and Michael (destroy the military) Heseltine.

The 3 men who gave us the 1997 disaster.

Adrian P said...

Wasn't it Clarke who said he looks forward to the day when Bruiitain is Just a Minor Council of the EU.

Adrian P said...

Do you think he might stop Printing Interest bearing Gilts, that are bought up by the Global Elite Banks and Instead simply allow the Crown to Issue the money it needs into the economy free of charge.
It would save us Hundereds of Billions in Govt Loans plus the interest from the Global Banks which enslave us.

Not a chance, he is part of this scam.

They are all front men for the Global Elite MoneLenders.

Ask your self, All things being equal, due prudence etc, why, when Govt needs money, does it Print Gilts instead of the Money it needs and issue that into the economy.

Anonymous said...

This is an idea of such blinding stupidity that it casts grave doubts over your judgement. Thank God you are just a commentator rather than someone with influence in our party. More in this vein and you will become known as the Lembit Opik of the Tories.

Ron Todd said...

Anybody that makes a living selling tobaco to people in the third world who don't know better has suspect morals and should not be trusted in government.

confused said...

Does anyone know why Osborne is the Shadow Chancellor?

mirtha tidville said...

Best place for Clarke,is where he is now.....on the outside looking in...

judith said...

This is quite ridiculous on so many levels:

Clarke is a big reminder of our failure in 97;

If you had heard him at the hustings for the leadership contests,(as I did), you would know the only thing he is full of is hot air;

You would also know he is only interested in being top-dog;

And good heavens, how old will he be in 2010? we need to be looking forward, not back.

Big Jeff said...

Clarke played into Labour hands before - remember 26 tory tax rises and 5 new taxes? and the hated fuel escalator?

the only way we came out of the recession the last time was because he taxed the hell out of us to cover for the ERM fiasco, and helped to lose the '97 election as a result.

Problem now is that we are paying waaaaaaaay more tax thanks to Brown. No taste for either Clarke's or Brown's medicine.

Both the overtaxing fools can fade into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Ken Clarke in the government would perhaps the one single thing that would turn me from a reall supported to actively voting against them. I can't believe you'd suggest this!

sidsid said...

Why do we want another Bilderburger?

Cardinal del Monte said...

Kenneth Clarke - merchant of death and europhile?

Cameron isn't so sure of winning the next general election that he could afford to handicap himself with that old rascal.

John Pickworth said...

I believe Ken Clarke was a brilliant Chancellor who managed to put the iron back into the roll.

However I feel his time has gone... he'd have been an inspired Shadow against Brown's Chancellor (I doubt anyone would believe Brown was such a great Chancellor if he had).

George Osborne needs to stay... he conducted himself very well on Newsnight the other day when he resisted the mob's blaming the current troubles on 'short selling'.

A smart move though... get Ken back as an advisor or even as a Treasury Minister. He still has much to offer, I think Osborne could learn much from him.

British Patriot said...

Why is Osborne shadow chancellor ?

Well, if Labour fail, the Bilderbergers have Cameron waiting in the wings to shuffle us into the EUSSR.

Osborne is himself a recent Bilderberg attendee, as is Brown and Cameron.

These One Worlders are not leaving anything to chance.

The word StEUffed Springs to mind.

Brian Stewart said...

I like Ken Clarke but...

You don't have to be a hard-line Euro-sceptic to realise that he will open up a massive chasm in the party over Europe. We can do without that. It is no good some people saying here that it is the hard-right on Europe who will cause trouble: you have to face the fact that, on Europe, Ken Clarke is on the hard LEFT of the Tory Party. It wasn't just sleaze that did for us in 1997: division over Europe was another issue, and it would be insane to re-open those wounds.

And, as a couple of others have already done, I must disagree with the suggestion that Ken Clarke got the country out of recession in the '90s. Essentially, it was the re-assertion of conservative (note the small 'c') economic policy in 1992 (16 years before - to the day, I think - Lloyds and HBOS merged) and Norman Lamont's stewardship of the economy that pulled us out of the mire of the fixed exchange rates and (then embryonic) single currency at which altar Ken Clarke worships.

As someone once said, in a not too different context: NO, NO, NO!

tapestry said...

If Ken Clarke had had his way Britain would have been in the Euro way back when. Thank God he failed to get his way.

It was the refreeing of Britain's economy from the ERM under Lamont that set us on the path of sustained growth - nothing to do with KC.

KC can talk the hind leg off a donkey but has the financial and political acumen of a lump of lard.

Redwood is way ahead. Osborne is doing well and learning from Redwood's ideas.

Dale as usual cannot tell his arse from his elbow when it comes the reality of people, rather than their image and past associations.

Writes a mean blog mind...

Guanabat said...

Thanks for pointing out something I've been saying for over a decade now.Kenneth Clarke not Jocky sorted out the economy post 1992. In fact Jocky nearly dropped us back in it straight away.Kens never had proper credit for that.Ive thought mtyself He might be a good choice for no 11 given the problems an incoming government now face. As for His EU position its time the tories learned not to cut themselves to pieces over this.

Anonymous said...

Geoffrey Howe for chancellor.