Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sir George Young should just be the start

As a long-term supporter of Sir George Young (particularly backing him in both Speakership contests as my first choice candidate) I am thrilled to see him back in as a lead player in the Shadow Cabinet. This move tells us a lot about Cameron's leadership.

Cameron can be both loyal and ruthless - he backed Duncan during his PR blunders but then chose his moment to demote - not sack - this very able but misguided Tory MP. But his choice of replacement say more. Young is moderate, experienced and has cross-bench support. A perfect guy to lead the Conservative fightback on expenses but also an interesting choice to face Harman over the dispatch box. Her shrill proclaimations will fall flat against the decent, polite and measured Hampshire MP Sir George.

So what now? Personally I hope Sir George will be the first of a number of long-serving and experienced Tory MPs who are bought back to the service of the country and the party. Cameron won't lose any of his fresh style or reforming zeal by doing this, but he will gain people who really know how to run the country.

In 1997 Tony Blair really lacked key frontbench support who had held government posts in the past and so his Ministers spent a lot of time learning on the job and relying heavily - perhaps too heavily - on the Civil Service. But then Blair's lot were out for 18 years and Cameron has a much deeper pool to choose from. So, will there be another shadow cabinet re-shuffle before the election (I doubt it) or will Cameron simply choose to add some names to his Ministerial ranks after the '10 election.

I note that the number of Ministers will fall next time - we will already have Business Secretary Ken Clarke but I hope there will be jobs for James Arbuthnot, Peter Ainsworth, Iain Duncan Smith, Peter Lilley and Tim Yeo?


Woody662 said...

Not Yeo surely, dreadful character

SD said...

Also plenty of experience in the House of Lords, David Howell, Gillian Shephard, Michael Forsyth, David Trimble and others have all been active in support in some way or another. The red benches may yield a few surprises among Ministers of State even if they don't get full cabinet positions