Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Lord Chancellor's Worldview

As we live in a parliamentary system, it strikes me as being important that we judge a party, or a government, not just on the merits and de-merits of its leader but also of its various ministers and shadow ministers.  After all, these men and women will be making and executing policy over a wide range of areas, and have a potentially huge impact.  If you consider the present administration, its Conservative character has certainly been partly formed by the attitudes of Michael Gove, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne.  And Chris Grayling.  Grayling has been a controversial figure at the helm of the Justice Department, the first non-lawyer in 400 years to hold the supreme legal post of Lord Chancellor.  His legal reforms have been widely execrated within the legal profession, and his prisoner book ban was held up as barbarous.  His comments on social issues too form part of the whole character of the Conservative element of the government.

Conservative Home's Andrew Gimson interviewed Grayling, and the lengthy but very readable piece is well worth going to.  He defends his position in his various controversies, and there are some interesting personal insights too.  I found it remarkable that a front-rank politician who studied history at Cambridge was not able to name any political heroes, or even political figures who inspired him.  His approach to politics seems somehow mechanical.  He comments on his brief dalliance with the SDP, and talks of his attitude to grammar schools - definitely pro, but wary of expanding them.

Gimson writes well and interjects a few counters to his subject, but of course the interview piece allows Grayling to state his positions largely unchallenged, so you might also care to go this article by Politics.co.uk's Ian Dunt, where he takes Grayling's defence of his legal reforms to pieces.  

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