Friday, June 29, 2007

Des Browne's new job

This, from WebCameron, is a very good point about Des Browne and his new position:

"First, how can the PM make the Defence secretary carry out the responsibilities of Scottish Secretary as well? We have troops in action in Iraq and Afghanistan and a vital need to deal with welfare issues for forces families and tackle overstretch. If ever there was a need for a totally committed cabinet minister, this is it. After the Iran hostages shambles, it is not clear that Des Browne is up to one job, let alone two."

The existence of the Scottish parliament does make the Scottish Secretary's job a lot smaller. There is a case for combining it with another brief so that it can justify remaining in the Cabinet. However, that is the case for combining it with another small portfolio like the Duchy of Lancaster. An imaginative PM could combine it with the post of Welsh Secretary to create a sort of "Celtic Fringe Affairs" or "Devolved Assemblies Liaison" ministry.

However, Defence clearly needs a huge amount of work in terms of fighting waste (more bureaucrats than troops), doing some new thinking about procurement and ensuring that our forces are properly equipped and prepared for the huge strains they are under. It is just about the last job you would want to see diluted through combination with another portfolio.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have always thought that the logical decision is to have a minister for devolved regions- ie Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That seems to be the logical way to do it.