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I noticed the article this morning. Like the mention of ConservativeHome. George Osborne is clearly over his head in Shadow Chancellor and needs to be moved somewhere else. Hague would be welcome in that position but I dont like the idea hes going to be a person on the right having to speak the language of the left. Its fake and Im sure Hague might not appreciate it. We need people with experience in the big posts, thats for sure.

Whilst having a balance of people, there also needs to be a balance of policies.

Squeaky Boy George is not up to the job of credibly taking on Gordon.

The political destruction of Gordon Brown is the primary mission of the Conservative party between now and election day.

Can it be put any plainer?

Osbourne should have been shifted to something like Education or Health from the start. The ideal top 3 would have been Hague-shadow chancellor, Davis-Home affairs and Fox to have remained shadow foreign affairs. I think it's now time Cameron let Davis loose on crime and organised a few joint press conferences. I've spent the last week campiagning in a council by election where we failed to change the vote massively from last election. I can't help feeling that going from one extreme of never mentioning 'fluffy bunny' issues to one of not mentioning core issues has not helped us.

According to Vince Cable, he's been offered a place in the Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron.

Vince also thinks the LibDems are a real alternative government and on Fridays he dresses as the Queen of Sheba.

Yes I agree with Guido and would treat Cables comments with extreme caution.

"on Fridays he dresses as the Queen of Sheba"

I thought that was a former colleague of Cable's on the Liberal Democrat front bench?

I think Cameron knows that Osbourne (who also knows) that he dosn't look or sound like a good economist.

Hague absoutely, we all trust him, left and right.

My God I hope this speculation is true. I've always thought from the off that Osborne was out of his depth.

I think Hague rules, and I know he's really popular amost the conservative party as a whole, but I don't think amongst the nation as a whole he's taken that seriously. I don't think going into the next election you want him in a high profile position like shadow chancellor.

People just need to sit tight for now, Conservatives have got 4 years to build up a reputation pretty much from scratch. Labour aren't looking that clever and surely will only get worse in popularity terms before the next election, Lib Dems will probably also fall off, I don't really see the need for a reshuffle, sends out the wrong signals.

I think Hague would be taken more seriously than Osbourne wicks.

I don't understand this love affair with Hague. He was a disaster as leader and has done very little in his current role.

George Osborne is, to me, a rising star and should stay put. Outlasting another Shadow Chancellor would give Brown a monumental boost right at the time he needs it.

He's done little in his current role because foreign affairs is a restricting role for someone with such great talents as Hague, especially compared to Osbourne.

Osborne everyone, Osborne.

How about re-shuffling Osborne as soon as Brown becomes PM? Although that dependent entirely on when Blair either stands down or forced out.

Michael Gove (who is winning 22% of the 'Who is the most impressive new Tory MP poll?' on Iain Dale's blog)

And that poll is worthless, because it has pre-selected those MPs for which we can vote. My own MP, Geoffrey Cox, has worked tirelessly for his community and was short-listed for House Magazine's Maiden Speech of the Year Award.

Despite this, there's no option to cast a vote for him, as the intake has been slimmed down by unknown means, yet still contains anoyone who made the front bench, no matter how derisory their talents appear to be.

And yes, I'm thinking of Theresa Villiers.

In my opinion, Goeroge Osborne is not up to taking in Gordon Brown. On the showing of tonight's "Question Time", he's also not up to dealing with Vince Cable and Charles Clarke (witness how he fluffed the "should violent criminals be kept in prison" question).

That said, I'm far from enthusiastic about William Hague. He's a fun speaker, but he's done nothing to distinguish himself in his current role - despite ample opportunity.

Hague at Treasury, Fox at foreign office - as it should have been.

It was Fox's idea to get us out the EPP, so he would be best suited, and more enthusiastic, at getting the job done. put Boy George at defence, keeps him quiet and out of the way.

Agreed James. I admire Hague a lot and have a lot of respect for him, however what has his great impact been as Shadow Foreign Secretary? Apart from his standing in at PMQs he's hardly been in the public eye at all. Perhaps I'm being unduly critical, though as for him moving to Shadow Chancellor, will he want to before he's finished his Wilberforce book?

On another note, I take it most people have seen that dreadfull YouGov poll?

