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1997 intake? 2005 surely?

Thanks James. Corrected!

I think your pessimism on "the return of realpolitik/ the establishment view on foreign policy" is misplaced - far worse would have been a serious return to NeoCon or liberal imperialist (basically the same thing really!) interventionism.

Did we wrongly invade any countries during the Hurd/Rifkind era?

One thing that may be comparatively overlooked is Baroness Anelay's promotion (although I note you have not overlooked it here!).

Joyce was on the Culture, Media and Sport team when I was at CCO, and she is quite outstanding. She is a master of detail, a shrewd analyst, and a team player.

She's also highly personable, and although this isn't an obvious media role, I think DC would be well advised to get her on the TV as much as possible.

On a more disappointed note, Greg Clark should be in the Shadow Cabinet.

Editor - do you know what does Maude's new role entail exactly?

Some sort of preparatory for government role I think Jonathan - charged with turning the policy ideas into practical plans.

Whilst I sympathises with people disappointed that certain people didn't make it into the Shadow Cabinet. There is a good argument for keeping some hugely talented people on the backbenches for now. We need to give the impression of strength in depth and also to have a number of helpful backbenchers to pop up asking the kind of awkward questions that Shadow Cabinet members might find it more difficult to ask!

Wise words James.

I just think that Greg specifically has the kind of talents that merit a front bench role. I hope it's not a kick back against the storm-in-a-teacup Polly Toynbee thing.

"Hurd-Rifkind establishment view during the 1992-1997 period of deadly non-intervention."

So what the c**p do you call Blair's interventionist policy, peaceful?

Thank God for the realists.

Maude has gone! I never thought I'd see the day. It's tempting me to re-join.

Good luck Caroline Spelman, there's a fair bit of damage to be repaired, but I hope she can do it.

I like what I am hearing so far re the reshuffle. I am pleased that Cameron has avoided changing too much (thus allowing some of the team to build on experience) but has brought in some new talent to shadow cab. The homeland security moves are good - I hope that there will be a combination of PNJs experience and the need to use communities to tackle terrorism. The terrorists want heightened racial tension to achieve their aims, we must harness our whole country against terrorism. This is the lesson of the past,


I'm hugely disappointed. I had quite high hopes, but this is an underwhelming, flabby shadow cabinet.

Cameron did not have to shed much blood... he also has Dame PNJ in his 29-strong team for the homeland security brief.

This is missing the point. 29 is a quite ludicrous number for a shadow cabinet. Churchill made do with 6 during the war, and the government was more efficient for it. Only a couple of years ago, Howard had 12. This is like Blair at his worst - swelling the cabinet by bringing in more people rather than sacking the underperformers.

Blood should have been spilt - we all know that there are too many duds in the shadow cabinet while real (and experienced) talent, like Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind, moulder on the back benches.

Why didn't he make Ken Clarke shadow foreign secretary? That would've been a brave and eye-catching move. Getting rid of some of the loony euroseptics would've thinned out the ranks a bit too.

And as for keeping Osborne...

What "loony Eurosceptics" are we talking about in the Shadow Cabinet?

Why promote Theresa Villiers?

601 and Robert: This is perhaps not the thread for a full discussion of interventionism/ non-interventionism but the consequences of non-intervention can be seen in Rwanda, Srebrenica, Darfur and what came out of Talibanised Afghanistan. If non-intervention had ruled our attitude to Saddam he would be on course for nuclear weapons and certainly had the technology to get WMD and use them (the existence or not of them has always been a non-issue for me). Iraq has been disastrous in many ways but arguably because of inadequate troops and planning.

IMHO all Euroseptics are loonies, so that's most of the shadow cabinet I'm afraid.

Harold Macmillan, Ted Heath and the other greats of yesteryear would be spinning in their graves if they could see what this once great party has come to.

