Caroline Flint and the Cabinet

Did I miss something Caroline Flint said or did?

She was on the threshold of the Cabinet, in the important job of Europe Minister. Her goverment’s policy is to join the Euro in due course, to ratify Lisbon and to increase the powers and common purposes of the Union. I never recall her hinting she disagreed with any of this onward march to federalism. She never one hinted she wanted a change of policy.

In which case, where were the important and influential speeches to try to persuade a Eurosceptic UK that we needed this rash of extra Euro governent and centalisation? Where were the attempts to shift public opinion in her direction?Why did more and more people decide to vote Eurosceptic during her time as Europe Minister?

And when it came to standing up for the UK’s interests, by blocking unwanted laws and amending or repealing undesirable ones, when did she ever change anything for the better?

I accept that competence is often not a requirement for office in this government, but I do not see that she ever made a case for a more senior post by anything she did or said.

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32 Comments

  1. Kevin Lohse
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Did Ms Flint EVER read the Lisbon Constitreaty? Or even have it explained to her by someone who did between fashion shoots?

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    My wife pointed out to me that she has been really badly treated.
    If you aren’t invited to the crucial meetings (she wasn’t) and if decisions are constantly taken behind your back, then you are, in fact powerless.
    The slightest criticism of Gordon Brown results in being purged. One joke did it for Hazel Blears. Caroline Flint must have known that.
    Then, on the eve of the reshuffle, she was led to believe that she was about to enter the inner circle – hence the submission to Brown in the media.
    When she was not even then included in the Cabinet proper, she went beserk.
    I can see all this.
    What it shows, of course, is
    a. the appalling way this government shows no concern for their own people, let alone us.
    b. that the Cabinet now really is two tiered.
    c. that Europe is not even considered an “issue” by the bunker.

  3. Jim Pearson
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Has any holder of the office ever said no to europe? I think not.

  4. Malcolm Edward
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Well, she did pose for the Guardian recently, and she has admitted to not having read the Lisbon treaty.
    Clearly that made her well qualified for the post of cabinet window dressing – I guess she’s just upset that the proprietor has chosen a different model to do the imagery.
    Someone needs to tell her that’s what happens in the world of make believe.

  5. Mike Paterson
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    As I recall, one thing she didn’t do and she admitted it (she had no choice), was actually to read the blasted Lisbon Treaty.

  6. GV
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, this is the woman who, as Minister for Europe, admitted she hadn’t read the Lisbon Treaty – but thought it was wonderful for Britain anyway. I doubt she’ll be missed.

  7. April Ryan
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Did I miss something, has anyone said that Caroline Flint standing down will be a loss to the country?

    When I think of all the intelligent, courageous, resourseful and grounded women that I personally know it still baffles me how labour could have picked such a vapid bunch for high office.

    It also shames me because the so called ‘Blair’s Babes’ have not only let the country down but they have let down their own sex. Instead of demonstrating how much the country could benefit from having a better balance of men and women in the cabinet the likes of Caroline Flint, Harriet Harmon, Hazel Blears, Jaqui Smith, Beverly Hughes etc, etc have achieved the exact opposite.

  8. Acorn
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Redwoodians (the pensioner wing that is), may remember that back in the sixties, there was a TV Quiz programme called Take Your Pick.

    There was a segment called the “Yes No Interlude”. The object was to answer the questions without using the words Yes or No. Very few contestants ever won.

    To be an MP you have to be able to pass this test whenever you jump in front of a passing TV camera. It is also essential to be able to stand in front of a television camera and tell blatant lies. Defending the indefensible WITH deviation; no hesitation; lots of repetition and false sincerity.

