Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gavyn Davies Does The Sums

Politaholic is quite fond of the little articles by Gavyn Davies on the back page of G2. The one last Thursday was about Ministerial tenure. Davies has done the sums: Blair has so far appointed 54 different people to Cabinet, and the average time spent in Cabinet is roughly speaking four and a half years (Davies says 4.68 on the assumpton Blair leaves office after 11 years and there are no further reshuffles). Under Thatcher it was 4.28 years. But the average tenure in a particular Cabinet post is 2.53 years (under Thatcher it was 2.34 years). Including transfers between jobs Blair has made 100 separate Cabinet appointments (Thatcher made 108). Blair has so far had 7 Leaders of the House, 7 Chief Secretaries to the Treasury, 6 Employment Secretaries, 6 Industry Secretaries, and 5 Education Secretaries. John Reid has occupied 7 different Cabinet posts since 1999, before which he was a Minister of State (two posts). They are: 1997-1998 Minister of Defence; 1998-1999 Minister for Transport; 1999-2001 Secretary of State for Scotland; 2001-2002 Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; 2002-2003 Party Chair and Minister without Portfolio; 2003 Leader of the House of Commons; 2003-2005 Secretary of State for Health; 2005 Secretary of State for Defence; 2006-? Home Secretary. Davies argues shortage of tenure matters more than it used to, given that the "traditional strengths of the independent mandarin have been emasculated" and the end result has "too often been dysfunctional government". Oh, and Blair has had just one Chancellor.


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