Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back Like A Really Tedious Zombie

I can see the political benefits of recruiting Alan Milburn as a policy czar, but in terms of good government what is the point? In his most prominent position in the last government, as health secretary, he didn't achieve anything of note other than in spending more money. Maybe it wasn't his fault, he was reputed to have tried to implement reforms, but even so he left without any major accomplishment to his name.

He supposedly had an important role in advising the Australian Labor Party in their last landslide election victory although even his skills as a political strategist must be called into question when you consider that as the UK Labour Party's election supremo in 2005 he had to be rescued by Gordon Brown (remember when Gordon Brown was popular!?).

So why is he being entrusted to devise the government's policy on social mobility? Being broad minded enough to consult policy experts regardless of party affiliation, and few people would object to an acknowledged expert advcising the government even if he was a member of the Labour Party, Frank Field is exactly the right person to appoint to advise on welfare reform for example. The only reasons that I can think of for appointing Alan Milburn though are to embarrass the Labour Party and provide political cover for the Coalition.


Matthew said...

Well the obvious conclusion is Frank Field is seen as more incompetent than Alan Milburn.

Which is perfectly plausible - I realise FF is lionised by a lot of people and his sacking thought to be because GB wouldn't countenance radical reform. But actually I think TB sacked him because he thought FF wasn't up to he job, and given the last article I saw him write was based entirely on his misunderstanding of the mean and the median, I think TB had a point.

Ross said...

Given the people Blair didn't sack I can't see why Field would have been sacked for incompetence.

As Field never actually got to implement anything when he was a minister I don't see how his competence can really be assessed anyway.

Matthew said...

I'm basing it on Campbell's diaries. But hard pressed to think of a good thing Field has done.

Ross said...

I haven't read Campbell's diaries but given that he is an ultra loyal Labour supporter he was hardly going to admit that the feuding between Blair & Brown was making the government disfunctional, when Labour were still in power.