David Cameron’s “big tent” is beginning to look like the Millenium Dome. It’s hard to keep up with those disaffected New Labour ministers and MPs and advisors who have agreed to serve the coalition as a “tsar” or an “advisor” for state initiatives.
Latest to join up was Alan Milburn. This former member of the International Marxist Group has become an adviser on “social mobility”. Well “mobility” is something political invertebrates know all about.
Milburn joins Frank Field who is a poverty tsar (specialising in 100 ways to chuck people off benefits), and John Hutton is looking at public sector pensions (how to cut them).
Beyond giving the Lib-Con government a further gloss of inclusivity (making it a kind of modern “national government”) what do they all hope to achieve? Some people will do anything to increase their “marketability”; some just need to be appreciated.
That will be true for Philip Green, boss of Arcadia (Top Shop etc.) whose ego matches the size of his wallet; this is a man who has grown grotesquely rich on viciously exploiting workers in the global textile industry as well as shop workers closer to home. He will be advising the government on “efficiency”.
With Philip Green around who knows whether Will Hutton will now be fully appreciated in his new post? His views on “stakeholder capitalism” were underappreciated by Labour. But if he thought the Tories bright idea of turning bits of the health services into “workers’ co-ops” was anything other than a new way to privatise, he may be in for a disappointment.