Liberal Tory, sadly you are the one out of step with most people's thinking on Europe. Clarke, a personality yes, but a disaster in many of his portfolios when a minister, and please no rose tinted glasses, examine his performance! Rifkind , well sorry no - he definitely resonates with a certain type, but comes across as pompous and if he is that good a politician why did he lose his seat and have to be parachuted into Chelsea?

I'm a loony eurosceptic.

I am stupid enough to believe that the United Kingdom must become a self-governing, democratic country again.

Anyone who is not a loony eurosceptic doesn't belong in this Tory Party - as Quentin Davies has just explained.

Robert, Neither Liberal nor Tory is on a differnt planet to most people.

Back to the thread please!?

Rifkind lost his seat because it was in Scotland. It was never a safe seat in any case - I think some of Craigmillar and another estate fitted into his old constituency.

In any case, I'd be very reassured to see any such persons as he or Clarke doing something useful. I like John Redwood myself.

I agree with comments saying this shadow cabinet is too big. I must say though that there's a lot of government to shadow. Churchill didn't have a Minister for the Arts in his cabinet as far as I'm aware. Nor one for community cohesion. And it isn't Mr Cameron's fault that Labour are engaged in a fit of department splitting. If only they would do the one useful split I can think of - splitting agriculture from the other environment stuff.

I don't understand why Villiers has been promoted really. Nor Spelman other than for image reasons. She hasn't impressed me really in debating. The other women are not in high profile jobs so I'm not sure Mr Cameron has a lot to gain from their being female other than gender statistics.

Owen Paterson, Congratulations on landing Northern Ireland.

Good footage of Owen on the News recently sitting behind Quentin Davies while Quentin made a speech attacking Gordon Brown, Owen looking underwhelmed!

The look on his face said it all.

David Davis, Liam Fox, Caroline Spelman, David Willetts, Theresa May - Michael Howards name is missing!
Without the additions there could have been 6 out of his 12.

Very much hope you're right Editor about Grayling and Pensions. We have let Brown off quite lightly in this area and I hope that will now change.
I am a bit disappoimted however that we seem to be aping the government in downgrading Transport. Chris Grayling has done a lot in the last 12 months very sadly little of it had anyhing to do with his transport brief. I hope Theresa is able to do something to raise the profile of asubject which will be of interest to hundreds of thousands of potential Conservative voters.I'm not confident, Theresa has been invisible for the past year.
Whether the Conservative foreign team are dominated by realists (as I hope) or by interventionists (as I assume you hope) is a bit of a moot point. Whatever happens, our policy of not reallly having any policies vis a vis Iraq cannot go on for much longer. Brown has clearly started to rehabilitate the opponents of the Iraq war and I suspect he will soon realise the futility of our current strategy there. If he takes any bold decisions we must be prepared to either back him or attack him.Choices will I think soon have to be made.

I find Tim Montgomerie's definite assertion that Caroline Spelman, Pauline Neville-Jones and Sayeeda Warsi were only promoted due to David Cameron wanting more women in senior positions pretty offensive given their very obvious abilities that put them there on merit. I'd assumed when he said this on Newsnight it was a badly edited clip, but given it's repeated in list above, clearly not.

I think you continue to be very unfair towards Caroline Spelman, although I'm glad you've tempered your remarks since the 'CCHQ staff recoiling in horror' comment the other day.

Benedict Brogan believes her appointment will prove popular with activists, and I think he's right.

It's time for a change of mood at CCHQ after the turbulence induced by the (admittedly necessary) reforms of the Francis Maude era.

I do not think that they were "only promoted" because they were women and did not say that they were Kate but I'm 100% convinced that their gender was a factor. If you deny that then why did we have the A-list and its 50/50 quotas?

DVA: I'm not the only one worried about Caroline Spelman. Fraser Nelson has written this today: "Caroline Spelman will be a controversial choice. When discussing her promotion with Tory MPs, all I’ve heard is expletives." But I genuinely hope I'm wrong and that she'll be a successful Chairman.