    You have to agree that recent Cabinet members (and some other examples) are all Oscar winners. Like the actors on “Casualty” and “Holby City”, they don’t have to understand all the medical terms in the script, they just have to speak the words to convince the audience that they do.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 8, 2009 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Why are you so very right?
      Could it be because ministers no longer discuss new laws in parliament? They are told what to say even in cabinet (if they ever get there). Parliament is usually empty or discussing silly little things that do not matter. So Labour MPs are out of the loop and have no clue as to what is going on.
      This is why they waffle and lie and prevaricate: they know as little as you or me about Labour party policy.
      I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that Mr Cameron will restore what we have lost under New Labour. I think, myself, that the major reform of parliament ought to be the reform of Cabinet where the policy is thrashed out and decisions are made. The people at No 12 Downing Street are not the right people to do this.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    We now have an unelected peer dealing with Europe in the shape of Glenys Kinnock fresh from the EU gravy train and joining her similarly indulged husband in the Lords. That tells you all you need to know about Labour’s attitude to the views of the British people and why Caroline Flint didn’t do any of the things you listed but did admit to never have read the Lisbon Treaty. Nothing new in that though as the EU enthusiasts will support anything that comes from Brussels – Ken Clarke probably still hasn’t read the Maastricht Treaty!

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted June 8, 2009 at 2:42 am | Permalink

      Not yet we don’t ~ look when she resigns and the implications that will have for her severance payment from Europe, she won’t be in post for several weeks

  10. D P Dance
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Perhaps she was just there for window dressing!

  11. James
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Competence has never been a requirement for office in this government, and it is becoming more obvious that having being elected as an MP is no longer essential either. Democracy, where art thou?

  12. saddo
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    She’s as competent as any other of browns mob – i.e. not very.

    Based upon what has been said, following Mandy on Marr:

    Thursday night she’s given the orders to trot out “Gordon is god” line on the media, in return for promise of good news on Friday.

    Obvious offer is cabinet post.

    On Friday what she actually got offered was regular attendance at cabinet, rather than the 1 in 6 months invite she’d previously had, but no change in role and no cabinet place.

    She got played by Mandy and done up like a kipper. No wonder she blew her stack.

    • Ian Jones
      Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:21 am | Permalink

      Mandy truly is a genius of manipulation, to watch him control this Govt is a something special. He will destroy Labour, I always thought he was a Tory at heart!!!

  13. Neil Craig
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I am impressed with the way nobody on either side of politics seems to think she desreved the promotion she was after. Labour seem to be full of wimen who think they are entitled to preference purely because of gender.

  14. pipesmoker
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Little people not worthy of their place in parliament? Who selects them?

    Bessie Braddock, Barbara Castle, Margaret Thatcher, Gwyneth Dunwoody, Shirley Williams, Rosie Winterton, agree with them or not they are the sort of women parliament needs? The Winterton’s have come in for some stick but I thought her effort on behalf of the armed forces last week was commendable?

    Many of the men are no better, you excluded of course JR.

    I thought Diane Abbott’s likening Peter Mandelson’s supporting GB was like the rope supporting a man about to be hanged absolutely apt 😉

    This country is still at war and I find it unbelievable that the focus of parliament appears to be on expenses and saving skins rather than giving the troops the backing they deserve. It’s an absolute disgrace. Now they have a Mickey Mouse minister to look after their corner.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 8, 2009 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Why have we lost all the people – men and women – of character?
      Could it be because power has shifted and parliament no longer attracts people of the character we need?

  15. Working Class Tory
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Quite right, she never once tried to convince anyone of anything but her own incapability, and in fact argued we should all be Europhiles since we eat pizza (see Dan Hannan’s post).

  16. a-tracy
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Exactly right!

  17. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I think that women voters will see that Gordon Brown runs a government in which Sir Alan Sugar is welcome and in which the intelligent , telegenic and modern Caroline Flint feels unwelcome. We all know what sort of person Sugar is and how Miss Flint is about as different from him as it is possible to get. In a political age defined by the image our leaders have based on the company that they keep the inclusion of Sir Alan and the departure of Miss Flint says a lot about the values of this government and the attitude towards women of those close to the PM.