I missed it but I should have agreed with James about my MP too. How dare Iain Dale leave him off the list! ;-)

BTW - Your link doesn't appear to work James.

Go to: http://www.geoffreycox.co.uk/

As the NHS is in such a mess, why on earth dont we have a proper Doctor as shadow health? ie Dr. Fox. One time GP who surely knows where all the bodies are buried so to speak.

I would guess at the moment most people are more or less neutral about Osbourne. He's pretty inoffensive really.

Interest declaration: Former Fox media spokesman.

How's about:

Treasury: Hague
Home: Davis
Foreign: Fox
Defence: Howarth
Party chairman: Osborne

The boot: Maode


"I don't understand this love affair with Hague. He was a disaster as leader and has done very little in his current role."

Hague is highly intelligent and would probably best Brown in the Commons. If the latest Question Time is anything to go by Osbourne doesn't even know which part of the country he's from. OK so it might be a simple mistake anyone could make while under pressure but we expect more from a future government minister.

No Voice from the South West, I have not seen the poll. Care to enlighten?

Telegraph/YouGov Poll :

Lab 35% -1

Con 33% -3

Lib Dem 17% -1

Others 15% (BNP 7%) +5

The high BNP number does however make me very sceptical.

I quite agree Annabel, I have thought that for some time.

George Osborne came across quite well on Question Time, but nobody knows yet when the next General Election will be and surely it would be a good idea to get the two heavy weights David Davis and William Hague into positions that will have greater impact, soon?

I think William Hague is taken much more seriously now by many more people, since his discussion with Tony Benn, and becoming known as a writer as well as a politician.

The high BNP number is probably just people raising two fingers to the government. However, bearing in mind the biggest drop is from the Tories it would seem that they and not Labour are losing out to them.

By the way, can you give a link to that poll?

Replacing Osborne with Hague would be a desperately poor decision. Osborne came to the LSE to speak and was very impressive with a good grasp of the issues underlying economic competitiveness. By contrast, Hague appears to be following his earlier trend of being a solid performer when not facing sustained public scrutiny.

All of these fears of Osborne the Keynesian are absurd. Stability ahead of tax cuts was Herbert Hoover's policy choice for Christ's sake.


Hague and Osborne swapping roles seems a very sensible idea to me. Should have been done that way in the first place in my view.

YouGov overrated UKIP as well. The pollster does have form in overegging minor parties.

And yes, yes, yes! Dominic Grieve (who happens to be my own MP, to declare my interest) certainly deserves a full Shadow Cabinet job!

YouGov have a very accurate track record, Matthew, on election predictions. They captured UKIP's 2004 surge before anyone else although, yes, there is some debate as to whether their polls - and the reporting of them - then helped to increase UKIP's momentum and, perhaps, even overstated it.

On the subject of the YouGov poll itself, am I the only one having difficulty accepting the accuracy of a survey that shows such an incredible leap in support for the BNP which, I am told, polled less than 1% in the last one? This looks like a rogue to me.

Nice to have you back on the site, Alastair!

"Stability ahead of tax cuts was Herbert Hoover's policy choice for Christ's sake."

That was after significant tax cuts earlier in the 1920s. And Hoover exacerbated the Great Depression by implementing Keynesian-ish policies.

Happy to be back, Tim.

Speaking of that Question Time episode, I wish Janet Daley was in the shadow cabinet. She speaks much more sense than any of our politicians. And she makes right-wing seem reasonable and moderate without watering it down or apologising.

http://www.mises.org/rothbard/agd.pdf - for a good account of where Hoover went wrong.

"And she makes right-wing seem reasonable and moderate without watering it down or apologising."

Pity about her views on the monarchy though.

Janet Daley, reasonable? She wants to abolish the Monarchy, for heaven's sake!

"Pity about her views on the monarchy though."

Yes that's a shame, but she's hardly a belligerent anti-monarchist.

Quoting Rothbard doesn't exactly fill me with confidence. Hoover's main policy problem was a continued tie to the Gold Standard. Rothbard's analysis that the crash came from an irrational stock market is in accordance with the Keynesian view and has been thoroughly challenged by McGrattan & Prescott and Nicholas in recent studies and Friedman & Schwarz earlier. Bernanke is also very good on the Crash.

