Saturday, August 14, 2010

Then They Came For Alan Milburn...

First they came for Frank Field. They appointed him "Poverty Czar". I didn't speak up

Then they came for Will Hutton. They appointed him "Work Czar". I didn't speak up.

Then they came for John Hutton. They appointed him "Pensions Czar". I didn't speak up.

Today they came for Alan Milburn. They are about to appoint him "Social Mobility Czar".

Now, I'm going to speak up.

One day they might actually appoint a Conservative. But I'm not holding my breath.

Because by then, it might be a bit late.

In all seriousness, the implication of these appointments is that there are no Conservatives with the capability or talent to carry out these roles. What happens when these four Labour supporters come up with proposals which the Coalition cannot accept?

I suspect we'll soon find out.

A final thought? Perhaps they should go the whole hog and appoint Bob Ainsworth as a "Defence Czar"...

42 comments:

Cogito Dexter said...

It's called "keeping the left wing Lib Dems happy" surely?

richard.blogger said...

Iain, I think you missed the point. You may not be happy with these appointments, but Labour supporters were also unhappy with Field, Hutton and Milburn given positions in a Labour government for exactly the same reason. They are not true Labour supporters, and you are welcome to do what you want with them.

Bardirect said...

The Labour leader candidates are setting agendas they had the power to implement (sans Abbott) which they avoided in Government. This lot have been given the chance to bury the New Labour "legacy" and a further chance to rehabilitate their place in history.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

trevorsden said...

Yes but when Brown was trying this everyone thought it was terribly clever and it was the end of the Conservative party as we knew it.

John Hutton had at least the good grace to resign as defence secretary (and he did know a bit about defence) when he realised he could not get our troops the support their actions needed.

I do not have a problem with Fields appointment. But we must ask what these 'czars' will achieve. Will they actually come up with something sensible that is achievable or will they just blow their own trumpet.

Given that the problems being addressed here are in fact totally intractable perhaps its best not to appoint a conservative.

Tim Johnson said...

What about Gordon Brown as Economy czar? What a record of achievement!

Houdini said...

In all seriousness, the implication of these appointments is that there are no Conservatives with the capability or talent to carry out these roles.

You're suggesting that any of these, bar Fields, has talent or capability?

None of them were anything but failed pocket liners and self aggrandising, only bailing out when the ship finally started to sink.

As for Milburn...I know who he is, and why his wife demanded he give up his ministerial post, and the threats she made to expose him to the media.

Fausty said...

Iain, we're in a "post-democratic" era, according to Mandelsnake.

When was the last time we got the government we voted for?

When was the last time a manifesto pledge was honoured, in its entirety?

Tom said...

Charles Clarke for Loyalty Czar

Battersea Boy said...

More jobs for the boys, eh?

Hardly a day passes without this Government looking more and more like the failed Government it replaced.

The only ones who seems to be trying to make a real difference are Duncan Smith and Pickles, and Cameron seems to be tying Duncan Smith's hands...

Charles said...

Iain,

All of these posts are around welfare in some form or another. All of them individually buy into the IDS-Field thinking that there needs to be radical change.

What Cameron is trying to do is to build cross party support (with, at least, the intelligent part of the left) that the welfare system is broken and needs fixing. It means that there is more chance of embedding IDS's reforms as a permanent part of the system rather than the next government (should Cameron lose, which I don't think he will) just ripping them all up.

Frankly, if it would improve the chances of permanent welfare reform, he could give Ken Livingstone a job for all I care!

(and, p.s., the talented tories are in government, not in advisory roles)

Just Wonderful said...

It's called destroying the opposition by subverting them. As you have said before Iain... Simples!

Smoking Hot said...

Tsar (also spelled czar[1], tzar, szar or csar) is a title used to designate certain monarchs or supreme rulers. The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria.[2] As a system of government, it is known as Tsarism.

The sheer stupidty of using the term czar can only matched by the people bearing such a title and those who gave it.

James Burdett said...

Iain, I think the point is that this is base politics at work. It is about neutralising Labour's opposition by being able to ask "How can you attack us on X, Y and Z when lots of your people are working for us on this?".

