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James M: It would devolve powers away from the currently all-emcompassing Treasury department. The Treasury under GB has certainly interfered in the detailed running of other departments far more than used to be the case. And look at how often he announces--and takes the credit for--initiatives that fall within another department's remit just because "he" is providing the money. ("He" in quotes because it is, of course, you and I that are actually footing the bill for his headline-grabbing announcements).
I think we had the balance between the Treasury and other departments about right under the Thatcher and Major governments and should go back to that.

The really interesting question is what will happen to the Treasury's power once GB becomes PM. My guess is that he will try to act as both PM and Chancellor with someone like Ed Balls acting as nominal Chancellor. I can't seen GB tolerating anyone else with as much power as he has at present.

"DC can't really demote Maude (too identified with the change agenda); "

I don't know. I think he'd make a good Shadow Minister for Sport.

>>>>I think it's now time Cameron let Davis loose on crime<<<<
Why not bring in John Redwood as Shadow Home Secretary, most people want far harsher solutions on criminals and John Redwood would go part of the way towards pushing forward that agenda.

Maybe David Davis as Shadow Defence Secretary, especially with his military experience he would be suited, or IDS for that matter.

Maybe if they moved George Osborne to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, maybe move Theresa Villiers to be Shadow President of the Board of Trade.

William Hague could be made Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Maybe make Liam Fox Shadow Foreign Secretary, someone who would re-assure that action on the issue of the EU would be taken either to withdraw entirely or at least to negociate opt outs from existing EU regulations and reject all further extension of powers or regulations or restoration of many powers generally to Member States.

Alan Duncan could takeover from Andrew Lansley as Shadow Health Secretary.
Surely Boris Johnson should be dumped as he doesn't seem to be doing anything much as Shadow Higher Education Minister, maybe he could be replaced by Nigel Evans.

Maybe if David Willetts was replaced by IDS as Shadow Secretary for Work & Pensions.

I think that George Osborne is doing a good job as shadow chancellor and is very underated.
Its David Cameron who will be facing Gordon Brown come the next election. I don't know who will replace Gordon Brown at the treasury but I think that the strategy of giving George Osborne plenty of time to become embedded in his post combined with a growing public profile is the correct one.
I thought he performed much better on QT last night than on his previous appearance.
I for one would rather have the voters see a shadow chancellor on top of his brief facing someone trying to fill GB shoe's rather than the headline that GB has seen off another shadow chancellor.

>>>>who will replace Gordon Brown at the treasury<<<<
I would think that Alastair Darling would be a probable candidate, it depends on who suceeds John Prescott as Deputy Leader because John Prescott is standing down once the Leadership Election is concluded.

Dawn Primarolo seems a likely person to be moved in as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, I'm sure that Ed Balls is going to be brought into the Government at some point in the next couple of years and is probably the most likely person to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader.

The race for the Deputy Leader is going to be quite crowded - maybe Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt or Geoff Hoon getting it. Who knows, David Blunkett, Stephen Byers or Claire Short might see it as a way of making a comeback.

Maybe if David Willetts was replaced by IDS as Shadow Secretary for Work & Pensions.

We will never know, as David Willetts is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Education...

There have long been far too many ministries and ministers in those ministries and MP's, surely as part of ending Big Government a lot of Government ministries could be merged, is there for example any point in there being a Department for Culture, Media and Sport - couldn't this just become part of the Cabinet Office (Sport or Leisure really isn't a function of government anyway), the USA doesn't have an Office of Education and didn't used to have one for Health either - surely as part of downsizing government these could become Quasi-Autonomous. So much welfare stuff is done by the Treasury that Work & Pensions might as well be merged into it and most of dti surely is either excessive bureaucracy or features of economic policy that should be merged with the Treasury leaving the Office of Science and Technology which could be merged with Defra to form a Department of Research & Development.

Surely things such as the Duchy of Lancaster and of Cornwall and THe Crown Estates could simply be privatised, things such as The Social Equality Unit and Tackling Disadvantage groups and Ministers for Women are merely examples of Socialist Bureaucracy that pointlessly add to administration costs.

The Treasury under GB has certainly interfered in the detailed running of other departments far more than used to be the case.

Untrue. Neville Chamberlain as Chancellor 1931-1937 had an iron control over all departments as Baldwin's Chancellor, and since Baldwin was a lazy administrator, Chamberlain was effectively running the administration long before he became PM in 1937.

It may pain Labour to realise that they are re-running the Baldwin/Chamberlain years.

