Saturday, May 08, 2010

DIY Tips: How to Build a Cabinet

The first time I built a bedroom cupboard it ended up with all the drawers the right way up and the frame and doors upside down. However, today's challenge is a mental one, rather than needing any physical dexterity, so perhaps I may do better (and perhaps not!).

Let's assume for a moment that the Tories and LibDems do form a coalition. Who would you appoint to the various roles? To make it more fun (a) you don't have to fill all the offices and (b) you can have a serious list or a fun or even mischievous list. Here is mine.

Prime Minister: David Cameron
Chancellor: Ken Clarke, because he's done it before and would reassure the City.
Foreign Secretary: William Hague
Home Secretary: Nick Clegg
Olympics: Sir Menzies Campbell
Business, Innovation and Skills: Vince Cable

with the rest being the Tory shadow cabinet. This gives one of the great offices of state to the LibDems, puts a past captain of the Great Britain Olympics team in charge of the Olympics and gives Vince Cable the challenge of making his ideas work.

For the Tories, Ken Clarke would bring immense successful experience to the position, and it's hard to realistically imagine Hague or Cameron in other roles. Not in the above list but worthy of mention is Michael Gove, who would have the opportunity to make his radical and attractive ideas on education work. The more I see and hear of Gove, the more I like him: he could be a real star of the next government.

What of George Osborne? Make him chairman of the Conservative Party. There are persistent stories that "the City doesn't like him" and we really need the next government and the City to work together to rebuild the economy. And who knows? He may be like a vintage wine that matures well.


For reference, the last government cabinet posts were

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service
Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, First Secretary and Lord President of the Council
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Secretary of State for International Development
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government,
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families,
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change,
Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,
Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
Minister for the Cabinet Office, and for the Olympics and Paymaster General,
Secretary of State for Scotland,
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,
Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
Secretary of State for Wales,
Secretary of State for Defence,
Secretary of State for Transport,
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


Craig said...

PM: David Cameron
Foreign: David Miliband
Chancellor: Vince Cable
Europe: Nigel Farage (since he didn't win the election, he'd need a Mandelson mandate)

George Osborne
Harriet Harman

But of course right now the parties are much more interested in policy than seats. Which is refreshing.

Slim said...

Sean - I like all your choices and would not be surprised to see things turn out like this. Hague would be the perfect choice for that role. I'm not sure Vince's gonads are big enough, but he deserves a chance. Ken Clarke might be a bit too much for the Liberals to accept.

One thing for sure, IMO a Con/Lib pact is the only way for the Liberals to keep the political ground they have gained. If they side with Labour then they will get trodden down and sidelined and blamed (by Labour) for everything that goes wrong. By making a pact with the Conservatives the Liberals are sidelining Labour. If they play it right Labour will become the third party very quickly (just look at the total number of votes for each party after round 1 of the election). When round 2 comes along Labour will have a hard time convincing the public that both the Liberals and the Conservatives are wrong (except for those hardline labourites, but nothing with change their views).

If I had to give Harriett Harman a job I'd be giving her the toughest blokey job going, just to help her prove her feminist capability (cough).

Slim said...

BTW, why do we need a Secretary of State for Scotland and Wales? Are these the people who 'liaise' with their respective parliaments?

Sean Haffey said...

Well, of course, it's up to Cameron to decide which departments he wants ...