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I would have thought that the committee should also include someone from the trade unions as well if the party is not going to just look like the party of business again.

I do enjoy 'Dave's' monthly repositioning conference. It makes me laugh so much and cheers me up for the week.

The purpose of a commercial business is to maximise the returns to its owners (share holders) - what the share holders do with those returns is up to the individual shareholders (maybe selfish, maybe public spritied etc). Asking businesses to make 'morality' judgements is just plain wrong because it is entirely subjective (and open to abuse - particularly over interpretation).

While MPs interpret expenses rules in whatever way enriches them the most within the letter of the law(?) (vis. the home secretary), they are not in a position to lecture anyone on 'doing the right thing'.

No Redwood , no Fallon!

Theresa May??? He can't be serious!!! She is utterly clueless on economic and financial issues.

BTW, has Hague been demoted to only "senior member of the Shadow Cabinet"? Sloppy Jonathan!

I second Iain.

John Redwood's blog has been the most coherent critique of what has been done and what should be done.

This is a good initiative and should be used to keep the British public updated every two weeks on the recession and the Conservative response. Good also to see some experienced 'real-life' people involved like Christopher Gent and Simon Wolfson. I should also like to see major figures from the manufacturing industry invited and a representative from the trades unions. Make this a broad church to speak for the nation at a time of crisis.

"The Government didn't so much shut the door after the horse had bolted, as shut the door after the horse had won the 3.20 at Uttoxeter,"

He does say some very silly things now and then.

On the other hand this "Economic Recovery Committee" is overdue but welcomed. Osborne, Clark and Letwin working together has to be good news.

Jack Sone's "should also include someone from the trade unions" isn't such a ridiculous suggestion, but who?
Eric Schmidt's appointment shows that D.C. is thinking outside of the box and is wise in my opinion.
As a person who used to benefit from a bonus when working for a Financial institution. I can assure D.C. that Clerks are well aware that their bonus is related to productivity and corporate profit. What would be totally unexecptable would be for the Boardroom and senior staff to still get a bonus whilst the lower level staff did not.

"Theresa May??? He can't be serious!!!"

She heads a department that contains some very fine MP's and I assume she will be working with them. In other-words its not as daft as it looks.

"No Redwood , no Fallon!"

Well spotted, I wonder why? Any ideas? Seems a golden opportunity has passed D.C. by.

I give up. May and no Redwood. What does Mr Cameron know that we do not?

I speculate.

KClarke "If Redwood is on I am out"

Do we know whether John Redwood actually wanted to be on the committee? Perhaps being on the outside and free to make a coherent critique is a good place for him, at least while in opposition.

I also second Iain - and no Ruth Lea either?

I welcome this concentration on essential issues; people like Baroness Noakes will add rigour to the proceedings.

I also endorse Iain's and John Broughton's comments but I can see that David Cameron will not be deflected by our suggestions. I wonder what the real reason is and just hope that when in government we deploy our best talent.

Where are the reports of Cameron's monthly press conference on BBCi and news.bbc.co.uk ???
It is now over an hour after Jonathan put his report on here.


Its a committee to deflect the 'do nothing' charge and a bit of a gimmick. These committees never work as business leaders take decisions based purely on business reasons and politicians take decisions based on electoral impact. This will be disbanded in no time like many others before it.

David, and Co have you considered the possibility that perhaps John Redwood doesn't want to join this committee?

Why do we always have to assume the worst -hat Redwood is itching to be a part of things and Cameron is shutting him out?

This sounds a tad like the George Osborne led committee of economic heads I suggested a few months back, but I notice there's not an economist amongst them and George Osborne isn't chairing it. Who's the shadow chancellor DC or GO? - Secondly, there are no "alternate thinkers", like John Redwood, Michael Fallon, or an economist with some idea of how to bring proper regulation to the city whilst still maintaining enough of its freedom to say it's a free market. How about another person in there to look at government spending and our annual dose of European tax pain?

Cup of tea anyone?

Wasn't Sir Brian Pitman, David Cameron's old boss at Carlton TV incidentally?

