Does Dave need an attack dog?
Following my early morning post on George Osborne I received an email from a Tory friend. He wrote:-
“As I see it, the problem between Osborne and Balls is an extension of a more broad problem for George and Dave. The lack of an attack dog within the Cabinet.”
Mrs T had Tebbit and Parkinson etc. Blair and Brown had Blunkett, Reid, Balls etc. etc. The PM & Chancellor have no alternative to put up with the result that they are both on TV too often and do the â€˜nastyâ€™ stuff equally too often.
This therefore makes the appointment of the Chairman of the Party (or attack dog) all the more important. The person concerned has to speak with a different voice (either accent or sex). Gove and Pickles canâ€™t be moved but could be put up more often…
To my mind the best attack dog in modern times was John Reid who could really put a forceful case when the need arose. Norman Tebbitt from an earlier generation was great in that role. But who today? Who can really make an effective case and comes over well in the media.
One that comes to mind is Anna Soubry, first elected in 2010 when she beat Nick Palmer, and who has featured prominently. She’s a former TV presenter turned barrister, communicates well and is not afraid to put the boot in when necessary. She must be at the top of Dave’s list for promotion in the re-shuffle any case.
She’s also got that other quality – age is on her side, she’s in her fifties. Cameron has tended to appoint ministers who are much younger than that, like Chloe Smith, and it shows. Anna Soubry would have handled the recent Newsnight confrontation over fuel duty far better.
Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB