Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Top Ten Tory Unsung Heroes

A junior front bench role in Opposition is about the most thankless task in British politics. You slave away doing all the donkey work and then if you have a really good policy idea or photo op your Shadow Secretary of State usually intercedes and nicks it for him or herself on the basis that you won't generate the media coverage. And if it's a really, really good idea in will step David Cameron and take it over. You sit on the side of the stage clapping like a seal thinking to yourself 'what more do I have to do to replace those dunderheads in the Shadow Cabinet?' I jest and exaggerate, but you get the picture. In this post I want to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the Tory front bench - the worker bees who bring honey to the 'Queen' but don't necessarily get the thanks or recognition they deserve. In no particular order...

Richard Spring
Has worked like a beaver behind the scenes to improve the standing of the Conservative Party in the City - and he writes an excellent blog too.

John Randall
Been in the whips office for years and has the rare distinction of being liked by everyone. Enjoys good relations with Labour MPs and whips and is vital in making the 'usual channels work.

Mark Prisk
Covers the small business portfolio. Is working wonders developing a business friendly platform for the party and building bridges with the small business community.

Hugh Robertson
Covers sport and the olympics. Quiet in approach but highly effective. Seen by some as a future chief whip.

Charles Hendry
Has beavered away as number two to various Shadow Secretaries for some years. Was superb in the equalities portfolio and has made his mark in the business area, especially on post office closures.

Simon Burns
After a long spell at Health, were he was jokingly known as the Shadow Minister for Sex, Burns has moved back to the whips office. An obsessive Hillary Clinton supporter, but we must forgive him that one defect.

James Paice
Has been the party's agriculture spokesman for more years than he may care to remember. Trusted by the farming community he would make a superb Agriculture Minister.

Alistair Burt
Recently moved back to the whips office to take on a much needed developmental role. Has a wicked sense of humour and served the party well as local government spokesman.

Edward Garnier
Spent several years covering Home affairs issues under David Davis and is now responsible for prisons policy. One of politics' genuine nice guys who throws himself totally in whatever portfolio he covers.

Eleanor Laing
Covers womens' issues but IMHO she is wasted in that job. She's a talented communicator and ought to be fronting a serious policy portfolio. She was an excellent SPAD to John MacGregor when he was Transport Secretary.


Anonymous said...

Hugh Robertson for Chief Whip? Maybe....but not until after he's been Olympics Minister after the next election to rescue the Games from the wretched incompetent complacent useless clutches of Jowell.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Pity we do not see and hear more of them ,replacing Duncan on Question time perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Eleanor Laing

Covers womens' issues but IMHO she is wasted in that job. She's a talented communicator and ought to be fronting a SERIOUS policy portfolio. (my caps)

My God Iain, you believe in living dangerously! Methinks you've been spending too much time with 'Disgusted Tonbridge Wells'. As my mother would have said "You've got in with the wrong set."

Anonymous said...

As readers of CH will also know, I have always been a champion of Peter Viggers (Gosport) on Defence issues. Perhaps a little old now for a front bench role but has a huge amount of knowledge and campaign experience in that area.

Maybe not "One To Watch" for the future but definitely "Unsung Hero" and I make no apology for my continued support. Grab his knowledge whilst he's still in the HoC.

Anonymous said...

9 old white men

Anonymous said...

Mostly right but Spring is very lazy. Ask anybody in the know at westminster

The Remittance Man said...

With all due respect to Mr Randall but isn't "making the usual channels work" part of the problem with politics today?

Anonymous said...

Hasn't Mark Prisk got the thankless job of sorting out the incompetence of Cornwalls Conservative Politics. I thought he was the Minister for Cornish Affairs and told to hold the hands of that lot down there by Dave Cameron.

Richard said...

I still fail to see why modern political parties have created a ministerial post looking after women's issues. Why the need for such affirmative action? Can women not achieve things on their own terms without artificial help? From all-women shortlists to dedicated positions just looking after women's issues, it strikes me as an affront to equality.

I think the position of Minister of State for Men's Issues would create an outcry, much like a White History Month to rival the recently-announced Black History Month.

On the topic of unsung Tory heroes, Tobias Ellwood MP does a good job in highlighting pertinent issues relating to national security, the military and British operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also works hard in his capacity as a shadow minister for licensing, gambling and tourism.

Anonymous said...

"Trusted by the farming community"

Sounds like the last person we need there, if we're actually going to wean them off their ridiculous subsidies.