Caroline Spelman is the new Chairman because she is best qualified for the job. It has nothing to do with her being a woman.

Kate - Calm down dear..

I don't agree with Tim over Caroline Spelman, I think she's well placed to build bridges with discontented associations. When Caroline is unscripted she's quite brilliant, one of our best. It's only when she's reading word for word she sounds, er, scripted. It's best when it comes from the heart with Caroline.

But I didn't hear Tim on Newsnight say these women were promoted only because of their gender. He was making the point that it's a fresh look, including more women - that's just a simple fact.

Disappointing overall. The reshuffle does seem to signal an establishment/appeasement direction for FP and security. But I suppose DC feels he has to win over the BBC and the liberal/left establishment. Yes, very disappointing that Dominic Grieve didn’t get promoted to the Shadow Justice post – certainly would have deserved it.

Caroline Spelman is a modern Conservative with social concern and (if someone on the other thread on the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle is correct) has socially conservative views. A good reassuring combination, demonstrating the Party has changed. Perhaps the Party Chairman role will be her chance to shine.

And there’s hope Chris Grayling does produce an onslaught on Gordon Brown’s record on pensions. But his move is a great loss to the transport portfolio.

Benedict Brogan believes her appointment will prove popular with activists, and I think he's right.

I went to a meeting tonight of my local branch committee, Daniel, and I have to say (based on my ludicrously small sample of seven activists!) that the appointment was welcomed there.

Francis Maude has done a job for us - in pushing through party reforms, and has overseen a lot of crucial backroom work (more trained agents, more groupings, new campaigning software, the volunteer taskforce, more attention to "development" seats etc etc), and I don't think he gets enough credit for these rather boring but very necessary improvements to our infrastructure that have been made on his watch.

I do, however, look forward to Caroline Spelman taking this agenda on and helping build new capability and confidence within the party, from steering CCHQ to encouraging Associations on the ground to share best practice in campaigning and get stuck in to our target seats.

But where is the communicator we need so badly?

Newsnight enjoyed quoting ConHome survey that Cameron's popularity among "grassroots" is low. True or not, those who take the survey are self-selecting among the membership and are mostly the conservative equivalent of Old Labour. Not sure that ConHome is an asset to the Tory Party. Suggest rename NeoConHome.

NeoConHome? No thanks! I'm a paleo-Conservative like Kirk and Nisbet.

Important shadow cabinet developments here:

I suppose if Cameron had gone further the Commentariat would have trotted out comparisons with Macmillan's 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1962, complete with witty 'quotations' such as 'lay down his friends for his life......'
The Spellman and Grayling appointments will strengthen the team - 'heir of Blair' Osborne seems sadly out of his depth in the roles he has been given. I remember Ken Clarke as one of our very best Chancellors; following the 'Black Wednesday' debacle he has a claim to be regarded as the architect of the prolonged period of growth for which GB takes the credit. He would have made a very credible Shadow Chancellor. Gove strikes me as 'Willetts Rides Again' and DW himself should perhaps have ridden off into the sunset for a well-earned rest.

Cameron & Osborne as Blair & Brown??? Don't make me laugh, more like Noddy & Big Ears!

According to the media, David Cameron has dropped Oliver Heald and left Dominic Grieve out of the Shadow Cabinet - but retained Francis Maud. Some mistake, surely?

The endless witterings on this thread about individuals totally unknown to the general public (and likely to remain so) proves how the Cameroon sector of the party remains in a 1950s timewarp of navel-gazing.

I'll wager that a large majority of the public are totally unaware that Dave has rearringed a few of the deckchairs on his leaky old tub. The more observant may have clocked the fact that an unknown with the memorably bizarre name of Grant Shapps is tipped to think great thoughts, and that a seriously homophobic woman of 36 is to become a life peer.

Newsnight let off La Warsi very lightly last night. I don't like NIck Griffin any more than she does, but the suggestion that an indigenous British citizen should 'get out of our country' was, well, a little weird.