Richard Havers said...

Iain, Iain, Iain! Don't be so silly. If you were a member of the parliamentarian's club you too would be called. It's all about belonging.

anne riddle said...

The good ideas these people had were thrown out by Labour, who knows, they may have something to contribute. I always wished Kate Hoey was part of the Tory party.She would be ideal advising Caroline Spellman in Defra.

Paul Linford said...

It's yet one more example of the well-worn tactic of appointing people of the opposing party to quasi-governmental roles in order to cause trouble for the opposing party. The one thing Field, John Hutton and Milburn all have in common is that they were all ardent Blairites who fell out badly with Gordon Brown. By appointing them to these roles Cameron is simply hoping to exacerbate the divisions in Labour's ranks. You are entirely right to question whether such tactical considerations are the best way of selecting people for important public roles.

Dave H said...

Poverty Cszar? Social Mobility Czar?

Isn't this a bit like a Child Safety Paedophile?

Robert said...

'In all seriousness, the implication of these appointments is that there are no Conservatives with the capability or talent to carry out these roles'

We expected a Conservative Prime Minister after the last election and look what we got.

The Conservative Party has been dead for sometime. All politicians are interchangeable as are the parties. As a commentator of the political scene you know this. Why are you so surprised by these appointments?

MikeyP said...

Wavy Davy seems as set on committing political suicide as does Obama!

I am not going to vote Tory again until we get Conservative policies and people in place who are willing to implement them. And do not say the Coalition will break up. Given their state in the opinion polls the Lib Dums would not dare!

trevorsden said...

PS - this is a good post as it clearly exposes the total inadequacy of many out there to rationalise what is happening. On the contrary it allows people top voice and pander to their deep rooted ignorance and prejudices.

(Baron) Hutton for instance is not a 'failed pocket liner' or 'self aggrandising'.
He is currently Chairman of the United Services Institute. He did of course predict that Brown would be a, errr... total disaster. So I do think we can say he will bring a sense of realism to his task.

And I do not think it is a question of there being no 'conservatives' capable, rather for these sorts of posts it demonstrated that the government are looking to people who might be considered not beholden to conservative dogma, people who the public (remember them, the public - they would be those awkward people who do not carry the same chip as we do on our shoulders) would be willing to listen to.

Valleys Mam said...

They are labour rejects arent they
Its a chancey strategy but will shut up quite a few labourites and possibly give cameron a PR fall back if it all goes pear shaped

Mummylonglegs said...

That's real funny Iain, taking a quote that was based around the dramatic reduction of civil liberties by politicians and using it to bitch about said politicians getting all the good jobs

You are sooooooooooo funny.

Not.

Only a failed politician could find this post even remotely funny. I suspect this is why you are a failed politician. Because you spend more time talking and moaning about those that 'made the grade' than actually speaking to those that voted for them.

Weygand said...

No this is shrewd politics.

The result of each initiative is fairly predictable from the outset, because it is dictated by the financial situation and or failure of previous policies.

As there is only one answer, and especially as it is an unpopular one, it makes sense to have it proposed from someone outside the coalition. Such authorship strengthens the legitimacy of the new policy and protects it it from the hypocritical, opportunistic attacks from unprincipled opponents. (Just look at Prezza choking on his muesli)

Goodwin said...

I seem to recall posting months ago that Dave wasn't a conservative so I don't know why you should be surprised by this latest development. Strictly speaking true conservatives were disenfranchised at the last election.

Gallimaufry said...

How about appointing Sir Andrew Green as Immigration Tsar? Or would that give the people what we want instead of what we're given?

Salmondnet said...

Perhaps they will appoint a Conservative Czar Czar (ideally named Gabor) to co-ordinate all the others.

Matt said...

Gordon Brown said he would have a government that was "made up of all the talents" "IE, cross party."

David Cameron said he would have a government that was "made up of all the talents" "IE, cross party."

The difference is that Gordon Brown was a liar, David Cameron has done what he said he would.

That is the difference between the two governments.

Roger Thornhill said...

I have long said Milburn is one to watch and was keeping his powder dry.

This new Development to me suggests the chances of Milburn triggering the formation of a "pukka" SocDem party has now increased.

