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Glad that most people like the reshuffle. Suprised that so many people have a view on the Obama effect. We really don't know yet what effect (if any) he will have on British party politics.

Just seeing Ken Clarke back on the front bench yesterday has brought the prospect of Government that bit closer.

@Malcolm: None I should think.

So the divisions that the BBC tried painting in yesterday's news bulletins are, er, bogus.

Pickles to Party Chairman was a good move and Grayling to Shadow HO puts a respected and hard-working 'terrier' opposite 'The Lollipop Lady', but why on earth keep Spelman on the Fromt Bench at all? - same old potential 'Tory Sleaze' baggage to contend with, different job title...

No UKIP comments yet?

No Tories have understood the current economic mess, and opposed the failed actions from the onset like John Redwood and Andrew Lilico.

John Redwood clearly should be on the Front Bench economic team.

Osborne's strategy of agreeing with the government when they implement a strategy then attacking them when it fails, is not the 'win-win' he may suppose it to be.

A strong front bench that will have Mandelson, Brown et al running scared. The only weakness would appear to be Caroline Spelman. Perhaps David Davis would have been a better bet. I look forward to Ken getting stuck into them!
Martyn, SW France.

This is going to be a good fighting team to take us up to the Election. Well balanced and the only quibbling voices seem to be the usual ones.
I have only just caught up with the final touches of the reshuffle and am particularly pleased that my own MP, Greg Hands has a well deserved promotion to the Treasury Team!

I can not make out moving Nick Herbert to Environment? Nick is one of the hardest working people in the party. He has good judgement and is one of the few that actually gets things done - can anyone enlighten me as to why such a move would take place?

That 70%-22% will swap around when Clarke starts running his mouth.

Not having a go at ConservativeHome, but from my experience here on the ground the majority of Tories I know will be voting UKIP in the European Elections thanks to this appointment.

Two big mistakes in this re-shuffle. The first is the failure, yet again, to include John Redwood, who is by far our best weapon on economic matters. The second is the inclusion of Ken Clarke. He has shown over a number of years that he is not in tune with the views of the Party or the electorate at large when it comes to matters relating to the E.U.
It is ironic that the reason usually given for not including Redwood is that he is said not to be a "team player". Has there ever been a better example than ken Clarke of someone who refuses to play for the team? he even shared a platform with Labour top brass on matters European !!!!!

Now just need to get them all to sign the EDM on expenses so show that they are more in touch with the public than labour...


Conservatives aren't showing too well at the moment. And with Camerons public commitment ending sleaze etc... it won't look good if the tories let the change through (even the welsh assembly told harman where she could shove it! http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=37516%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&SESSION=899).

Tim. Out of interest, who featured in the top 5 of politicians voters thought should have been given shadow posts?

The Tory Party's achilles heel after this useful reshuffle is leaving Osborne in place (or at least bringing in Redwood as a high profile supporting role).

Clearly the party's attacks on the Government's failed strategy during this Credit Crunch would be strengthened enormously if the attacks came from someone who opposed them in the first place!

To grumpy old man,

I'll be blogging that question later/ tmrw.


Katy, my take on the Nick Herbert move is this. Firstly, Environment is and should be a major portfolio. Peter Ainsworth was pretty invisible in the row, and his opposite number Hilary Benn has also been pretty ineffective. But they shouldn't be! Just because climate change has been hived off, doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of other important environmental issues. Also, we need a strong player to appeal to rural communities. Just because we want to sort out inner cities doesn't mean we should forget the countryside. In government, Margaret Beckett and David Miliband both held this post before going on to be Foreign Secretary.

Secondly, Nick's biography on conservatives.com shows an ongoing passion for rural affairs: "Nick is a campaigner who has fought for a number of prominent causes: defending the rural way of life ...
Nick was born in 1963, went to school at Haileybury and won an Open Exhibition to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read Law and Land Economy ...In the 1997 election, Nick stood as Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Berwick Upon Tweed, one of the most rural seats in England. He is passionate about defending rural communities and our way of life and protecting the countryside from unsustainable development. From 1990 to 1996, he worked for the British Field Sports Society, becoming its Director of Political Affairs, and he played a leading role in setting up the Countryside Movement, which became the Countryside Alliance.

Finally, despite what some people say, we have enough talent to have a star in every single shadow cabinet position. Nick is one of our many stars, but there are more senior ones than him. Any shadow secretary of state position should be considered important, and we should stop thinking that our best players should fill the top 5 positions, and then anyone else can have the rest. Our top 25 players should be filling the top 25 jobs!