Calling Hoover Keynesian suggests that you are a very scary man and, hence, I may run away from this argument. Hoover was explicitly against an expansionary fiscal policy and was criticised for this by Keynes among others. His response to the Crash was a fiscally conservative drive to return the budget to balance. That he had cut taxes earlier, when the fiscal position was better, is of little consequence in a discussion of whether stability before tax cuts is left wing.

"Rothbard's analysis that the crash came from an irrational stock market is in accordance with the Keynesian view"

Rothbard put the Depression down to the result of excessive credit creation that had to culminate in a retraction - the so-called "Austrian theory of the business cycle".

"Calling Hoover Keynesian suggests that you are a very scary man and, hence, I may run away from this argument."

Apologies, I should have said interventionist. I was being lazy. The free-market argument would be to decrease spending rather than raise taxes.

Like everyone else, I think extremely highly of William Hague and am starting to work with him in regard to the new Conservative Party Human Rights Commission - www.conservativehumanrights.com I think he is excellent, and would not want a change so soon - he's only been there a few months. However, if at some point there were to be a change of Shadow Foreign Secretary, I would really want to have Liam Fox back in the post. He initiated the Human Rights Commission and is passionately committed to the freedom agenda!

Dominic Grieve is very good in his role; Osborne is terrible; Lansley is lazy and should be replaced by Fox.

Rothbard put the Depression down to the result of excessive credit creation that had to culminate in a retraction - the so-called "Austrian theory of the business cycle".

Look up Benjamin Strong, Governor of the Federal Reserve and check his policies which were reversed after his sudden death in 1928

And Hoover exacerbated the Great Depression by implementing Keynesian-ish policies.

What exactly is "Keynesian-ish" ? You mean he had read The Treatise on Money ?

It could hardly be The General Theory as it had not been published in Hoover's Period. You might want to check Hoover's background and the huge efforts on Food relief in Europe Post-WWI - especially in Poland where there are statues to him.

With the Kahn Multiplier the Keynesian General Theory could not be developed. I think you will find that US economic policy was affected by the repayment of War Loans by Britain and possibly France - this influx into the Us system should have been sterilised by added to DCE.

The low-interest rate policy favoured by Benjamin Strong to help European countries recover led to excessive DCE in the US economy which the death of Strong in 1928 allowed the Fed to reverse rather suddenly leading to a credit squeeze in a country where margin calls can be perilous

The Us was a huge creditor nation without the burdens of huge debt carried by the Europeans - it went through a normal credit expansion associated with capital inflows just as today it lives beyond its means by importing foreign capital - the difference is that today it has a huge trade deficit because it does not have the import controls it had in the 1920s.

Back on thread (gave up worrying about economics when I left the LSE)
I agree with Voice from South West on leaving Osborne in place until after Blair goes - the economy isn't a key issue at present (though it should be) and George is OK while not yet very good.

James Hellyer is right in his critism of Hague - Foreign Affairs (Darfur, Iran, Iraq, EU) are issues and Hague is nearly invisible; compare & contrast with Robin Cook before 1997.

The editor identified need for a Willie Whitelaw figure but from the Right to balance the modernisers. I think this should be Dr Fox, who demonstrated in his leadership bid that unlike Davis he had what it takes. I'd personally prefer Fox to Hague but Fox needs a meaty front bench role and something like a deputy leadership.

Davis has been a disappointment particularly on the way he handled ID cards. Dominic Grieve is much more impressive and I'd like to see him given a larger role.

Its important that we reflect the change agenda - having Hague, & Davis in two of the three senior roles will look very much like a reversal to "core" issues and confirm the perception that while the Leader has changed the party remains the same (and I know that there are many on this blog that would like that).

Where we need strong, well prepared people is in Education & Health - those are the important issues we need to make the criticisms & put forward alternatives. Gordon has given us a good guide to his priorities - education, third world, constitutional affairs and we need to be prepared to take him on there.

Yes, I agree that Hague should definitely take over as shadow chancellor, also agree about the desirability of promoting Grieve and Fox, and demoting Lansley (still not even registering on the radar) and possibly Willetts, who is better as a thinker than a fighter and should be put in charge of Policy Coordination (give Letwin environment). Don't care what happens to Osborne or Maude. If they can coax Rifkind back they should do so, add a bit of substance to the team, perhaps at health or education (with the deputy leadership thrown in as an additional incentive to get him to make himself useful again).