Labour is at risk of Fission, especially if the Socialists get stronger. Deserters will gather around big beasts with power and this could upset the dynamic as the LibDem brand under Clegg continues to corrode.

DespairingLiberal said...

They are smokescreen appointments, designed to deflect attention from the worst aspects of the cuts programme. Cameron and Clegg can point to them and pose as Big Tent national partyists. Field and Hutton et al should no better, but I guess ego trumps common sense.

Anyone with any doubts about the true politics of the new "government" need only read the newspapers. Some recent highlights. Re-introducing badger culls. Allowing whale killing to resume. Selling off nature reserves to developers. Abandoning third-world aid for things like fresh water and education to the poorest countries. Selling off the Met Office so that climate change research will stop.

The Green Government. I have to ask LibDems - is AV really worth this much??

norman said...

Alan Milburn is busy now helping the campaign of another Brit-sorry Aussie Labour PM: Julia Gillard whilst another London born Tony Abbott, the conservative is opposing her. PM Cameron is following President Johnson's advice of having these- Hutton, Field, Milburn and may be even Brown in the tent p*****g out!! If bananaman Miliband wins,this should be a good move to shut him up.

George Laird said...

Dear Iain

It makes a mockery of voting Tory when the big social changes are getting still done by Labour.

Vote Tory get Labour.

Cameron is setting himself up for a fall in PR terms if Labour MPS bring in successful ideas.

You could argue these appointments show that Tories know nothing of any real interest about the poor and disadvantaged.

And if this isn't addressed they will lose the next election as things swing back to English Labour.

There is talk of Blunkett having a role in the Centre for Social Justice.

Bad calls by Cameron.

He really is a lightweight.

Cameron gets right wing Labour to load the guns but he has to pull the trigger.

And that is what the jury of the poor will be looking at, who pulled the trigger to make their lives even more hellish.

Bullingdon Boy Cameron.

His mitigation at the 2015 General election is naive.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Charlotte Corday said...

The words you quote were originally written about the Holocaust. I feel that using them to refer to cross-party appointments trivialises them.

Irene said...

I think the Coalition is playing a blinder!

Prescott and Burnham's remarks are pathetic

Burnham said "sometimes in politics people have to choose which party stands for true social mobility"

Looks like they have chosen!

dazmando said...

Dont see a problem with it myself see
Labour MP advising the coalition

I dont think all the best MP's are Tories perhaps its a good thing to have advice from some people with experience

norman said...

@George Laird: Spoken like Gorbals Mick!

David Lindsay said...

Frank Field and Iain Duncan Smith suit each other rather well, because IDS is not at all as he is generally presented as being. Alan "Haze of Dope" Milburn, however, is. That is why he fits so well with the Cameron Project, as does John Hutton, and as would the vile James Purnell, on whom keep an eye.

This may be the Government of withdrawal from Afghanistan. Of the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings. Of taking the working poor out of income tax. Of the abandonment of identity cards. Of electoral reform. Of an inquiry into its predecessor's complicity in torture. Of the dismantlement of the surveillance state. Of a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country. Of the removal of advertisement for prostitution from Job Centres. Of David Cameron's acceptance of the principle of the maximum multiple. Of Iain Duncan Smith's acceptance of the principle of a minimum income guaranteed universally by the State. Of the expansion of nuclear power. Of the fact that one coalition partner really did oppose the Iraq War while the other at least has the decency to pretend that it did so. And of the pursuit of bilateral ties with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the United Arab Emirates in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally, among others.

But this is still a Blairite continuity government, using the present economic travails to impose savage cuts in jobs and services, to remove security of tenure from social housing tenants, to introduce "free" schools, to sell off of our GP services to American healthcare companies, to engage private companies at public expense in order to persecute supposed benefit cheats, to create for-profit universities, to privatise the Royal Mail, to destroy the BBC, to abolish all three Armed Forces by "merging" them under American command, and so on. These agenda are no more popular among Conservative voters in the country at large than they are with anyone else. They are, and have been for half a generation, the agenda of Tony Blair and David Miliband.

David Lindsay said...