Finally, Cameron considers Environment vital, as well he should. He started well with his "Vote Blue, Go Green!" but that has been lost. He obviously wanted a big hitter in the post to really sell the Tories environmental message. I think either him or Caroline Spelman were the two best candidates for this post.

Posted by: David Graves-Moore | January 20, 2009 at 09:52

Two big mistakes in this re-shuffle. The first is the failure, yet again, to include John Redwood, who is by far our best weapon on economic matters.

The reason Redwood was not appointed, other than the fact that he is an enormous turn-off to voters, is that the Opposition broadly supports the government's economic policy, and Redwood is pretty much against it. If you complain about bank recapitalisation, insurance against bad debt, loan guarantees to businesses or low interest rates, you are opposing current Tory policy.

That said, it really doesn't matter what the Tories say - they'll still get in in 2010.

It's a bit like property development programs up to the crunch, all you had to do was buy a house and sit on it for three months and you could sell it at a profit. Instead, they wasted their money putting in a bathroom or knocking down a wall; they make less money than they otherwise would, but instead they thought they were awfully clever because they'd made some.

The positive thing Cameron has done for the Tories has made the Tory party potentially electable by not being Hague, Howard or, perish the thought, IDS. Other than that, he really needs to do nothing else.

OBAMA? YO MAMMA he will be the same as Clinton - promises promises but trying to please all will please none


My final thoughts on the reshuffle!

Looking through the list of MPs I can immediately see at least 11 MPs who could or should be in the shadow cabinet or the cabinet if we win.

Adam Afriyie (either attending as Shadow Innovation Minister, or in as Shadow Innovation Secretary or Shadow Culture Secretary), David Davis (Defence Secretary?), IDS (possible new future Communities and Social Justice Secretary?), Damian Green (Transport, Justice, Universities, attending in current role, etc.), Justine Greening (Chief Secretary), Eleanor Laing (Scotland), Andrew Mackay (Chief Whip, with McLoughlin attending as Shadow Employment Minister to take on McNumpty), Maria Miller (Children, Wales), John Redwood (Business in government, not opposition), Rifkind (Nations in government), Ed Vaizey (Culture or Cabinet Office, or Universities Minister). I'm sure others could add to that list, but really think that defies the charge that we're short of talent. Immediately there are half a cabinet worth of MPs who could do cabinet jobs!

Promotions I would have liked to have seen from the back benches to the front bench include Nadine Dorries (Health), Michael Fallon (Treasury or Business), Julie Kirkbride (Culture or Children), Patrick Mercer (Defence or Home Affairs), Hugo Swire (Arts), Andrew Tyrie (Treasury), and Lord Trimble (Shadow Minister for the Middle East).

However, the only other really obvious sacking from the shadow cabinet should have been David Mundell, and I suspect he is only retained because he is the only Tory MP for a Scottish Constituency. Laing really should have his job.

It made sense to keep Greg Clark in place as he only started his job in October, Hunt because of the Olympics, and Villiers at the moment because of Heathrow.

Cameron was absolutely spot on sacking Ainsworth, bringing back Clarke, promoting Grayling and Pickles, and putting Grieve, Herbert and Spelman where he did. I will wait to see how May does before I judge her.

Final thought from watching Michael Howard last night on the news - isn't he good?!

Resident leftie has effectively admitted what all of the country's leading politicians are contemplating but do not dare to say out loud: to stay in/get into office, they will destroy the value of Sterling, massively increase the public debt/tax burden and shred the value of private savings. This is what the gorgeous pouting Rachel Sylvester describes as abandoning ideological purity in order to get elected.

Obama will have only one effect - if he proceeds with a troop surge in Afghanistan. Yes, we're told he's cool on us Brits and the French and Germans are getting in there first, but let's face it, only our troops lay down their lives in numbers to please the US President. So, assuming Obama does proceed in Afghanistan, will Gordon Brown sign up to a surge before an election. I can't see it being remotely popular, the lessons of history tells us it is certain to end in misery.

Now is the time to bring back David Davis to the Front Bench.

I think Chris Grayling will be an excellent Home Secretary. I can only think he didn't get ratings in the 70s like the others because some people would rather have had David Davis back (myself included). I hope that Grayling's brilliant work-rate in such a senior position will be an example to others who ought to now be pulling their fingers out.

I agree with the second half of lefties post

2010 is for the cameron to lose, and he would have to do something really mad for that to happen.

A lot of stuff is entirely irrelevant, because the tories will win pretty much whatever they do.

