Dame Pauline resigns.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Victorian_Major, May 9, 2011.

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  1. Who?

    (10 frikkin' letters)
  2. Exactly.

  3. I think she will be missed - she always struck me as very sensible. It will be interesting to see who replaces her.
  4. A particularly smart 'cookie', whose background and job meant that few would have heard of her.

    I am led to believe she was pretty well apolitical unlike certain 'Labour luvvies' 'high up' in that business. That said, she did join a Tory Party 'committee' concerned with 'national security'. This was concurrent with her work in a variety of organisations during the time of the Labour government. Additionally, she is 'pushing' 72.

    She is replaced by Angela Browning - Baroness Browning if one believes in 'pretend' peers and peeresses.
  5. just googled Angela browning - she seems a most peculiar choice as she doesn't appear to have any background whatsoever in national security
  6. Met PNJ whilst she was in Opposition. V sharp, extremely knowledgeable and seriously bright. The national security council has her fingerprints all over. She also had a v interesting time chairing the JIC.
  7. Very smart woman. I know her slightly, am in awe of her intellect, judgement and experience. Hard act to follow.
  8. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Bugger Bugger Bugger. She's pretty fecking important to something going on at the moment - just the wrong time to lose her. Oh well, perhaps he felt the straws in the wind from the forthcoming (probable) reshuffle, and fled :)

    She is very competent and cleverer than a big clever thing - but was not always entirely in-line with the rest of Govt thinking.............
  9. How clashes with Theresa May led Dame Pauline Neville Jones to quit - Telegraph

    As two of the government's most senior women sat down for a meeting on national security, the atmosphere was less than congenial.

    Theresa May and Baroness Neville-Jones had never been that fond of each other, if the gossip in the Commons tea room is to be believed.

    But when the Home Secretary turned to her security minister for an update on counter-terrorism not long into the coalition government, she could hardly believe her ears.

    "I'm sorry, Home Secretary," said Lady Neville-Jones, "but I'm afraid I can't talk to you about that, because you don't have the security clearance."

    Mrs May sat in stunned silence, according to insiders. "May never loses her temper," said a senior source, "but if looks could kill…"

    Those who know her have long warned that this clever but difficult woman would walk out eventually.

    In the end, her decision to quit last week came amid rumours that Mr Cameron was about to sack her.

    If he had done, few who have worked alongside her during her meteoric rise through the ranks of government and the security services would have raised an eyebrow.

    During a glittering career she has made spikiness her trademark. Her trajectory has been marred by claims of sexism and alleged bitterness at being passed over for promotion. She has sparred with almost everyone she has worked with, but no one more so than Mrs May.

    The personality clash between the two was fundamental. It culminated with Lady Neville-Jones all but demanding that Mr Cameron give her a more senior role where she would not have to answer to Mrs May. The ex-spy chief wanted to be national security adviser in Number Ten, answering directly to the Prime Minister. But Mr Cameron would not be dictated to.

    In many ways, the clash with Mrs May is unsurprising. The two women could not be more different in style, but more similar in their desire to do well in the limelight. And while one has now crashed out of government, the other continues to go from strength to strength.

    Some would say the rise of the steady but undazzling Mrs May above the furiously driven and sparky Lady Neville-Jones has been surprising, a disappointment even. But others who know the demands of modern government would argue otherwise. The triumph of Mrs May over Lady Neville-Jones is a fable of our times.

    Mrs May, 54, has made a virtue of towing the line and being a safe pair of hands. Being uncontroversial, some would say bland, has stood her in good stead.

    Reliable in a crisis, she has managed not to make a mistake in a role which famously has the potential for being the biggest bear trap in government.

    The recent history of Whitehall is littered with the battered reputations of Home Secretaries and Home Office ministers who came to grief: David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Beverley Hughes, Jacqui Smith. The precedents are not good.

    Mrs May has prevailed so far by being calm and non-confrontational. "She has a mumsy quality which middle England quite likes," says one Tory MP.

    Her ability to play the game, to wear a pair of leopard-print kitten heels to get a headline has been masterly.

    "She is hardly a pushover, but she would never indulge in the sort of tricky game-playing that some women do."

    While she has campaigned robustly for the Tories to select more women candidates, May has never complained about having a hard time herself, though she must have been the victim of sexism at some stage, one imagines.

