Thursday 28 January 2010

Clarke honesty is refreshing...

Tory press officers looked slightly agitated just now after Ken Clarke strayed off message in a press briefing.

He’d been asked about Tory plans for regional development agencies (RDAs) – the massive quangos that are meant to develop regional economies and business, but have also been given roles in transport and planning.

His predecessor Alan Duncan once told me they would be either scrapped or slashed down beyond recognition, with their power divvied up between councils and central Government.

And that was the prevailing view of most Tories, though exact plans have not been forthcoming. A point highlighted by Clarke, much to the press team’s distress.

He started by saying: “You plainly require a level of Government below the national level.

“I never thought you could run the health service from a building in Whitehall. I never thought you could run the education system from the dreadful office I used to have. And I’ve no intention of running support for business from an office in Victoria Street.”

He added: “You need a level of Government bringing with it local knowledge and expertise and partnership with local people below the level of Whitehall.”

He explained that the Tories would look at all the RDAs' different functions and see whether they were all necessary before making a decision.

But when challenged that the Tories had been deciding for years on RDAs but had failed to put forward anything except a vague document of intentions, he went further.

“The only document we put out is not clear, not totally clear, and we are attempting to finalise it.”

Pens started scratching.


Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

Super Ken!

I love this guy, his honesty, independent thought and is decent reputation [not to mention shoes and cigars] altogether make Clarke one of the most attractive Tory front benchers after Cameron and Gove.

Oldrightie said...

Certainly more refreshing than the tired weaklings on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Good Chancellor, in his day. Lousy politician Today. Too left, too socialist. Ought to join the Lib Dems and be done with.
He's dangerous.

Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

LOL what a barrel of laughs you are anon!

I think Clarke is great! A credit to the Party and the TRG [of which I am a member].

Or am I a socialist too?


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