Biscuits anyone?

Very surprised at the omission of Redwood...

Oh I forgot to say, on Lord Ashcroft's tax status Cameron did also say he would support legislation defining the tax status requirements for sitting in the HOC or HOL.

"I would have thought that the committee should also include someone from the trade unions as well if the party is not going to just look like the party of business again."

What do trade unions have to do with economic recovery?

"KClarke "If Redwood is on I am out""

Be surprising for he was prepared to stand with Redwood in his leadership campaign.

An executive talking shop of 15 egos meeting for a rubber stamp session fortnightly for the next 3 - 6 months at which point, as the business people start to cancel, it will be announced that its work has been done.

Go Dave & George!

These pols are rather inexperienced and unsure of themselves and their colleagues, aren't they? Not to worry, they'll only be taking over the country in a year's time. Cue: management by the Civil Service and continued bloat of the public sector.

George should know what to do.

Oh dear. Another committee, another talking shop. Must take up a lot of time.

Wot no Redwood!!

wow, the next oligarchy is already preparing itself to fit in with Brownovitch's EUSSR UK.

last one out please turn off the light.

A committee of some of the talents

Too many people to be of any use. Remember the fact that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

A better committee would have been Osborne, Redwood, Ruth Lea and Ghent.

It took a while a deal of pressure to get Ken Clarke, back at the top table. We cannot know why Redwood has not yet been brought back, despite being beloved by the grass roots. It might well be that he isn't interested. Ken’s return has proven to be very beneficial indeed further uniting the party. I would like to see Redwood back but maybe it is not yet the moment. If I was D.C. I would want him in a high profile role after the general Election victory. Possible taking over from Theresa May. We will see, otherwise I am happy a good days work from D.C. and team.

Jonathan, I think you mean would Cameron DECLINE donations in your question. It reads a little funny, though you can get the answer if you read it carefully.

The reason Redwood is not in is for two reasons. Firstly he believes in the right-wing policies that lost the party the last two elections and secondly he is a disaster when he appears on television. I am afraid he comes over as someone from another planet and frankly turns the public off.

I quote from the preamble "Mr. Cameron stressed that this would be an executive body, rather than an advisory committee".
Is there someone out there who can tell me what this means? It`s gobbledegook to me, but perhaps I`m just dim.

Posted by: Edward Huxley | February 09, 2009 at 13:32

Well surely one executes and the other advises how to execute I'd have thought? - The economy that is.

Only thing is, is the economy has already been executed so maybe I'm a bit dim too.

Anybody ?

Sorry Tim,

I meant to put this on:-

( rather comical I thought ) lololol

BBC ( as usual ) -

"Gordon Brown has taken advice from a group of "wise men", such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, for several years. The Lib Dems set up their own economic recovery committee earlier this year".

Soooo funny !

Edward and rugfish.

In Business an executive commitee implements the grouping's objectives and activities whilst a advisory group just gives advice.
So he is making it plain that this group will have teeth and powers. Well I suppose he isn’t making it that plain. D.C. is using the language of corporation which may be a mistake.

My experience of committees: the smaller the better if you want to achieve anything. A committee of fifteen....oh dear!

The Conservative Party can do better than that. Cameron, Osborne have to be on the committee, as does Clarke, but the rest are from the bunch that has lost 3 elections in a row.

Gent is good news as is Wolfson, and Schmidt is an interesting choice (as the author of lex he has probably done more real work than the rest of them put together), but we have to question whether his experience of running software development at Sun or managing the PhD's at Google is going to create employment on Tyneside.

Noakes (accountant), Pitman (from the most tedious bank in the UK) and Middleton (Treasury) do not add much. Sassoon is probably a fair choice with a much broader view of the economy than the other bankers, but is not exactly a management guru.

Forget Redwood, Fallon and Lea who are all policy wonks with little real world experience. Where are all the company turnaround specialists like David James, the private equity whiz-kids (OK, forget the ones who are still active, there must be one or two retired PE specialists), all the business school gurus (even if we don't get one from Harvard, somebody at LBS should be able to show where the country is weak and what needs to be fixed)?