Alan Duncan could takeover from Andrew Lansley as Shadow Health Secretary.

out of his depth.............this is one of the biggest departments of state, Alan Duncan would drown. Too few politicians understand the complexity of the NHS because they don't understand "systems" that are integrated. Fox is far better because he is NHS trained and his girlfriend/wife is too.

Aren't the shadow cabinet roles all a little bit irrelevant right now, since the party is little more than a personality cult?

The prospect of Cameron undertaking a reshuffle of the major shadow positions a matter of months after becoming leader is about as likely as Brown declaring we are over-taxed. Any gains achieved by such a reshuffle (the positive impact of which would be far less among the voting public than among us political anoraks) would surely be outweighed by the inevitable media comment (poor judgment, panic, retrench to the right, another scalp for Brown, etc) and the likely infighting/backbiting that any demotion/sacking would trigger. Cameron's strategy should be to defer any cabinet-level changes until Brown takes over from Blair and appoints his own cabinet. At that point, when the next election campaign will effectively have begun, he should assemble a real alternative government, as opposed to simply replicating the form of the current cabinet. This would involve a radical reform of the cabinet with a significant reduction in the number of cabinet seats and new roles that reflect the priorities of an incoming Conservative government. In the meantime, Cameron should promote/encourage the talented and ambitious at sub-shadow cabinet level, particularly in priority areas where the current shadow cabinet spokesman is under-performing (eg Health, Education, Work & Pensions).

Cameron's strategy should be to defer any cabinet-level changes until Brown takes over from Blair and appoints his own cabinet.


There are shorter odds on Brown producing his own Cabinet than in Cameron being around to re-shuffle a Shadow Cabinet at that time.

I'm not a Tory, but here's my thoughts:

George Osborne: well, I don't think he has performed very well(in his first Commons appearance as Shadow Chancellor Gordon seemed more worried by Lynne Jones than by Osborne), but he's improving since his first appearances.

William Hague: I've never understood all those big praised for him in terms of speaking performances (I'm not saying he's bad), but he's politically solid. A move to Shodow Chancellor position could add depth to tory frontbench, but he could be open to "back to the past" attack from Labour if he's promoted though.

David Davis: uhm, Home Affairs have been front and center recently (terrorism and ID cards for ex), but I struggled to hear him. Dominic Grieve (I agree he should be promoted) has been more impressive in the Commons than DD and during the terrorism bill debates, Clare Short's struggle with her conscience (and her scarf) almost got more airtime than Davis' opinions.
A bit disappointing IMO.

Andrew Lansley: NHS being under attack recently and Lansley's voice has struggled to be heard.

David Willets: I think he has done ok during education bill debates. He should stay

Patrick McLoughlin: 4 defeats for the government speak for him. There's no need to say that he's far better than his Labour counterpart.

Liam Fox: he's totally opposite me in terms of political views, but during the leadership race he showed he's a solid politician.

Francis Maude and Theresa May: I think they were ok. they should stay where they're

So in the end, I'll try to switch Osborne and Hague. Fox should stay at defence and Grieve should get promoted. Davis should probably stay there but I'm not really convinced (how would you see Osborne as Shadow Home Secretary?)
I'll demote Lansley.
Among the new MPs, I must admit Gove is politically impressive. Nick Herbert too.
I'm not convinced by Vaizey too. But he's telegenic

"I'm sure that Ed Balls is going to be brought into the Government at some point in the next couple of years and is probably the most likely person to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader.
The race for the Deputy Leader is going to be quite crowded - maybe Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt or Geoff Hoon getting it. Who knows, David Blunkett, Stephen Byers or Claire Short might see it as a way of making a comeback"

Balls as Labour leader?? Oh My God, he's a disaster in terms of media appearance!

I agree that the Deputy Leader race could be crowded. Even Harriet Harman was said about trying to join it. And Peter Hain too.
Then the Left will have a candidate too. You mentioned Short and she could be a possibility, but they could go for Michael Meacher or Alan Simpson too.

Andrea pleased to see someone shares my views that its Grieve rather than Davis that's shone. Can you though see any reason for Cameron to do a re-shuffle - agreed that Lansley hasn't done well in NHS faced with an open goal and while Willetts has been OK on education wiull he be able to step up to mark if Education becomes the centrepoint of Gordon's Labour?

Ted, I don't think there's an urgent need for a reshuffle at the moment. He could certainly wait. Maybe in the meantime he could start to test some newcomers (like Herbert) sending them more often to Question Time or other TV shows to see how they perform.