I really admire William Hague and would love having him as the Shadow Chancellor but I am afraid he will decline the offer due to his Out-Of-Westminster activities.

Im thinking I speak for most readers here when I say Maude should go. He has the lowest net satisfaction rating of all.

My concern would be if the EPP withdrawal issue is not delivered before the reshuffle it will just enable further, and further delays.

As much as I admire Hague, it would seem that his only real task since taking on the role has been EPP withdrawal, and we need to clear update on his progress.

Roger Helmer initially was sure the EPP withdrawal would have been in 2005, then in his interview on ToryRadio he hoped it would be by the middle of this year.

We are getting very close to the middle of the year now, so Hague should be delivering at least a firm timetable before switching roles.

Come on William, show us what you have actually achieved.

Agree, James! While there's a reason for Osborne to stay on the front bench as he represents 'the face of change', I don't see that reason for Mr.Maude. He spoilt too many things and he should go!

ConservativeHome reports unhelpful comments reported in The Sun's Whip who report unhelpful surveys created by ConservativeHome in the first place!

Ever decreasing circles of negative publicity and lazy journalism for the Conservative Party...how helpful!

There's a strategic tension developing, which will need to be sorted out at some point. Clearly the current plan is to focus on establishing DC in the public consciousness - hence the re-branding of the party as "Cameron's Conservatives". General elections have a significant quasi-presidential element to them, & so this is a necessary objective.

However, we also need to establish the whole party as a government in waiting. That will mean ensuring that we have credible figures throughout the Shadow Cabinet, who look as if they can form a genuine cabinet. That doesn't just mean getting the right people into the right jobs. It also means, that, once we have introduced our new leader, we need actively to develop a strategy to establish the senior members of the Shadow Cabinet as effective and recognised figures. However good they are, it will be to no avail if the Party's machine reserves all its efforts for promoting the leader.

We haven't managed to get this right since 1997. Very few new Conservatives have emerged as recognised national political heavyweights since then. Other than our various party leaders, which Conservatives are household names now, who were not household names in 1997? And how many of those have become well-known as impressive and compelling political figures, rather than for more negative reasons?

When Labour won in 1997, it wasn't just Blair who was a well-known figure. Cook, Brown, Straw, Dobson & Donald Dewar (and others too probably) all had substantial personal profiles.

Come the next election, the electorate will need to know who Cameron's Conservatives are - not just who Cameron is. It will be a mark of DC's confidence and authority if he ensures that the party devotes some resources to establishing his Shadow team in the public mind.

Sack Davis, Lansley and Fox and bring in some of the impressive younger members like Justin Greening, Ed Vesey and Michael Cove and give them plenty of time in there jobs before the next election.
Personally I would leave Osborne where he is as given time he as the talent to do well and replace Davis with Hauge at Home Affairs. Hauge as far more talent than Davis and people would trst him far more.
Lansley is useless and I would replace him with Ed vesey who is very impressive on t.v.
Fox was useless at health, useless as party chairman and asn`t improved at Defence. With Iraq and Afganistan Fox should be at the forefront of debate not act as if he as done a Paul Daniels disappearing trick!

Jack, so basically take our big hitters out and put in amateurs who dont have the experience? Davis will not get moved out. Hes a safe pair of hands in Home Affairs.

The reason why Fox hasnt had such prominence is because Hague has done the talking for him. If Hague hasnt done it Cameron has. Fox hasnt had a word in edgeways.

Look, let's all hold hands and agree to the following:

"We, the hugging members of 'Cameron's Conservatives', do hereby agree that we are genuinely surprised that withdrawal from the EPP has been announced following the local election results. We absolutely and 100% accept that this has happened now simply because that was the length of time it took to implement this simple, straightforward, one lie, er, line pledge. And we in no way accept the seditious rumour that our cynical poppet of a Leader kept back this solitary, meagre bone to throw to a disenchanted Party after pisspoor election results".