    She certainly attracts plenty of personal criticism from her detractors, who accuse her of being boring and indecisive among other things.

    "When people say she's doing well I say tell me three things she's actually done," said one Tory minister who clearly dislikes her.

    "I must have missed the meeting where we were told 'if you don't do anything and don't ---- up you are a political genius'.

    "OK, so you don't drop the ball so much if you stay off the pitch. Big deal. Theresa May sits on the subs bench and doesn't get sent off. It's not much of an achievement.

    "Seriously, tell me something she's done and I will buy you lunch at the Fat Duck."

    Some Tory MPs joke that her nickname should be "Theresa May, or then again she may not."

    The hostility towards her among Tory backbenchers of a certain age can be traced back to her speech at the 2002 Conservative conference where she denounced the Tories as "the nasty party".

    Many never forgave her for that. Others would argue that the "nasty" proclamation was the start of the modernising project that transformed the party's chances and culminated in Cameron becoming Prime Minister last May.

    In any case, rumours of her political demise have always been vastly overstated and she has endured many reshuffles to always emerge with a place at the top table.

    Her handling of some early dramas after the coalition was formed cemented her reputation for having a cool head.

    Abolishing ID cards and pledging greater regulation of CCTV to protect civil liberties, was followed by assured handling of the Cumbria shootings and Raoul Moat stand-off. She presided calmly over the discovery of an international bomb plot involving British airports last October. Solid and unflappable was the verdict of admirers, particularly in the United States government.

    The contrast with the maverick, uncompromising Lady Neville-Jones, 71, could hardly be starker. Though both women were educated at private girls' schools and Oxford University, that is where the similarity ends.

    Those who have worked with Lady Neville-Jones say she is often confrontational to the point of being rude. Her abrupt manner would seem an unlikely attribute for a career diplomat who served throughout the world for over thirty years before coming to rest in Whitehall in the 1990s.

    She was Director of the Joint Intelligence Committee until 1994 and then political director of the Foreign Office.

    "It is hard to imagine a person less suited to being in the business of diplomacy. She is the least diplomatic person you could ever meet," was how one senior Tory who has worked with her put it.

    She was nicknamed Pauline Neville Chamberlain by FCO mandarins, owing to her views on the Balkans. A cheap shot, maybe.

    It is said that she had her eye on the job of ambassador to Paris but was offered the lesser post of Bonn instead. She resigned and went to work for NatWest, became a BBC governor and then chairman of Qinetiq in 2002.

    But she got to know David Cameron through a mutual friend, William Waldegrave, and made a return to politics as head of the Conservative's grandly named National and International Security Policy Group. She was made a peer, shadow security minister and National Security Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition. The latter was the job she was hoping for in government, but when the coalition was formed she was made minister of state for security.

    As an expert on al-Qaeda, her appointment was hailed as a boost to the relatively inexperienced government.

    But it is said she deeply resented being made to answer to Mrs May. She wanted a job in Downing Street answering to Mr Cameron. Both she and Mrs May battled for media coverage. According to one Tory MP: "They both want to be in the papers, that's one thing they do have in common."

    Lady Neville-Jones became increasingly frustrated. During a debate in the House of Lords on the Bill abolishing ID cards, she managed to put so many backs up with her peppery approach that she was heckled, which is almost unheard of in the Upper House.

    When peers asked whether law officers had been consulted on the Bill she proclaimed haughtily: "This is becoming rather a sterile exchange. I am not able to enlighten the House further."

    One veteran Labour peer, Lord Howie was so upset he demanded the Leader of the House be sent for.

    "She made no attempt to make friends at all," said one senior peer. "It's not difficult to keep us happy, you just say you are listening, but she didn't want to listen."

    Mr Cameron decided he simply could not give her a post in Downing Street, insiders say. If she was struggling to get on with peers, she would have even more trouble with the trendy crowd in Number 10.

    As her frustration built, she was in danger of becoming a loose canon, increasingly unpredictable.

    One MP who worked with her said: "She was impossible in meetings. I complained to the whips about her behaviour. I thought she was becoming a liability."

    Ultimately, she made the cardinal mistake of publicising the fact that she wanted a bigger job.

    "You can't do that. She was hemming Dave in. He didn't like it. He's the PM and he calls the shots on who gets what."

    She resigned citing personal reasons, and was at pains to insist she had left "at her own request".