Frank Field and Iain Duncan Smith suit each other rather well, because IDS is not at all as he is generally presented as being. Alan "Haze of Dope" Milburn, however, is. That is why he fits so well with the Cameron Project, as does John Hutton, and as would the vile James Purnell, on whom keep an eye.

This may be the Government of withdrawal from Afghanistan. Of the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings. Of taking the working poor out of income tax. Of the abandonment of identity cards. Of electoral reform. Of an inquiry into its predecessor's complicity in torture. Of the dismantlement of the surveillance state. Of a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country. Of the removal of advertisement for prostitution from Job Centres. Of David Cameron's acceptance of the principle of the maximum multiple. Of Iain Duncan Smith's acceptance of the principle of a minimum income guaranteed universally by the State. Of the expansion of nuclear power. Of the fact that one coalition partner really did oppose the Iraq War while the other at least has the decency to pretend that it did so. And of the pursuit of bilateral ties with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the United Arab Emirates in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally, among others.

But this is still a Blairite continuity government, using the present economic travails to impose savage cuts in jobs and services, to remove security of tenure from social housing tenants, to introduce "free" schools, to sell off of our GP services to American healthcare companies, to engage private companies at public expense in order to persecute supposed benefit cheats, to create for-profit universities, to privatise the Royal Mail, to destroy the BBC, to abolish all three Armed Forces by "merging" them under American command, and so on. These agenda are no more popular among Conservative voters in the country at large than they are with anyone else. They are, and have been for half a generation, the agenda of Tony Blair and David Miliband.

David Lindsay said...

Frank Field and Iain Duncan Smith suit each other rather well, because IDS is not at all as he is generally presented as being. Alan "Haze of Dope" Milburn, however, is. That is why he fits so well with the Cameron Project, as does John Hutton, and as would the vile James Purnell, on whom keep an eye.

This may be the Government of withdrawal from Afghanistan. Of the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings. Of taking the working poor out of income tax. Of the abandonment of identity cards. Of electoral reform. Of an inquiry into its predecessor's complicity in torture. Of the dismantlement of the surveillance state. Of a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country. Of the removal of advertisement for prostitution from Job Centres. Of David Cameron's acceptance of the principle of the maximum multiple. Of Iain Duncan Smith's acceptance of the principle of a minimum income guaranteed universally by the State. Of the expansion of nuclear power. Of the fact that one coalition partner really did oppose the Iraq War while the other at least has the decency to pretend that it did so. And of the pursuit of bilateral ties with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the United Arab Emirates in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally, among others.

But this is still a Blairite continuity government, using the present economic travails to impose savage cuts in jobs and services, to remove security of tenure from social housing tenants, to introduce "free" schools, to sell off of our GP services to American healthcare companies, to engage private companies at public expense in order to persecute supposed benefit cheats, to create for-profit universities, to privatise the Royal Mail, to destroy the BBC, to abolish all three Armed Forces by "merging" them under American command, and so on. These agenda are no more popular among Conservative voters in the country at large than they are with anyone else. They are, and have been for half a generation, the agenda of Tony Blair and David Miliband.

George Laird said...

Dear Norman

Thank you for your support that someone like me could go to Westminster.

As to 'Gorbals Mick', you quote Quentin Letts, the unfunny fatman of the middle classes.

Michael Martin 'represented' the Springburn area of Glasgow, wrong side of the river dear boy.

And he was an unfunny little fatman with limited intelligence too boot.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

DeeDee99 said...

Let's face it, Cameron isn't a Conservative. He told us what he was several years ago .... the heir to Blair.... and now he's busy proving it. He is just another socialist-light, left of centre politician who has used his Party to gain power. It remains to be seen if his relationship with the truth is as weak as Blair's.

Victor, NW Kent said...

It can be no more than an effort to collect and mount trophies on the wall as Brown did with his disastrous GOATS.

We elected over 300 Conservative MPs. There are god knows how many Conservative Peers - not all of whom are accused of expenses fraud. Apart from that there are scads of right-wingish people who would love to have such self-important jobs.

I an totally and ineradicably opposed to these Dannatt moments.

alastair said...

OTT Iain