Is Milburn’s return bad news for Cameron?

JANET Daley is no great fan of Dave’s, but, then, she’s even less a fan of Gordon Brown. Her column in today’s Telegraph makes for interesting reading, particularly for those who believe the next election is in the bag for the Tories.

Talking of (welcoming?) Alan Milburn’s return to government, she writes:

If there is a single figure in the Labour ranks who can make the Conservatives – in their present incarnation – seem irrelevant, vacuous, indeed worse than useless, it is this former Health Secretary who is genuinely convinced of the need for more choice and competition in public services, and more real independence for the institutions that deliver them.

I was asked about Alan’s return on last night’s Westminster Hour. Isn’t the return of former Cabinet ministers a sign of desperation? seemed to be the gist of the interrogation. Yet why should we leave talented people like Alan on the back benches if they can contribute to Labour’s delivery  and, consequently, electoral performance, in government? Personally, I was disappointed that he didn’t return to the Cabinet last year.  

So while Janet Daley and I might be approaching the subject from different directions, I certainly hope her analysis is spot-on.

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8 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, David Cameron

8 responses to “Is Milburn’s return bad news for Cameron?

  1. richard

    Surely it’s a sign of desperation and that the Labour party is so starved of talent that Gordon will even rehire someone who clearly thinks that he’s useless and wasn’t afraid to say it.

    Then again, I don’t think that someone who quit one of the most powerful positions in the government because he wanted to spend more time with his kids is quite the formidable opponent that you’re making him out to be.

    -=-=-

    Personally I’m looking forward to the return of Blunkett. Compared to Mandelson he almost looks like a paragon of virtue inasmuch as he’s only resigned in disgrace once…

  2. Simon

    I thought Gordon Brown had already single-handedly saved the world ?

    But assuming that Labour do need one man to make the conservatives irrelavant, (and that man obviously wasn’t Peter Mandleson), surely he should be their leader.

    If Alan Milburn’s return does cause a jump in the polls for labour, will this mean a leadership challenge ?

  3. Quentin

    Soooooooooooooooooooo why are you back on the backbenches then?
    You were quite a good Minister as I recall and certainly have talent , and are interesting, at least blogwise.

  4. wrinkled weasel

    The Daley piece throws up so many interesting issues. But to get Alan Milburn out of the way first, my feeling, based upon nothing but an ability to read minds and follow the form book, is that this re-creation of the old secret-sharing algorithm – the confederacy of Machiavellians, will end in tears.

    Brown is clearly desperate but he is surrounded by old enemies. Satan cannot cast out Satan. Cracks will appear in this unholy alliance.

    We are talking about the same Janet Daley here, are we not, who writes in the Telegraph and is generally held to be right of centre?

    And yet, she declares the uncomfortable, yet accurate and piercing truth, that I have been declaring since day one of Cameron,

    “his insouciant insistence on sticking to the lukewarm, muddle-in-the-middle position”..

    “Mr Cameron perseveres with his limp message”

    “So we are back where we started with the Conservatives, apparently having learnt nothing”

    It reads like some kind of nightmare review of a West End theatre first night.

    Much as I want Labour to lose the next election and have its bag carriers sent to the Hague for war crimes, the Tories presently do not deserve to win the election. When the right wing press are as up front about this as Janet Daley, you know there is a major, major problem. Democracy itself is at stake and nothing less.

  5. pr roger j clementine iii cbe

    Do you think, Tam, that if Labour lose the next election, you might be in with a chance of a Shadow Cabinet role?

    Perhaps even Scottish Sec if Jim Murphy loses his seat to the Tories?!

  6. Jim Baxter

    What next? ‘Harold Wilson to return to cabinet. Despite having died some years ago Lord Wilson of Riveleaux, winner of four general elections for Labour, is to return to government in an advisory role. Sources close to Gordon Brown say that the Prime Minister believes this move is just what is needed to reassure voters that the pound here in Britain, in your pocket… ‘

    Etc.

  7. Barney Waits

    Not at all. It simply confirms that NL has made social mobility worse than it was then when you came to power, Tom. The destruction of the education system, of course, has a lot to do with it, as has student fees. All the evidence shows that kids from poorer backgrounds are put off applying to Uni (not that that is what it is cracked up to be any more) because of the debt they are landed with at the end.

    Yup. The appointment of Milburn simply an admission of failure.

  8. Auntie Flo'

    “Masterminding the 2005 election, he spent inordinate sums (no, he never knew where from) on an efficient campaign delivering materials to local parties with admirable precision. The only trouble was the message: there was none. At the spring conference, members were dumbstruck to find themselves waving placards reading “Forward, not back!” and “Your family better off!”.”

    and

    Polly Toynbee. 11.4.06
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/apr/11/comment.politics

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