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I think it's an excellent and punchy reshuffle, mixing freshness and experience. Ken Clarke has already stated that he will not oppose our line on the euro. Ken's return is most welcome - he left our economy in very good shape in 1997 - and his contributions to getting the economy back on its feet will be extremely valuable.
Barack Obama is unlikely to make a scrap of difference to the fortunes of Messrs Brown & Cameron.
My loyal advice to David Cameron now would be to try to make his team household names.

KC - good.

Eric Pickles - bad.

I'm very please with the new appointments, well done Mr. Cameron.
Roll on next election!

Yes, roll on the Euros.

Come and hear Eric Pickles at the Beckenham Association dinner Thursday 29th January. Tickets £36 from [email protected] 0208 650 1944

I am happy with the changes in the Shadow Cabinet.

As for Obama, I agree with whoever it was that said that Obama is a US version of Teflon Tony. The good thing for the Yanks is that they chuck their presidents out after 8 years.

Obsession with triviality. The world economy is on the brink and we're getting excited asbout a game of musical chairs. All [shadow] cabinets get reshuffled to make sure that no politician gets the chance to learn what he's talking about.

Concentrate please on what matters. - -
When all is said and done the whole of the economic package is a great gamble because Darling has still not forced the banks to disclose their toxic assets. So consequently nobody has the slightest idea of how much money is at risk! Until that position is clear no bank will trust another bank and nobody can find out yet just how indebted Darling - Brown expect us to be when things do start to improve.

One thing is certain and that is the astronomical indebtedness forecast by the Chancellor will look like chickenfeed when the truth is known. And STILL none of the parties will talk of what will have to be done if we are once again to be an economic giant in the world - cutting government expenditure -drastically! It's not an option - IT WILL HAPPEN so we might as well be prepared properly. We are not prepared now

Obama ?? How that get in here ?

Obama has realigned his inaugural and is personally going to walk to it barefoot on the Potomac

There was know don't know option available on the Obama question.

Quite right, Christina: none of the parties will talk about the financial devastation yet to overwhelm us. But don't you remember that when not only David Cameron tried to be honest with the British public and warn of tough times ahead and George Osborne similarly warned of a run on the Euro, but Alistair Darling himself told us to brace ourselves, they were chided left, right and centre (excuse the pun) for upsetting the British public's fragile sensibilities, and lost approval points from voters?
I think that Mr Clarke's role will, initially, be to quash the loathsome Mandelson in his own inimitable way, and put a spoke in the wheel of Labour's business policies at every turn. And about time too. (I thought that it had been made abundantly clear - on ConHome, as well as the news - that Mr Clarke is going to toe the Party line on the Europe question?) Shame that David Davis hasn't returned as Home Secretary: a man of principles, integrity and intelligence, and great strength of character; just what one needs to quash that domineering nightmare in polyester suiting, Jacqui Smith.
I sincerely Hate to agree with Janet Daley, but her piece in the DT today on Obama actually has the ring of truth - that he's a lot more moderate than we've been led to believe, and will be holding on to several key Republican policies.

Good Lord - I meant a run on the Pound...

DD as shadow home sec would have been good or at least as spokesman on civil liberties.

Ken Clark I have mixed feelings on since he has far to many outside interests for comfort and backs euro policies that severely undermine our sovereignty.

Eric Pickles is a lot harder than people think and will be good for party discipline. Given the choices why not

Theresa Villiers has been consistantly out of her depth. She should spend some more time on the back benches.

Absolutely delighted that Eric Pickles is Party Chairman!

Generally pleased that Ken Clarke has returned but a little apprehensive about the possiblity for division that it has opened up. The media will be really trying to lure him into saying something embarrassing over the next few weeks. I just hope that he doesn't fall into the trap.

How can Cameron keep underperformers like Maude, Ainsworth and Willetts? Does he lack the guts to sack them?

Ken Clarke will split the Shadow Cabinet and the Parliamentary party. He supported the Lisbon Treaty and has nothing but contempt for many of his colleagues.

Christina Speight is quite right when she says that we have no idea the hole we are in right now.

But Mara is right is saying that, sadly, if we do talk about it, we may kill our chances of being elected.

At the moment, the UK voters are mostly still floating on their dreamclouds. How many people have you heard say: "This is mostly the media's fault. We are only in a recession because they keep spreading doom and gloom. If they stop doing that everything we be all right again."

This basic mistake is being made all over the country. Even with all that's going on there's still a huge portion of the electorate who thinks its a brief, transitory thing. That's its mostly about "confidence", as we keep being told. That's precisely why Gordon has retained even the low 30's.

When the truth does come out, and it will, it will become clear that we are not just in a slump. Not just in a recession. We are on the road to financial ruin, and we are a lot further down that road than people are yet willing to accept.

In my opinion, massive, and I do mean MASSIVE, changes are coming. We can and we will get through it. But people are going to be writing about this period of our history for a long, long time.

I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But I doubt it. Gordon is physically and mentally unable to make the necessary changes fast enough to avert it. So all his plans and schemes are to 'delay' it. To win a few more months, whatever the cost down the line. To cling to power and hope a miracle happens.