Well, Cameron did get his photo op. Him grinning, like some kid in a candystore, with a white dog....altogether now...ahhhh! Is he saying a white dog can make things better...damn, this chocolate Labrador's useless!

The point is, Jack, that defence policy doesn't exist in a vacuum; it's shaped by our foreign policy. That's why you hear much more from Blair & Straw on Iraq or Athganistan, or indeed Bush & Rice, than you do from Reid & Rumsfeld. The same is true for us.

Fox touched on this in a recent Spectator interview (covered on this site - see the Defence section):

"Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tories have proposed cutting defence spending: Fox wants to either reverse this trend, or to pull out troops. “Britain can no longer avoid this debate,” he says. “If we want to keep doing these kinds of operations, we should pay for it.”

In other words, once we have established what our foreign policy commitments & objectives are, then we can start formulating a defence policy that will enable us to achieve them.

A better quote to illustrate the above comes from a recent Fox speech - also on this site:

"Yet our armed forces have equally never been under such a strain. They
have never been asked to do so much with so little of the national wealth
at their disposal. Therefore there is an urgent debate for this country to
have. Do we reduce our commitments to match the size of our defence
budget or do we increase our defence budget to match our commitments?

Part of the problem is that there is little strategic thinking about our
foreign policy and so our defence policy has constantly to play catch up
to overseas commitments that respond to the latest summit. An ad hoc
foreign policy based on the latest summit communiqué is no basis for a
sound defence policy for the United Kingdom.

Under David Cameron’s leadership William Hague and I are determined
that the Conservatives will have a properly integrated foreign and defence
review so that the size and shape of our armed forces will properly reflect
the strategic interests and defence requirements of this country."

The problem with the Shadow Cabinet so far is that Liam Fox has been in the worst post in the shadow cabinet. Defence is our irrefusable position, it's like Huhne being placed in Environment. You can't turn it down or the grassroots will go ballistic. Yet when you are in the post, you have to be as respectful to the government as to not look unpatriotic in times of military crisis, though i admit there are exceptions to this.

"What exactly is "Keynesian-ish" ? You mean he had read The Treatise on Money ?"

I already apologised for that inaccuracy!

"The point is, Jack, that defence policy doesn't exist in a vacuum; it's shaped by our foreign policy."

The point is, Simon, that Jack is a UKIP-supporting imposter who finds it funny to wind us up. Nevertheless he provides great comedy!

DC would be right to avoid tinkering and get his team embedded. The volume of change on the frontbench has weakened the party in recent years - those in key positions need to be constantly in the public eye putting forward the Tory proposition to make us look like a credible government.

The trouble with all this speculation, as with the last time it cropped up in December, is that four into three simply won't go.

There are three top positions in the Shadow Cabinet (Shadow Chancellor, Home and Foreign Secretaries) which means that one of David Davis, Liam Fox, William Hague and George Osborne has/had to miss out.

David Davis has been the only Shadow Cabinet member to deliver the goods against the government time and time again so removing him from Home Affairs would be an inept move of the highest magnitude.

David Cameron was determined to bring William Hague back into the Shadow Cabinet fold, but Hague was reluctant to become Shadow Chancellor and relinquish his outside interests, so he was given Foreign Affairs instead, and I should imagine that the circumstances (re: Hague's suitability/availability for Shadow Chancellorship) have not altered significantly in four and a half months.

This leaves the position of Shadow Chancellor and George Osborne (the incumbent and close associate of David Cameron) or Liam Fox (tipped for promotion). I really can't see Liam Fox pushing the 'sharing the proceeds of growth' mantra, which means it's difficult to envisage him becoming Shadow Chancellor.

Ergo, no promotion for Liam I'm afraid Editor.

The simple solution is to move Fox back to Foreign Affairs, Hague as Shadow Chancellor and move Osbourne to Party Chairman. As far as I'm concerned Cameron can do the same to Maude as what Michael Howard did to Flight.

"The simple solution is to move Fox back to Foreign Affairs, Hague as Shadow Chancellor and move Osbourne to Party Chairman."

In December - yes. It's four and a half months too late now. Moving Fox back to a position he was recently removed from would be a sign of weakness and poor (original) judgement by Cameron.