    Some feared from the tone of her statement that she might be ill. Insiders say she is simply devastated by the fact that she has yet again been passed over for the job she wanted.

    Despite repeated requests for comment, her office was not answering calls last week.

    Head to head: Lady Spiky and Mrs Steady

    Theresa May

    Age: 54

    Birthplace: Eastbourne

    Position: Home Secretary

    Husband: Philip May, investment banker; no children

    Appearance: Kitten heels, chunky jewellery, loud print jackets – determined but approachable headmistress of an up and coming girls prep school.

    Education: St. Juliana’s Convent School for Girls, Wheatley Park Comprehensive School and St Hugh’s College, Oxford

    Career: Bank of England from 1977 to 1983, then financial consultant at the Association for Payment Clearing Services from 1985 to 1997.

    Became a councillor in the unfashionable south London borough of Merton in 1986. Stood and lost in the safe Labour seat of North West Durham in 1992 and lost again in Barking in 1994, before winning Maidenhead for the Conservatives in 1997.

    Appointed shadow education and employment secretary in 1999 and became first female chairman of the Conservative Party in 2002. Appointed Home Secretary last year.

    High Point: Admitting the Tories were regarded as the “nasty party”, thereby kick-starting its journey towards modernisation.

    Low points: Never forgiven by backbenchers for the “nasty party” remark.

    Hobbies: Walking and cooking.

    Nickname: 'Theresa May – then again she may not’, for her prevarication.

    Baroness Neville-Jones

    Age: 71

    Birthplace: Birmingham

    Position: Former Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism

    Husband: Unmarried, but rejected “a few suitors” and came close to accepting one.

    Appearance: Sensible jackets – crotchety headmistress of the long-established prep school losing pupils to the more fashionable establishment run by the younger Mrs May.

    Education: Leeds Girls’ High school and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

    Career: Career civil servant from 1963 to 1966, culminating in appointment as chairman of the joint intelligence committee. Became BBC governor in 1998, then non-executive chairman of defence technology company QinetiQ. Appointed Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism last year.

    High point: Boosting the new Government’s credibility with her expertise on al-Qaeda and international terrorism.

    Low point: Heckled by peers during House of Lords debate on abolishing ID cards.

    Hobbies: Antiques, cooking, gardening.

    Nickname: Pauline Neville Chamberlain, for her views on the Balkan conflict.
  10. Well that says goodbye to someone with a lot of knowledge and insight into the security situation that faces the country, her guidance and advice would have been particularly important to the nation over the next year or so as the shakedown from recent events in Pakistan starts to impact, so what have we replaced her with:

    Angela Browning - well she worked at the agriculture ministry, so leading sheep should be a skill that she brings to the office of security minister, but she certainly has no intelligence or security experience. Hardly a replacement.

    Frankly I'm not surprised that Dame Pauline left, Theresa May is a total fuckwit. It appears that we have simply replaced a very experienced minister with someone who knows nothing about her brief, who is led by someone who knows little about her brief.

    The blind leading the blind methinks.
  11. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    That's what it looks like to me, too Bob. In Cameron all I see is a smug, posturing spiv, all spin, fake tan and hair dye. He is too poor a leader to manage people with their own ideas. His only skill seems to be to throw away money he hasn't got.
  12. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Contrary to popular opinion, cabinet ministers don't automatically get "access all areas" security clearance as soon as they pick up their red box. FFS, I've been in places and seen things that most of the cabinet don't have clearance for - and so has nearly everybody else who has served. Getting cleared for the above top secret stuff that Neville-Jones deals with takes years - longer than many ministerial careers.

    Would you really want somebody like John Prescott or, dear god, Tony Benn being party to state secrets? In the former case Prezza would have blurted the secrets to some secretary during the vinegar strokes. In the latter case, Tony would have been on the first Aeroflot flight to a long weekend in East Germany.
  13. I am inclined to agree with you AM, but it does depend on how it was put to May, one can be polite, but regretful, as in I'm sorry I can't tell you that, but if you go here it can be arranged.

    Or I know a secret you don't, so piss off. As I understand it the Baroness has a reputation for being confrontational. The fact she resigned lest perhaps she was sacked is interesting; did she fall or was she pushed?

    Anytime an MP is set back on their arse is a good time, but choose your moment.
  14. How do you imagine that the TU144 had a striking similarity to Concorde? He wasn't Minister at the Board of Trade for nothing.