"Remember the fact that a camel is a horse designed by a committee."

LOL Yogi!!

To be fair though, as you and I both know, one very rarely if ever gets all the members of a Committee turning up at every meeting and it is clear that on this one representatives needed to be garnered from every political shadow department as well as the outside business experts.

So no Michael Fallon or John Redwoood. yet there are places for May and Osborne who have been spectacularly underwhelming throughout the economic crisis.

Dear God, what is Cameron up to?

Torylady at 12.11:

"David, and Co have you considered the possibility that perhaps John Redwood doesn't want to join this committee?".

Yes, I have and so I asked him on his blog (admittedly about joining the treasury team).
He said he would like to help in any "sensible" way.

I did suggest such a committee a while ago, to be led by then backbencher Ken Clarke. Better late than never!

This committee should have utilised the talents of John Redwood. As others have said it is too large a group, padded with lightweights such as May and Letwin. A small focused group of the best economic talents in the party would be much better.

Just make sure there's plenty of biscuits to go round. I suggest a good variety such as Royal Ascot. Also, a selection of fine quality teas in English bone china if anyone's still making it would be appropriate for such an auspicious occasion if I'm not being too trivial. It's just these things are important I feel.

On John Redwood. The ERC is not a beauty parade. Bedside manner is irrelevant. He has experience in the financial world. Understands the banking system rather better than Messrs Cameron Osborne and Clarke.

There are some issues in the leader's office that we are not privy to.

Yet many will find it strange that John Redwood was not invited to join this group.

He has confirmed this non invitation in his blog. He was answering a blogger question on the subject.

What is going on?

I don't think anything's "going on"! I just think David Cameron has chosen people from his top table as he has every right to do. Redwood and Fallon for all their undoubted expertise are not currently in the Shadow Cabinet. Letwin and May are.

And yes Sally - neither has much to offer sadly! Certainly on past performance.


You seem to have a problem with your Caps Lock, Blackday.

A little late to the party the idea of a Committee certainly is. Why has it taken so long and does this mean that Cameron hasnt looked for significant outside assistance on Tory economic policy before today's announcement? I do worry that this will be a long grass job. Perhaps too many similar schemes by the Government has stilted my enthusiasm for them...

As for his comments on Scotland, he has an irreconcilable split between his policy and Salmonds policy. He has talked about fighting SNP tooth and nail over independence and yet offers the olive branch over devolution, which the SNP has come out already and targeted for demolition. He has come out as a staunch Unionist and yet doesnt back it up with a declared Unionist policy regarding Scotland. His policy just makes little sense.


In fact almost nothing gets done without some sort of executive committee being formed. Its not going to be Labour guano err quango now is it.


Yes we would jump in a boat sail overseas and kill some locals, pinch some land, rape some girls and then go home. That was usually enough to reverse the economic recession we were in. If it failed the King would be usurped and it would all start over. Of course even then we had committees, and if they failed to come up with the right answer they could loose their heads.

I would be all in favour of a return to proper Monarchy, but the world has moved on.
The best thing about this initiative is that it sends the message that we are finally taking the economic depression seriously.
It is a forum in which the policies that we are so in need of can be thrashed out.

Sally, dear, I think the fact that Fallon-Rewdood are not in the Shadow Cabinet whilst Spelman-May-Warsi-Osborne are, sadly speaks volumes.

Quick follow up to David Belchamber @ 14.45 - in the latest John Redwood blog entry on what to do about the banks, a questioner called Savonarola asks JR at 1.09 if he was invited to join, and JR replies that he was not.

Forget Redwood, Fallon and Lea who are all policy wonks with little real world experience....
Posted by: Mark Williams | February 09, 2009 at 14:01

So where is the real world of David Cameron, George Osborne, David Willetts and Theresa May?

John Redwood has more real world experience thany any of the above - in investment banking on the boards of companies like Norcros. Yet again the "loyalists" display their double standards.

"I think the fact that Fallon-Rewdood are not in the Shadow Cabinet whilst Spelman-May-Warsi-Osborne are, sadly speaks volumes."