    At least in the Shadow Cabinet we have Theresa Villiers, Lady Warsi, Lady Neville -Jones , Cheryl Gillan , Theresa May and Caroline Spelman with Maria Miller & Justine Greening surely inline for promotion in any future reshuffle to the top Tory table. And unlike Miss Harmen, Tessa Jowell and Miss Cooper the ladies in the shadow cabinet got there on merit. Caroline Flint has much more talent than those three put together and so understandably is feeling pretty cheesed off. Miss Flint while being a Blairite was loyal to Gordon Brown – she was sidelined to the extent that she was not even included in the political cabinet discussions about the European Elections.

    I am certain John that Miss Flint would have done a better job had Brown let her – just like Mr Darling as Chancellor. And at least she had the nerve to do what her one-time departmental boss David Milliband never did i.e. resign & go public with her dissent. So lets look at this in a better more well rounded way and remember what a silly stunt the promotion of Alan Sugar really is. The contrast between his public image and that of the former Europe Minister could not be more stark and says a lot about how the Number 10 bunker regards women.

    Would Caroline Flint really be a worse Defense Secretary than Bob Ainsworth or a worse Chief Secretary than Liam Byrne ? Says it all really…..

  18. Graham Eardley
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    She was is Nice bit of “Window dressing” though eh?

    and that’s all she is nothing else no substance in order to detract from the Labour policies both at housing and Europe.

    The fact that it took Ms. Flint 6 years of holding a government post to work this out herself surely must tell you some thing!

  19. Thatcher-right
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    [Joke on]Is this post a part of the covert Tory ‘Save Gordon Brown’ policy?[Joke off]

  20. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t she the Minsister who agreed to the Lisbon Treaty then admitted she hadn’t even read it.

    Still, so long as the pay cheque arrives each month I suppose that’s all that really matters isn’t it Ms Flint.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/5084584/Caroline-Flint-Europe-minister-hasnt-read-Lisbon-Treaty.html

  21. Stuart Fairney
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    JR You’ve been ‘around the block’ so to speak. We’ve all made slightly exaggerated promises to ladies, but when one manifestly fails to deliver on them, can we then be surprised if they have a hissy-fit?

    Incidentally, Miss Flint’s ‘career’ according to wikipedia makes for interesting reading.

  22. Baldwin
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Flint is typical of Blair Babes, immature, devoid of wisdom and over-promoted.

    However, she is better looking than most and the window dressing claim seems logical.

    Apart from Kate Hoey, Gisela Stewart and the late Gwyneth Dunwoody it is difficult to name any Labour MP of much merit.

  23. Baldwin
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Oops, I should have said, ‘apart from Kate Hoey, Gisela Stewart and the late Gwyneth Dunwoody it is difficult to name any woman Labour MP of much merit’.

    On the other hand, merit and competence seem pretty sparse amongst male Labour MPs, although it may exist in a few pockets.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 8, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Mo Molam?

      • Ben Elford
        Posted June 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        I think that supports Baldwin’s point about Labour women admirably.

  24. Ian Jones
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    John,

    I normally find your Euroscepticism somewhat annoying but this time I fully agree with you. The woman has done nothing but try and be window dressing judging by her photos in the media.

    She tried to play both sides and ended up on neither, she is now seen for what she is which is a total waste of space.

    Still, even worse is the Kinnock woman who whilst being a rabid socialist has made millions from Europe with her husband. This is what gives Europe a bad name and what needs to be changed.

    Let the European citizens work together rather than (exploit the generous system -ed).

  25. JohnM
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    What must really grind at Ms Flint’s ego is that Brown continued to ignore her start quality in favour of the likes of… Yvette Cooper.

    Oh well I’m sure she’ll eventually get a McJob somewhere.

  26. anonymous
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    “I accept that competence is often not a requirement for office in this government, but I do not see that she ever made a case for a more senior post by anything she did or said. ”

    You obviously missed the cracking photo shoot she did in the Observer the other week. Marvellous it was. More please …..

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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