Ed Vesey and Michael Cove and give them

Maybe you should try Ed Vaizey Jack. If it helps remember he is the son of John and Marina Vaizey. Wasn'yt John Vaizey, Labour supporter ?

Michael Gove is more familiar than Michael Cove.

Apart from those minor inaccuracies the rest of your suggestions are balderdash.

The Conservative Front Bench show an amazing inability to madter their briefs - lack onf interest I surmise. Fox has experience of the NHs but none of Defence and frankly looks like a schoolboy reciting statistics from Jane's.

Lansley is lazy and won't change. Osborne is lightweight and frankly shouldn't even be Shadow Secretary to The Treasury - he will be blown away by big boys.

Hague you can try at Chancellor - but frankly he is not popular in the country so don't overplay his position. Redwood would be a far more effective destroyer of Brown man for man.

Foreign Affairs you should write off - noone cares with a party in opposition for 10 years - Cunningham did the job for Labour in Opposition.

Education - you should put Damian Green back - he was getting on track before being shunted.

Defence - not a hope here. The Tories imposed such a big "peace dividend" which Labour has continued to pay out that we should really question whether we can afford armed forces or if they will be merged as in Canada.

Not my personal viewpoint, but the limited enthusiasm for Defence displayed by governments since 1980 lead me to suspect noone trusts Labour or Conservative to be anyting but cheeseparing and incompetent in equipping and maintaining armed forces.

In the end The Treasury has a liquidation plan for the whole country and instructs subsequent Chancellors to carry it out

If it helps remember he is the son of John and Marina Vaizey. Wasn'yt John Vaizey, Labour supporter ?

I'm not sure which is more amusing, the suggestion that Ed Vaizey is untrustworthy because of his lineage, or your own "minor inaccuracies".

The problem is fairly simple: there is NO TALENT on the Conservative benches. Very, very, very poor quality, in part because we didn't net any seats in 2001.

You can't really blame Cameron for his lacklustre Shadow Cabinet--there is simply very little material to work with.

I will post more detailed points later on but for now, I really think that we need the big hitters in the Cabinet on the frontlines. We simply cannot beat what Labour has unless we have them back in the fold. Hague is underutilised in Foreign Affairs and would be so much better placed in the Shadow Chancellorship. Hague v Brown in the Ministers Questions, we could sell tickets for it! We need someone to demolish the Governments economic record. Simple as. Ill have a think about it and post my preferred Cabinet later on for you perusal.

"Moving Fox back to a position he was recently removed from would be a sign of weakness and poor (original) judgement by Cameron."

Better to correct the mistake now than carry on with the current set-up until the next election.

It's a shame Sir Malcolm Rifkind burned his bridges back in December as he would bring gravitas as Shadow Chancellor or Shadow Foreign Secretary but I suppose he probably isn't trendy enough to be considered worthy of these high-profile roles.

A Shadow Cabinet to beat Labour should have 1) a heavyweight shadow chancellor to batter Brown, 2) a more liberal shadow home secretary to combat Labour's ineffective and hyperactive authoritarianism (Letwin ideally, maybe Willetts?) and 3) a sturdy shadow foreign (Fox). It would be good to see Theresa May not in a 'woman's job' - how about defence? And lose (some) of the usual suspects to make room for Herbert, Gove or Greening.

Sorry DVA but Davis was outmanouvered by Labour on ID cards - gave away the big prize for a few hours preening himself before Clarke came in to say that people would pay the same for passport without card as for one with a card (because the ID Database costs would still be incurred. During the leadership election it was Grieve that did the legwork and gained the ground while Davis campaigned.

Both Hague & Davis have been diappointments to me - Fox hasn't shown himself much either but demonstrated in his bid a much more attractive and constructive right wing approach. I would like Fox in a bigger role, but personally can't see much benefit in an early re-shuffle at all until the policy groups are much closer to defing the platform.

Interesting that so many people talk of having a ‘balanced ticket’, and then suggest boosting the presence of the right in the cabinet even more.

Now I know the right is very well represented on this site, but I am uneasy at the number of established right-wingers in the top jobs. How the public will receive this is simple: they assume we are continuing with business as usual, and the ‘change’ message is a Trojan horse. This is the single biggest obstacle to breakthrough a in the polls for us.