Let's be honest, Spelman is a bit of lightweight. SHe has done some good things on Local Govt, but at a time when with the bugs in bins, rocketing council tax etc she should have been able to do really great things with the brief.

She's probably better with activists than Maude (not too difficult, at least she seems to like them and not despise them for their views). The most important thing to consider is that the person who has the closest brief to hers in Labour - party renewal, organisation etc- is Harriet Harman, whom Spelman will knock the socks off.

I know there are many very good talented and successful individual MPs who no doubt are excellent constituency MPs. I am sure the same also applies to other parties. That said, I cannot help but getting the impression that the sum of the parts is not greater than the whole. Perhaps that is why the net is being cast wider these days. Maybe even our politicians are finally beginning to realise that too many of them come from far too narrow a field, to wit they are professional politicians which is half the problem. It is a shame that professional politicians are over represented and those with what many see as real experience seem under-represented. Cameron should learn that lesson, a lesson which I do not think the A team was necessarily designed for.

After some research - I don't think we should send Sayeeda Warsi to the Lords.

I also note with displeasure that Patrick Mercer is not back yet.

Where is Dominic Grieve. He must be promoted.

Ed Vaizey should have been made Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary. He has done an outstanding job with the Arts brief in a very short space of time. He is very highly regarded and so obviously made for that job.

He has done an outstanding job with the Arts brief in a very short space of time

So outstanding that nobody outside his fan club knows anything about it.

Care to tell us what he's done?

Agreed. i also think Patrick Mercer is an under-used asset.

Dominic Grieve must be wondering what he has to do to get a shadow cabinet post. He has been a star performer especially on tv. He is extremely articulate and has travelled all over the country visiting different communities as tory spokesperson on community cohesion. He is principled enough to give his view on grammar schools and his reward is that he stays where he is and someone who probably doesn't have half the experience as him is appointed spokesperson on community cohesion. And then we wonder why we remain in opposition and are can't get anywhere in the polls.

Traditional Tory: 1. Ed has established a Task Force chaired by Sir John Tusa, one of the most distinguished Arts administrators and leaders in the country. Worth taking a look. 2. He has visited Arts organisations large and small across the whole country and not confined himself to London. 3. He understands the DCMS agenda and believes in it. Read any of the parliamentary debates on broadcasting and the BBC. Maybe not enough people do know about it, but I think we should acknowledge someone who has actually made something of this brief - unlike many of his predecessors - and one where the government can be found seriously wanting.

Adam and Dave should realise that Dominic Grieve was not promoted because he won a grammar school policy concession from Cameron.

This reshuffle is a step in the right direction. I wish Caroline Spellman well. Good opportunity to bring a bit of common sense into matters... like scrapping the 50/50 quota for candidates and allowing all people to compete on merit. After all I believe that CS was promoted on merit and not because she was a woman.

Finally lets stop harking back to yesterdays people. Remember that we lost the last election not because of our policies (which everybody actually liked until they heard they were ours), no we lost because people hated the old guard MP's like...... (you chose the names)

Where are all the usual complaints about stacking the senior reaches of the party full of Old Etonians? After all, Cameron has put all his Eton chums in the Shadow Cabinet hasn't he? For a start there's Letwin and, er...sorry, that's it, Ed.

Oh dear how very disappointing for the paranoid anti-Etonians.

On a different tack, it's interesting that Cameron has followed Brown in putting people into the House of Lords specifically to join the Front Bench. This development needs addressing by those in both parties who are so keen on an elected second chamber, or even a chamber with a set ratio of 80/20 or whatever between life peers and elected peers. How will the flexibility of the present system be continued with any of the new models? So, first task for Nick Herbert etc, junk any dalliance with an elected second Chamber and then challenge the Labour Party strongly on this point.