However, the first part is wrong. Brown needs this financial crisis to be as big/dramatic as possible he needs a 'good crisis to bury bad debts' - with trillions being waved about for the banks, noone will notice the the 'small' amounts being diverted to cover up his small(?!) mistakes.

Whatever the declared policy, Browns motivaiton is to make himself look good; tory motivation would be to fix the problem.

How trivial and parochial can you get? The country HAS fallen over the edge and Cameron has this week talked Green rubbish and shuffled his pack. He is probably right in what he's done with his people but outside the Westminster loop, who cares?

Our country must be saved and that's all that matters.

Redwood should replace Osborne. John Redwood was on Newsnight recently and on Question Time. The audience showed that he is now appreciated. He was brilliantly lucid with a light touch, and not a turn off any more.

Redwood could become the Tebbitt of his day where as Clarke will just get as fat as Pickles.

Leftie, I agree with much you say but take issue with you on:

"The reason Redwood was not appointed, other than the fact that he is an enormous turn-off to voters..."

The fact is John Redwood keeps on being returned by the voters in his constituency. He might be a bit of a turn off in a high level post like chancellor (more than Brown was? Unlikely) but his intellect and business experience just have to be utilised in government.

Given that Osborne appears to be settled in his present job, I would love to see John Redwood as his First Secretary - but that will probably have to wait until after the GE now.

I think resident leftie has it pretty much bang on. The fact that Redwood is liked by market-liberals and large numbers of the grassroots (me included) is a good indication of why he needs to be saved until after the election.

He IS a turnoff to voters, and in any case, is probably better off remaining on the backbenches to do his free-thinking. If he were on the frontbench, I can't see DC putting up with his sensible ideas.

I hope Dave's social engineering to cloud over his own background doesn't mean talented people are always going to be overlooked - Philip Dunne for example and more importantly Hugo Swire who was excellent in the culture brief but sacked for being an old Etonian. We are an all inclusive party and it would be a mistake to replace one prejudice with another.

I was against the return of Kenneth Clarke to the Front Bench as member of the Shadow Cabinet. While I had no doubts about his ability, I thought he was a divise character and with his well-rehearsed views on the EU and EMU, I could only see the re-opening of old wounds which would have been just what we don`t need in the run-up to an election. or afterwards if it comes to that.
However I have seen the TV interviews since his new appointment came into effect and I must say I was pleased to hear the tone he adopted about policy, particularly on the matter of Europe in all its manifestations. I really hope that he will continue to acknowledge the fact that Party policy is settled and not in a Europhile mould that might have suited him. Agreeing to disagree is a grown-up approach and I hope for all our sakes that this will continue. If it does I will be delighted to have been proved wrong. We cannot afford to ignore talent wherever it is availablewithin the Party

Kenneth Clarke managed to reinforce the impression that the public have of Westminster being just an exclusive club where behind the scenes all the members are having a laugh, literally, at the public's expense. It was good of him to let us know how well he gets along with Mandelson. I am sure that as soon as he has a go at Mandy's policies in the commons, he will be standing the chap a drink, subsidised by the public and telling him not to take much notice of what he had said as it was just to keep the punters happy.

Of course we need John Redwood on the front bench. Desperate times need big brains not Big Beasts

Patrick Mercer, infuriated grassroot Tories and his fellow MPs by agreeing to work for Gordon Brown.

The former frontbencher handed the Prime Minister a cheap propaganda victory. Mr Cameron believed that by helping Mr Brown, Mr Mercer gave the impression that their party was in turmoil.

Asked if he had any regrets Mr Mercer said that he did not regret it at all adding "I'm not in politics to be a member of the Conservative Party first and foremost", which was somewhat strange because the Tory MP also said "I have pledged myself to the constituency" and was regarded by some to be a good Tory. LOL

Some infuriated grassroot Tories seem to believe it was not a noble cause that he had embarked upon but rather it was a shabby act of treachery and nationally their displeasure bombarded his office to the point that Mr Mercer said: "It was as if I'd assassinated the pope or something", later news came that he wanted to go "even further into the heart of Labour", but that his offer was politely declined.

All things considered and under the circumstances Patrick Mercer did very well, he is the chairman of the House of Commons’ counter-terrorism sub-committee, a position for which he is well suited, and a position from which he should not rise for some years to come, providing of course, he fully understands the concept of loyalty to one’s boss, grassroots Tories and constituents.

He cannot become a Tory MP and then decide to make his own rules forsaking loyalty; if he wanted to be an independent then he ought not to use the Tory Party to fulfil that independence. However, it seems to me that is exactly what he did and there should be no rewarding Defence or Home Affairs status for him at this time.

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