If it were up to me, I would:

Clarke to Chancellor
Osborne to Defence
Duncan to Home
May to Health

Reshuffle the rest, Davis, Fox and Hague to back benches. This would send the best signal possible that we are serious about change, and I think, if the party really wants to form a Government, it needs to accept that the changes that need to be made need to be real not cosmetic.

"more liberal shadow home secretary to combat Labour's ineffective and hyperactive authoritarianism (Letwin ideally, maybe Willetts?)"

I don't think that will go down well with the voters. Yes we need to stand up for civil liberties but we can still do this while being tough on crime.

Cameron's caught himself in a cleft stick.

DC can't really appoint a Deputy now (would look like he can't cope on his own).

DC can't really move Davis (only shadow who's really been any way visible and active; risks re-opening old questions) - anything seen as being either a demotion or a promotion creates problems for DC.
If he shifts him to Shadow Chancellor that re-opens the "proceeds of growth" question. He can't have the Chairmanship (done it before). That only leaves Foreign.

DC can't really demote Osborne (too close to him personally). Even a sideways move is risky. The only real move for him is Party Chairman.

DC can't really demote Maude (too identified with the change agenda); he can't give him Shadow Chancellor or Shadow Foreign (done them before) - the only possible move is Shadow Home, and is he the right person to reassure the troops on law & order? Possibly Shadow International Development?

DC can't really promote Fox at all (opens the question of why he demoted him in the first place - the answer being very obvious). Can't give him Foreign or Chairmanship (done them before); Can't give him Treasury or Home without demoting one of the others - and can't do that. I don't know who's running Fox's PR for this site but Cameron should hire them for himself.

DC can't move Hague before there is a decision one way or the other on the EPP. Giving him the Chairmanship is difficult (re-opens the old deal with Howard in 97; looks like demotion or a confession that party reform has failed). Giving him Treasury re-opens question of why he didn't have it from the outset.

A possible reshuffle would be a giant Magic Roundabout:
- Osborne from Treasury to Chairmanship;
- Maude from Chairmanship to Home;
- Davis from Home to Foreign;
- Hague from Foreign to Treasury;
- Fox stuck at Defence.

Alternatively: a Davis/Hague job swap (which might be a sound idea if we stay in the EPP).

Only problem left: what the hell would be gained by doing either of these moves?

I think Osborne is far better than often given credit for, anyway Hague wouldn't take the position as he is earning a small, no a large fortune outside of Westminster and also he would be ripped to shreds over the tax cuts he offered in 2001 which were absurd. And those talking of a balanced ticket having Hague, Davis and Fox in 3 of the top 4 positions is not balanced. Osborne to stay, Hague to stay, Davis to stay and be allowed to attack the government with greater ferocity but I think Maude should go, don't know where maybe to Norway with a one way ticket, replaced by Fox or one of the new intake maybe. I would like to see more prominent positions for Gove, Vaizey and Grieve. cut out siome of the older deadwood eg. Lansley and I am little concerned over Willets performance but we shall see. Soames for Defence.

Oberon - would be fun to watch but IMHO would be as damaging to party as Thatchers demise. As you may have gathered I'm not a Hague/Davis fan but think Fox doesn't have the old party baggage and has a constructive and engaging agenda which would provide the ballast of the core conservatism necessary in this change voyage.
Richard - we need a strong Home Secretary who respects and understands the tradition and basis of English Law and the balances of civil rights and the states role. The Home Office has its own agenda and a corporate mentality which is about control and authoritarianism.Too many Home Secretaries are subverted and go native. You can both be tough on enforcing law and tough about civil liberties.

Machiavelli is right though - why bother. Leave it till 2007 when Blairs future is clearer, policies are starting to shape up.

I dont think he was outmaneuvered. He shouldnt have supposed the Bill at all. It was his choice of tactics not Labours.

I'm not sure which is more amusing, the suggestion that Ed Vaizey is untrustworthy because of his lineage,

Actually his lineage was in his favour; his background as a barrister turning to PR was in his disfavour.

"You can both be tough on enforcing law and tough about civil liberties."

I completely agree - I don't approve of the way Howard sacrificed the right to silence. The problem with liberal Home Secretaries though is that they tend to be a bit woolly on the former which does not go down well with the public.