Markie My Pet it certainly does - just not in the way you think.

I'm glad he left that eco-loony Theresa Villiers off this Committee.

However, in better circumstances the Cons should have a Transport Advocate in the Shadow Cabinet who recognises that roads, rails and aiports are keys to national economic growth, not the play thing of rich boy environmentalists.

Sally Roberts - that image is more important than substance?

Not at all, will.b.

I think it a good idea but the proof will be in the pudding. Let's see what this group proposes before we start praising or damning individual members of it. It is what it says on the tin made up of people from the Shadow Cabinet with business/economic portfolios. That's why Redwood & Fallon are not on it. I do hope this committee seeks their advice though.

This is very good news, I wait with bated breath for some radical solutions!!

Second thoughts??

What is Theresa May doing on this Economic Committee???

Either this is serious or it is spin????


Go away and learn some economics - then you will see how right John Redwood has been.

However, I have seen hints on here that someone has a very ill relative to care for and doesn't want to be restored to the Shadow Cabinet etc. Is it JR? DD? We may know soon.

No Redwood, No Fallon, No Good.

A slightly worrying lack of economists, but plenty of businessmen connected to High Street brands...

Sir Christopher Gent (Vodafone founder)

He may have been a Young Conservative but he did NOT found Vodafone.

Vodafone was a subsidiary of RACAL and was run by Sir Gerry Whent CBE.

Chris Gent collected a £20 million Bonus for overpaying £114 billion for Mannesmann in a deal which later needed a £28 billion writeoff causing Britain's largest corporate loss in history.

Now RBS has bettered that - so maybe Sir Fred Goodwin could sit on this committee and explain why he did not learn from Gent's disaster when he overpaid for ABN-AMRO

Adam Hume:
"So where is the real world of David Cameron, George Osborne, David Willetts and Theresa May?"

Don't get me wrong. I think none of them are up to the task of defining a recovery strategy, and you can include Hague and Letwin in that number. Cameron, Osborne and Clarke would get on the committee ex officio, but it is crazy to look for expertise within the Houses of Parliament. Redwood may have been a banker, but it was mostly in government advisory work for privatisations. He may be clever but there are plenty of businessmen and even bankers with more relevant experience in creating businesses that generate employment.

"He may be clever but there are plenty of businessmen and even bankers with more relevant experience in creating businesses that generate employment."

Quite, isn't that part of the problem. We have a class of professional politicians, when what is needed is a recovery committee that has experience of the real world. Saying that it appears that our banks are being run by people who by and large have no Banking qualifications and seem to still be operating on the old school tie principle.
Is it any wonder that we are in a mess when this kind of separation between the vast majority of workers and the boardroom is endemic to Western business in general. It seems to me that meritocracy is ignored at our peril. D.C. should be trying to draft a number of high profile business men, and dare I say bankers into a COBRA like action committee. He has made a start, but the real experts are still thin on the ground. If this is to be anything more than just a pleasant little club, it will require full time commitment, and a deal of hard work from it participants. I consider this to be an important first step but D.C. will need to include a lot more business men, if he hopes to find real answers for our real problems.

Spot on Tom Tom re Gent, you beat me to it! Certainly two people who should have included whether they are either an MP or in the Shadow Cabinet or not are Howard Flight and John Redwood repectively. I would not be adverse to Fallon as well of course! The business/financial 'clout' of May/Letwin/Hammond fills me with horror. Yes and I do know Letwin was/is a Rothschild man.

I would like to see someone from the construction/manufacturing industry included on the committee, as well as some one who can represent the agricultural industry, as I believe a clear policy's on bringing agriculture and construction/manufacturing back to the forefront of the economy in this country, would be a good way to create new jobs and diversify our economy instead of being reliant on financial services as the current government have done.

Great to have all these experts on an advisory committee - but for goodness sake make sure that doesn't give them the means to effectively control policy. Don't forget that with expertise you also get vested interests.

I'm thrilled to see the Conservative Party is mature and has enough self-security to seek opinions outside of itself.

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