"Aren't the shadow cabinet roles all a little bit irrelevant right now, since the party is little more than a personality cult?"
While David Cameron is performing better than the Tory party in the polls that might not be a bad thing!

"While David Cameron is performing better than the Tory party in the polls that might not be a bad thing!"

Oh but of course, because David Cameron has nothing whatsoever to do with the party's low poll ratings, does he?

Under three differant leaders and after three election defeats we have less than 200 MP's in Westminster, I would say that the public perception of the conservative party is the problem rather than David Cameron.
Looking at various polls recently I would say that he seems to be the tories key asset.

The fact that Labour are running personal attacks on DC would suggest that Chris D's point is well made. I personally have many disagreements with DC, but at least under him we are being seen as a creditable threat by NuLab - probably for the first time since 1997.

If that is the case, then the make up of the Shadow Cabinet is not too relevant. For what it's worth, I would love to see Hague in a more high profile post, and am sure that he could destroy Brown in a position of Shadow Chancellor. He was not a 'disaster as a leader', he simply made the silly mistake of taking the job at the wrong time. However, the Tory Party (and the country) should be grateful to him. By taking it when he did, he prevented Ken Clarke from getting the job. Had Clarke been elected Leader of the Opposition (though what he could have 'opposed' considering his position on most issues is a mystery), I am sure that we would now be in the Euro.

>>>>Had Clarke been elected Leader of the Opposition (though what he could have 'opposed' considering his position on most issues is a mystery), I am sure that we would now be in the Euro.<<<<
Gordon Brown is not particularily favourable to the Euro, there is no way that Tony Blair would take such a major decision with regard to economic policy if Gordon Brown was opposed to it and Tony Blair obviously did not consider membership of the EU as a high enough priority to jeopardise votes for Labour.

>>>>Then the Left will have a candidate too. You mentioned Short and she could be a possibility, but they could go for Michael Meacher or Alan Simpson too.<<<<
Michael Meacher is starting to get rather old for going back into frontline politics, by the time of the Deputy Leadership Election he will be nearly 70, Brian Simpson appears to be a fairly straightforward person but hardly a prominent political figure - I would think Claire Short or Diane Abbott would be the more likely favourites among the Old Labour contingent to run.

>>>>Brian Simpson<<<<
Alan Simpson I mean.

>>>>
There are shorter odds on Brown producing his own Cabinet than in Cameron being around to re-shuffle a Shadow Cabinet at that time.<<<<
I doubt there'll be much change after Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister, a lot of the appointments have been made already with his views in mind, Tony Blair's leaving will leave a place short in the cabinet which would enable him to move Dawn Primarolo into another rung up into the Cabinet, other than Tony Blair and John Prescott I imagine the overall lineup at the next General Election on the Labour side will be much as it is now with mostly only some of the positions changed - I imagine Margaret Beckett will probably go after the next Election, she's the only remaining Member of the Government to have been a minister in the Callaghan Government (Jack Cunningham and Michael Meacher were the others when Labour came to power).

"Michael Meacher is starting to get rather old for going back into frontline politics, by the time of the Deputy Leadership Election he will be nearly 70, Brian Simpson appears to be a fairly straightforward person but hardly a prominent political figure - I would think Claire Short or Diane Abbott would be the more likely favourites among the Old Labour contingent to run."

yes, Meacher will be quite old, but he already said he would be ready to run for the leadership, so he could be available for the deputy race too.

Short could stand down at the next election (she was rumoured to be ready to stand down last time too, but then she got pissed off by blairites who were pissed off by her and in the end she stood again...doing terribly, btw).
Diane Abbott, who knows! She has a very high profile, but she could have been damaged by the private school debable among left wing supporters. And she struggled with her reselection last time.

I'm biased towars Simpson, because I like him. I think he's the best one among Campaign Group MPs

Alan Simpson is honest but he holds very extreme views and while he has many supporters among a large minority of Labour members he must know that he stands no chance of getting a majority in any part of the Electoral College and at most would merely survive the First Round.

It's likely to be someone who has sizeable support across the party who actually gets it, John Prescott won because it was felt that they wanted to balance Tony Blair's more Social Democrat tendencies but Gordon Brown's support comes quite widely within the party - I think David Blunkett or Hilary Benn may well be pressured to stand and have a good chance of winning the Deputy Leadership, Stephen Byers has gained a lot of Kudos with many more traditional Labourites as he was the Transport Secretary who ended Railtrack's involvement in the Rail Infrastructure and his criticisms of expansions of Means Testing through Tax Credits.