Osborne to Defence
Duncan to Home
May to Health

Hilarious ! The Joke Party.

Perhaps Alan Duncan can give out copies of "Saturn's Children" to show how the Tory Drugs Policy will be ?

Osborne would be really impressive at Defence - I bet the troops would find him really superb - John Reid would be so lucky to have flies to swat

Theresa May at Health to make Hewitt look competent ?

Health is far too big for May - it will be a £ budget position by the time of the next election and Brown would steamroller May into oblivion.

This list Oberon Houston tells me the Tories are finished as a serious parliamentary party - this would bring meltdown.

Seeing as we're all playing 'Fantasy Shadow Cabinet' (and believe me, most of the suggestions on here are fantasy), here's the Shadow Cabinet I would have liked to see:

Senior Shadow Minister/Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Hague
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer - Rifkind
Shadow Home - Davis
Shadow Foreign - Fox
Party Chairman - Osborne
Shadow Education - Spelman
Shadow Health - May
Shadow Social Justice (instead of head of Policy Group) - Duncan Smith

Obviously that's not an exhaustive list - before the pedants start pointing out how unworkably small such a Shadow Cabinet would be!

Churchills War Cabinet was always quite small and Secretaries of State historically few in number. Perhaps DC could go for a radical slimming down of Cabinet & State Offices - balancing that by appointing English Ministers for those areas devolved....

I don't see why people cannot return to positions they once held, just for the sake of not damaging a politician's ego. Plus, I don't think Liam Fox would protest at going back to his old job at Foreign Affairs.

Churchills War Cabinet was always quite small

Yes and being a coalition it has a lot of scope...................maybe Cameron should be "inclusive" and invite LibDems and Labour Backbenchers to sit in his Shadow Cabinet ?

"Obviously that's not an exhaustive list - before the pedants start pointing out how unworkably small such a Shadow Cabinet would be!"

I was going to say you forgot Jack Stone as head of propaganda.

We need to outgun Labour, man for man / woman for woman. I think there are 4 key areas we need to focus on that will generate a distinct (and positive) contrast to Labour and LibDems.

1. Wow factor. Personal Appeal plus Intelligence plus Philosophy should win over the public every time. Blair has a personal appeal, it's how he has got so far. So does Cameron. I hosted a CPF event with Zac Goldsmith and he has it in spades. Is there any Labour minister with 'wow' factor?

2. Cohesion. How will Brown manage his cabinet? He's dour and despotic and micromanages their departments through his budgets. Cameron needs a cabinet that plays as a team, it will be a real contrast.

3. Women. We have great women MP's who have all earned their places against great odds. They will make us look more representative of the country as a whole and a sharp contrast to the harridans that infest the Labour front bench.

4. Competence. We have to have a team that people will trust to run the country, and that means ministers who look like they are born to their job. It's not a life sentence, it's only for 5 or 6 years [sorry, obviously that is a Life Sentence under labour]. E.g. Fox at Health would trounce Hewitt.

From the above, it means dumping the mad, dreary and worthy. Hague as Party Chairman to rally the faithful and bring some modern management skills?

Shadow Chancellor is the tricky one because Brown has made it the biggest job in government. So why not decentralise the role and make each shadow minister responsible for their own budget, with the Chancellor looking after the overall total and rebalancing the economy. That way Osbourne for Environment would be seen as a key move rather than a demotion.

A quick comment. The last paragraph I dont really like the sound of. we'd have a dozen speeches about funding and its bad enough having it from one person... When its one person that person is able to make a judgement about the whole package...your idea would mean the Shadow Chancellor would still dictate how much spending was available.

Yes, it's tricky to get the balance. The Chancellor is always going to be the person who raises the taxes (or hopefully lowers them!) and determines how much money is available, while each department head is responsible for determining spending priorities.

It does seem feasible, that departments can decide for themselves where the money goes. Work and Pensions for example would decide the increase on pensions and tax credits, with the Chancellor doing the macro-economics. Hmmm, anyone else got any comments? It would devolve powers away from the currenhtly all-emcompassing Treasury department.

The Chancellor is always going to be the person who raises the taxes

Really, and what does The First lord of the Treasury do for his salary ?

Offer people peerages...

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