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I think Trimble would make a great leader , much better than Ed Vaizey.

It would be good to have Ken Clarke as Party Chairman...

Trimble- yes. Grieve- yes. Pickles- NO! Ken Clarke as Party Chair! Surely you jest Justin!

Well if Carrington could do the Foreign Secretary job from the Lords why not Trimble? Then they could move Hague to the Treasury and Osborne to CCHQ. Grieve would indeed be good as MoJ. Don't know much about Pickles. I still think they should get Malcolm Rifkind back somewhere (maybe as Shadow Leader of the House?)

There's plenty of talent knocking about:

Eleanor Laing - Education?
Dominic Grieve - Leader of the House?
Edward Garnier - Justice?
Sir Malcolm Rifkind - Foreign Affairs?
Julian Lewis - Defence?
John Hayes - Local Government?

It seems to me --but apparently this is not a view widely shared on this blog-- that one of the biggest headaches for Cameron or, indeed, the prospects of success of a Conservative government if it comes at early as immediately after the next general election, is the lack of talent for the potential Cabinet.

In the period 1994-1997, Labour had a large number of clearly mature, grown-up, serious front benchers who could conceivably lead a government department, and who indeed turned out to be the leading characters of the New Labour government. I'm talking about, of course, such people as Jack Straw (50 in 1997), Robin Cook (51 in 1997), David Blunkett (49 in 1997), Mo Mowlam (47 in 1997), Donald Dewar (59 in 1997), John Reid (50 in 1997), Gordon Brown (46 in 1997), George Robertson (51 in 1997) and many others.

The Conservatives, in part because the party had governed for so long, in part due to the terrible results in 2001 when insufficient seats were won and in part simply because it seemed permanently out of power and therefore unattractive for potential heavy hitters, simply do not have the same strong team, especially lacking serious people of 45 and over.

Just look at the current front bench, and one can only be afraid. How many of the current shadow cabinet ministers really have what it takes to run one of the main department of states for 5-10 years? And when they resign or a fired, who will take their place? Note also that there are no more than a handful of heavy hitters who could conceivably serve in a Cameron cabinet in 2010 outside of the front bench. IDS, Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Ancram and that's about it.

There are plenty of talented people in the parliamentary party now that are 40 and younger. And more can be expected to first join parliament in 2010, and that is good.
But there is a terrible lack of heavy hitters in the late 40s and early 50s.

From this perspective, 2010 would come too early for Cameron.

Think what would happen with the conservative brand if Cameron is elected with a waver-thin majority -- and then produces an incompetent government that collapses within 2 years? The Tories might not get another chance for more than a generation.

Be careful what you wish for.

It's a pity that so many ex MPs and ministers still in their 40s and 50s have been removed from the candidates' list

Goldie, what are talking about? There are plenty of heavy-hitters in their late 40s and early 50s:

David Davis (59)
John Redwood (55)
Stephen Dorrell (55)
Edward Garnier (54)
David Willetts (51)
Theresa May (50)
Andrew Lansley (50)
Alan Duncan (50)
Caroline Spelman (50)
John Hayes (50)
Liam Fox (45)
David Ruffley (45)

to name just a few

It's clearly the case that in 1997 we lost many MPs with sufficient calibre to serve as cabinet ministers. Some of those in the shadow cabinet now, clearly fall short of the mark.

As for the reshuffle, Grieve would be perfect for the ministry of justice. Not too sure about Pickles though. He's a right-winger and backed IDS, which clearly indicates a lack of judgement. I hope that Cameron will start to fast track some of the 2005 intake into front bench jobs, so they're ready for cabinet posts in 2009/10. The likes of Ed Vaizey, Grant Shapps, Nadine Dorries & James Brokenshire are all very normal, presentable and able.

Oi Adam,
Petsy's ex!!!!
Don't make me laugh!!!!!

Eric Pickles may be "right wing" - he also backed David Davies last time out. It should be noted he's faced down elements of the Monday Club who were producing extreme leaflets while he was in Bradford.

Adam: your list leaves me, for one, distinctly underwhelmed.

Cameron has the advantage that in 2010 he will still have MPs who have Ministerial experience who can enter the government. By contrast in 1997 Tony Blair had Michael Meacher, Margaret Beckett and that was it.

Grieve would be excellent at Justice or, indeed, the revamped Home Office. He regularly knocks spots of Labour in measured, fully mastered terms - which makes him all the more lethal. He also comes across as decent and personable. We don't need another nominee for Foreign Sec as Hague is well placed in this role and one of the few heavy hitters around. As for the rest - Goldie is, I think right, and I would echo his response to Adam - a distinctly underwhelming list I'm afraid. There's no doubt that the parliamentary party has mediocrity and inexperience in too great a measure.

By contrast in 1997 Tony Blair had Michael Meacher, Margaret Beckett and that was it
You are forgetting Jack Cunningham and Gavin Strang both of whom had been Ministers of State in the 1974-79 government, and there were a couple who had been Conservative ministers such as Shaun Woodward and Alan Howarth. There is still at least one other on Labour's backbenches who was a minister in the 1974-79 government - Gerald Kaufman who was a Minister of State for 4 years.

Tony Benn was the only Labour MP who had been in the 1970's Labour Cabinets to still be in The House of Commons after the 1997 General Election.

From this perspective, 2010 would come too early for Cameron.
A party's MP's once that party is in government starts to gain government experience. I don't think that the Conservatives will win in 2009 and I also don't think that inexperience in running government is the Conservative leadership and front benches main problem, their main problem is that they are ludicrously short of substance policywise.

We can talk about this for a long or short time, but the past is the past. The one thing that should be done is that Cameron ought to really find some strong contenders in the 40s and 50s and place them in safe seats. But I see very little evidence of that happening.

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