"Alan Simpson is honest but he holds very extreme views and while he has many supporters among a large minority of Labour members he must know that he stands no chance of getting a majority in any part of the Electoral College and at most would merely survive the First Round"

Naturally he won't win, but if the hard-left want to try to field a candidate, he's the best option.
To do reasonably well, they should back a candidate from the soft-left, but I think that if they go for Clare Short, she will perform bad.

The winner and likely candidates could depend on what type of deputy leader the party needs. As you said Prescott balanced Blair's reformist tendencies, now what should be balanced? Maybe they need a deputy who could "soft" Gordon "dour" imagine.

"Under three differant leaders and after three election defeats we have less than 200 MP's in Westminster, I would say that the public perception of the conservative party is the problem rather than David Cameron."

Smithson made the same analysis on his site and I'm tempted to agree that he is suffering from the same problem as our policies, i.e. that people like them until they realise they're Conservative.

It is a sad comment on the modern UK though when the position of Defence Secretary is suggested as being not as frontline as other cabinet positions, without Policing and the military the country could not survive as it is, it is much more important than the positions relating to Health or Welfare, and just as important as Economic matters, Transport, R&D, Communications and Water & Sewerage policies especially in the light of neccessary decisions over whether the UK is going to develop a successor to Trident or hope that the USA still continues to share such missile technology with the UK.

Then there is the question of the Hafnium Device that would produce no fallout, just an initial Gamma Ray burst and as such could be considered as conventional weapons, the Pentagon is working on such weapons - why isn't the Atomic Weapons Establishment?

And of course the gross underfunding that exists in relation to the Armed Forces - this too is an important issue.

The world is just as dangerous as it ever was.

Yet Another Anon:
>>>>Had Clarke been elected Leader of the Opposition (though what he could have 'opposed' considering his position on most issues is a mystery), I am sure that we would now be in the Euro.<<<<
Gordon Brown is not particularily favourable to the Euro, there is no way that Tony Blair would take such a major decision with regard to economic policy if Gordon Brown was opposed to it and Tony Blair obviously did not consider membership of the EU as a high enough priority to jeopardise votes for Labour.

REALLY? Then why did Clarke share a platform with Bliar and Brown to promote Britain's membership of the Euro? (An action that I feel should have merited his deselection as a Tory Candidate. He could at least have then run according to his own beliefs. Of course, he wouldn't have. Quite happy to enjoy the benefits of the Tory whip, whilst sharing a platform with the men that he put himself forward to oppose)

... so let me get this right, to be in the conservative party, its irrelevant what you think on a whole raft of issues, so long as your anti-european. Having any other position is tantamount to begging to be thrown out of the party.

Bloody hell, and there is me thinking Conservatism was based on principles like, 'what works', encouraging 'opportunity', 'community' and 'shared values'. But if you want to harmonise trade, economic co-operation and migration across a few dozen neighbouring countries, then your a liability and should quit the party immediately.

So the Conservative Party is not a political movement, but has reduced itself to being primarily a single issue pressure group. Great. Get lost Clarke - the fact that your the single most popular figure with swing voters, by far, is irrelevant. Take your moderate wet european views and get lost.

I could go on to make some observations of my own regarding who is a liability and who isn't...

Dominic Grieve (I agree he should be promoted) has been more impressive in the Commons than DD and during the terrorism bill debates,

Grieve is a lawyer a pre-requisite for an Attorney-General, and in future for the Secretary of State at the DCA which will have to be a Commons position after Falconer.

The Home Office is a policy area way more political than a lawyer's brief. Leave Grieve where he is. The A-G/DCA area is dynamite because it is here that the interface with the Judiciary takes place and Judicial Reform is vitally important and not within the scope of a Home Secretary.

... so let me get this right, to be in the conservative party, its irrelevant what you think on a whole raft of issues, so long as your anti-european....., and there is me thinking Conservatism was based on principles like, 'what works', encouraging 'opportunity', 'community' and 'shared values'. But if you want to harmonise trade, economic co-operation and migration across a few dozen neighbouring countries, then your a liability and should quit the party immediately.


These are EXACTLY the principles on which the Tory party is based in my eyes. The EU DOESN'T work, nor does it do any of the other things that you claim for it, Oberon Houston.

Clarke did have some popularity, I agree - but so does Bliar, should we invite him to join our party? Clarke COULD have helped this party no end, not least by agreeing to serve in Shadow Cabinets under Hague and IDS (but no, "if I can't be leader, I'm not playing") and by actually OPPOSING Labour (we are after all, something that Clarke must take his share of the blame for, in opposition) and not sharing platforms with the two leaders of the Labour Party.

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