Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brown is his own Chancellor

Who runs the Treasury? asks Ben Brogan a propos of Downing Street's leaking of today's partial U-turn on capital gains tax.

"No one seriously expected the new Prime Minister to surrender all interest in his old department, but recent weeks suggest Mr Brown still has an office there," he says.

I'm not sure Ben or anyone else should be terribly surprised by this. History shows there are two sorts of Chancellors - those who have their own independent powerbase, like Denis Healey, Ken Clarke and Brown himself, and those who owe their power entirely to the Prime Minister, such as Anthony Barber, Norman Lamont, and Mr Darling.

From this list it will be seen that the more successful Chancellors tend to be the former variety, which bodes ill for Mr Darling's tenure. I continue to take the view that Jack Straw would have been a more sensible appointment.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right, Paul. Straw has more presence, is more heavyweight, and would counteract the charge of there being too many Scots in the top positions.