I don't know if it counts as a promotion for Eric Pickles to be made Chairman, but I think it could be a sad day for local government policy. As Shadow DCLG Eric has been fantastic at smacking bin taxes, revaluation on nice areas, high council tax, politically correct busybody councils and so on, including standing up to "conservative" councils who have been going down the high tax route. Will Spelman be as firm? I'm worried that she won't.

Hopefully Pickles will keep up his focus on discipline as Chairman, and Spelman will follow his excellent lead. If she goes soft on taxes in particular it will be a great loss to the Party and to the country.

Pickles is the perfect contrast to the prep school debating society replicants and every success to him. Less pretty finely figured veneer and more solid Tory hardwood needed and Pickles is the man.

As was Kenny but he blew it for quite a few of us grassrootery people not by embracing UKIP's nemesis but by failing to embrace another loony fringe: England. As an Anglo-loony I did take exception to being described as an irrelevant niggle and his Constitutional Armada or Task Force or whatever being used as a vehicle to broadside the English Question irritants.

But flip. One out of two ain't bad. Eric, any views about EQ? RBS is awash with our money and I wonder why?

These changes worry me, there is no roll the David Davis, so what is happening about civil liberties. I wounder if Cameron has any commitment to this area, or will just leave the distruction of our hard one liberties by the present goverment in place?

Clarke's first hiccup - attacking Maggie?

Next month Hansard publishes a selection of Commons speeches to mark the centenary of its official reports (ie the daily report of who has said what in the Commons).

Guess which major political figure chose Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech as his favourite of all time?

Yup, Kenneth Clarke decided that the former Chancellor's savage attack on Margaret Thatcher, which many believe led to her downfall, was the finest oratory of all. Wonder what the Tory backbenches, let alone activists, will think of that one?

From the ES

Geoffrey Howe's speech was good though. It highlighted her key flaws. So what if it caused trouble, it was bringing up the problems that existed (MTs leadership style and policy differences) and consolidated it into a pretty effective piece of oratory.

Eric Pickles is a great choice.

Was against Clark for 'team ' reasons, but he is a great political heavyweight and should be more than a match for Mandelson. Cameron has got this one spot on.

As for Europe I do not think that will be an issue within the Tory Party, Clark must realise the game is over, particularly with the Eurozone being under speculation as to its future??? Who would have thought it? Not Clark!!

Steve tierney @ 1737 - "At the moment, the UK voters are mostly still floating on their dreamclouds. How many people have you heard say: "This is mostly the media's fault. We are only in a recession because they keep spreading doom and gloom. If they stop doing that everything we be all right again"

Not quite! The YouGov poll published vhere was quite clear on this. As I commented then "This shows that at last the public has woken up to the scale of the the collapse about to hit us!

With 92% saying the economy was ‘very bad” (52%) or ‘quite bad” (40%) there can be no doubt of that.

Complacency is over. But equally the public do not really know where to turn to put things right. At the moment thay are favouring the Tories. "

Those are astonishing figures.

David Davis would be best used in a role such as 'WASTE MANAGEMENT'. He was superb on the Public Accounts Committee and then, as Shadow Home Secretary, in hounding Beverley Hughes, Blunkett and Clarke into resignation.
He would identify government waste and get the story across in a way that the Conservatives currently fail to do. For example we have literally NEVER heard Brown being questioned on non-government jobs and its IT ineptidude. The public is seething over both as well as with MPs taking the p*ss on blocking expenses details. DD's the boy for all this and would respond to a 'looser' job role than Home Sec.

Yes but will Eric turn Worcester Woman on?

I'm delighted at the well-deserved promotion for Chris Grayling. He has been excellent in every department he has shadowed, and will be a fine Shadow Home Secretary.

I do think Eric Pickles will prove to be a good choice as Chairman. He is determined and a good fighter, and is popular and down to earth. He's also good at getting press coverage. He will be missed at Local Govt though. The Party Chairman doesn't need to appeal to Worcester woman. The Leader can do that!

At the moment I'm giving Ken Clarke the benefit of the doubt. I think Cameron was right to include him in the Shadow Cabinet. He'll add weight to it in more ways than one! But he must stick to his word on not opposing Cameron's line on Europe, and I have difficulty trusting him on that. I do agree that the media will be trying to force him into speaking on Europe, and there is a danger he will split the party.

Delighted at Ken Clark back in Shadow Cabinet.
Delighted at Eric Pickles as Chairman.
Delighted at Obama as President of USA, I feel he will be a friend to Great Britain whether Brown or Cameron is the PM.

Three hits!

Please consider referring to us as "Euro-Realists", for this is what we are. As opposed to jumping on the good guy, bad guy bandwagon which paints realists as something you should stay away from.

Realism is nothing to be afraid of. It can sometimes shake you up a bit, but only the most fragile will snuff it with a heart attack when reality and commonsense is brought back to our country.

Meanwhile, I recommend that "Euro-Delusionists" should try to stay calm.

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