Browne study

Reshuffle day is for politics nerds as transfer deadline day is for football supporters. You hope for some big name signings and some surprise moves between big clubs, but most of the activity takes place in the lower divisions.

What was the most interesting component of today’s activity? For some it is no doubt Ed Miliband’s so-called culling of the Blairites. The right wing press have already interpreted this as incontrovertible proof of a lurch to the left and a sign that Len McCluskey is the power behind the throne. On the other hand, most commentators seem to see the reshuffle on the Tory side as being rather unexciting. And that that is fundamentally a good thing.

One specific issue which might develop into something interesting is the fate of the housing policy portfolio. It appears that Labour have moved the shadow housing brief up the pecking order to give it greater prominence. Yet the initial impression is that the Tories have demoted the housing brief within DCLG. If that is the case then it is a frankly bizarre move, given that there is general agreement that housing is going to be one of the top half dozen issues in the run up to the General Election. This may be a story that has further to run.

But perhaps the single most interesting move in the reshuffle was the removal of Jeremy Browne from the Home Office and his replacement by Norman Baker. [Read more...]


Clueless on conditionality

job centre plus policeOn Thursday I blogged about the weak foundations underpinning some of the Coalition government’s policies. On lobbying, on Universal Credit, and on Legal Aid the policy has run into serious trouble. I might return to the lobbying issue again soon, because you could read it in different ways. But that’s for another day. Two days ago I wrote:

A common thread in all these cases is the apparent lack of sufficient thought at the outset: thought about what the policy is trying to achieve and thought about whether the proposed mechanisms are, even in principle, capable of achieving those objectives. This would seem like a profound – and elementary – mistake.

Such thinking won’t stop a policy getting mired in implementation problems. But building the policy on weak foundations increases the chances of it turning into a fiasco.

Today we are presented with another example. [Read more...]


Tweetin’ Lords reform

Over the last day or so I’ve tweeted and retweeted a few times about Lords Reform. I’ve brought much of this comment together here via Storify. [Read more...]