Sunday, January 18, 2009

Not so much revival as career reincarnation

Ken Clarke is back.

Sadly, that means that little Alan Duncan gets sidelined (is there some sort of rule that embarassing directorships are a pre-requisite for shadowing the DBERR post - Duncan had his links to the oil companies and Clarke has famously been a director of BAT?) for some as yet unidentified job. This current economic crisis is bringing any number of politicos back to the front.

This is an indication that Cameron knows that his current cabinet just don't have the power to hit back at the government and for all the spin, Gideon Osborne can't be happy at having a big beast like Ken back in the Tory paddock. It is an indication of the depth of the hole that the Tories feel themselves to be in that Cameron will take the risk of reviving a politician whose very presence on the front bench also revives the barely covered wound of Europe that has the power to divide the party. It appears that Redwood has already come out against Clarke's return and Cameron has agreed to differ with Clarke over European issues. How long that truce can be held, particularly when business and economic issues tend to transcend borders, remains to be seen.

However, Labour would be foolish to write off Clarke's return. The man has a wealth of experience and competence and, perhaps crucially, he generates a respect that eludes Cameron and Osborne. But, the Europe issue could be interesting, particularly in the run up to the European elections in June this year.


Anonymous said...

So a 14% lead in the polls (tonight's latest poll and by no means out of line with other polls in the past few days) is a deep hole to be in? I bet you wish Labour was in a hole like that!

Fergus said...

Hmm, the discussions about bringing Clarke back were finalised at George Osborne's house according to press reports, so he clearly played a significant role in the appointment. And you clearly haven't been listening to Ken himself on the issue of Europe and the Euro.

As to the "lack of respect" generated by David Cameron - read Mike Smithson at Political Beeting. There appears to be a significant positive relationship between the amount of press coverage that David Cameron gets and the Conservatives' opinion poll ratings. Seems that the more people see of him the more they like him.

Fergus said...

"Political Beeting"? Well, he is a Lib Dem, I suppose. I meant "Political Betting"!