Having said that, I have some misgivings about Sayeeda Warsi. Whilst it is appreciated she is going as a "working peer", there should be a hurdle of some greater achievements in life first. She will now be a peer for life remember (reforms excepted). Dame Pauline can be fully justified for a peerage on merit even if she were not joining the Shadow Cabinet. Wouldn't it have been better to put Sayeeda up in the first winnable by-election if her talents are so vitally required? Or to have been grooming her for the last year to be blooded as the candidate for Mayor of London?

Another missed opportunity. He really need not have bothered.

'Adam and Dave should realise that Dominic Grieve was not promoted because he won a grammar school policy concession from Cameron.'

Doesn't that show a strength than a weakness? We can't afford to bypass people like Dominic Grieve so that we get a gender or ethnic balance. Promoting people on merit is what the party has stood for and this is a principle we should adhere to. As the editor has said elsewhere when discussing the re-shuffle, gender had a part to play in the promotion of some - this will often mean that the most suitable person for the job misses out.

Was this really 'a resuffle for women'?

It seems to me that of all the women only two, Theresa Villiers and Baroness Anelay, are actually shadowing full Cabinet posts:

Caroline Spelman and Theresa May share the task of shadowing Harriet Harman between them.
Cheryl Gillam only shadows part of Peter Hain's post, the main role is shadowed by the energetic Chris Grayling.
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and Sayeeda Warsi's opposite numbers are not in the Cabinet.
Cameron has only avoided having an overwhelmingly male Shadow Cabinet by swelling the number of people round the table to thirty, and including women to whom he hasn't actually given full Cabinet jobs to shadow.

Surely there is more than one Conservative women in the House of Commons who can take on one of Brown's Cabinet on her own? Isn't there?

I bet Gove can't wait to get his hands on Balls.

One of the more interesting moves is Philip Hammond from Pensions to Chief Secretary.
Whilst initially looking like a demotion, I suspect this move is to put more power into the Treasury team and to tackle concerns that George Osborne lacks suitable experience for the Chancellor role, as Philip is a technical heavyweight and to have a frontline politician to handle Treasury matters whilst George is off doing political strategy matters.

It also raises the question of whether there will now be some formulation of tax policy with the election in mind, and maybe that Philip might actually be Chancellor in the case of an election victory.

The reshuffle represents an opportunity lost. Why was the Chief Whip not dumped and replaced by Andrew Mackay? - a bit of serious political nous required here. Why was Osborne not moved - he is upsetting various activists around the country and the MPs don't like his arrogance. Villiers is grossly over-promoted and should have gone and Fox is well past his sell-by date. Maude has had to fall on his sword but, actually, has done an excellent job in forcing through the necessary reforms. Maples is very good and should be Party Chairman.
What DC needs to do is not to panic, to offer a little bit of TLC to the membership and to ignore the lunatic fringes like the Wintertons and Edward Leigh. They are the cause of past problems and defeats and must be marginalised.

Why do Conservative Education spokesmen always look like such geeks? Most teachers hate people who look that geeky - they're the kids who hang around at the end of a lessons and try and talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter.

Not sure about the Patterson move, you are a a bit too sanguine about it. OK so he is in the much enlarged Shadow Cabinet (methinks Dave should have a quick read of Parkinson's Law) but in the Northern Ieland position. What with devolved powers - and more to come - it seems to me like promotion into the attic - well done and we will close the hatch when you are up there. To me it looks like a silencer rather than anything positive.

The reshuffle was a missed opportunity. Osbourne SHOULD have been moved elsewhere, and Hague installed as Shadow Chancellor. What on earth is Spelman doing as Party Chair?! The job had Boris written all over it. David Trimble should have been given a job in the Shadow Cabinet! Backbench talent like Dorries and Afriye should have been elevated too. I'm not surprised Vaizey was not promoted- too much of a 'wet' media figure. We need a shadow cabinet WE can get excited about. At least he didn't give Ken Clarke a job!

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