The main item is of course the crazy decision or lack of coherence in the Labour Party to enable Clive Lewis to be considered as a Party Leader. Listening to him on Radio 4 yesterday morning there were some very clear elements that he could have added to the set of ideas and skills that the party needs right now at its highest level. However there are two key factors or issues that count in my view, one of which was referred to by the interviewer and one that I don’t recall hearing. The first was his ethnic background which makes his inclusion really important given that all of the other candidates are from a white English background, but the second for me is the much more vital one if we are to see this leadership change to having the potential to prepare for the next General Election. The simple fact is that the Labour Party is not capable of winning enough seats to run the country and indeed I would rather that they did not have the chance to do so, just as I would rather that the Conservatives can not do so. Clive Lewis was the only candidate who was prepared to explain his commitment to working with a range of other parties to come up with a different form of Government structure. This may well not be the news that many Labour Party members want to hear but they need to reshape themselves and at present it appears that Clive is the only person who was willing to stand as a Party Leader with that vital aspect on his agenda.
The second piece of news relates to the current arrangements that the Prime Minister has made to enable him to run the country on our behalf. According to Sky News he has just recruited a special adviser, Andrew Parsons, who is a photographer as well as having a great deal of experience in publicity making. That piece of recruitment is not in itself a particularly important matter but as the Sky News report explains
“At the time [2010 when he started working for David Cameron], Mr Parsons earned a salary of between £36,000 and £44,000. His salary for joining Mr Johnson’s team has not yet been disclosed. Last month it was revealed the current prime minister’s more than 40 special advisers earn salaries worth between £40,500 and £145,000.”
So we can assume that Johnson is spending well over £2m a year on his large number of advisers. Whether this money is public money or coming from his wealthy supporters, the fact is that his group of special advisers would come very close to constituting a medium size business. The number of advisers are far in excess of how many people can seriously be advising any one person and indeed it represents around half the size of the full Ministerial team which includes each of the teams for each of the Government departments and over five times the number of Cabinet Office Ministers who are the people who are supposed to be working closest to the Prime Minister to ensure the Government runs the country well. Even the size of the Cabinet with the extra people who attend regular meetings comes to around half the size of his group of special advisers.