Initial Responses to the Launch of this Blog

6 Sep

Mr Cameron, the Prime Minister, responded by reshuffling his Cabinet.

In particular, he moved Mr Clarke – for whose more thoughtful attitude to crime and punishment this blog was in fact not wholly without sympathy – away from being Lord Chancellor (and Secretary of State for Justice) – to a ‘roving role’ as a ‘wise head’ based in the Cabinet Office – to be called ‘Minister without Portfolio.’

The only major source of long-term controversy seems to have been treated quietly by the Press – the perpetual question of the expansion (whether, how etc) of London Heathrow Airport.

Ms Greening’s move from Transport to International Development seems a natural result of her (in effect) invitation to Mr Cameron to ‘Support me or Sack me’ re a third runway there. That gives her a more interesting decision to make if a third runway is built (or, more realistically, announced): should she resign anyway, or seek to hang on to her SouthWest London (ie somewhat Heathrow-sensitive) constituency on the basis of her other merits as a constituency MP and her work at International Development ? With a 2010 General Election majority of 10,000 (and 52% of the vote – nearly double that of the Labour candidate) she should consider that she has room to do that if she wishes.

Interestingly, Sir Howard Davies’ Report on how to expand the capacity of London’s Airports is not finally due until after the 2015 General Election. The general political difficulty is that whilst there is a general (not quite universal) agreement that something needs to be done, very few people want a new airport or expanded airport in their own backyard – nicknamed ‘NIMBYism’ – ‘Not In My Backyard Syndrome.’ An interim report is expected before 2015, so with both main parties in U-turn mode (Ed Miliband – see previous link – says that he was always personally opposed, however…), and Boris Johnson (Mayor of London – same link) demanding that a Third Runway is ruled out for ever (which he knows that no politician can honestly do), this could get messy …

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