Tuesday, 25 September 2012

New DfT Special Advisers appointed

According to @JimBethal of Westbourne the new DfT SpAds are:

Julian Glover (who) has been released from Downing Street where he was crafting speeches for the Prime Minister. A former Guardian journalist, he is an enthusiast for HS2 (he weekends in Derbyshire near GO and PMcL). 

Ben Mascall (who) has become one of the Coalition’s most trusted press operators. He worked previously at heavy-weight brands like Coca-Cola and Tesco, and high-profile politicos like Gove and Bozza.

On the plus side they can't be any worse than the last lot. 

UPDATE: This from Our Man at 222 Marylebone Road...

Once upon a time Special Advisers were there to guard a minister's back against the devious civil servants who can obviously run rings round here today/gone tomorrow politicians on the detail of their Departments.  

In this they are, or should be, a sub-set of Policy Wonks. By and large the SpAds at DfT have been singularly useless in this role. 

Andrew Adonis was of course a hybrid - half minister/half wonk, a rare combination feared by Permanent Secretaries who can generally see off wonks.  An exception was the wonkocracy which emerged under the Blair Government - the wonk-driven demise of Railtrack is the classic example.    

These latest guys sound more like Political Advisers than Policy Wonks or SpAds.  

Political Advicors (PADs?) are concerned not with the practicality of policy but with how it will be presented and perceived. So expect more nonsensical written answers.

Old railway hands who remember Permanent Secretary Philip Rutnam in his youthful Treasury days expect him to eat these new SpAds for breakfast.