Monday, 19 January 2009

Return of the big beast

Ken Clarke is to rejoin the shadow cabinet as Shadow Business Secretary. Unfortunately, with Peter Mandelson in the Lords, there will be no 'Ken and Mandy' show.

Ken Clarke is one of the big beasts of Conservative Party politics, but he was rejected three times as party leader because of his Europhile stance. As Chancellor, he turned the economy round and bequeathed it in very good shape to New Labour.

The Conservatives have had quite a lot of difficulty in landing punches on the economy. Even though their poll lead is in double figures, the charge that they are the 'do nothing' party has resonated with the electorate to some extent.

The move has been unpopular with some Conservative activists. However, Clarke is one of the few Conservatives who would be recognised by most people and his 'blokeish' image allows him to communicate complex points in a very straightforward and effective fashion.

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