Ministers don’t fear being recognised, they fear not being recognised or being confused with someone
Sometime in the next 18 months, people are going to be groping for ways to sum up what was so wonderful about the new Tory government. They will be trying to convey just what it was about the new Cameron administration that gave everyone that feeling of minty freshness. Why, they will say, was that long-delayed election like jumping into a lovely mountain stream on a hot summer day?
In these days of financial hardship, there will be a huge media appetite for those small symbolic acts that somehow defined the ethic of the nation’s new masters. Everyone will want to see which sacred cows are slaughtered, which vested interests are taken on, which received wisdom is scrapped. So today I take as my text some gloomy reflections by the late Alan Clark MP, who wondered quite what he and his fellow government ministers were doing with their lives, sitting in the back of their ministerial Rovers and contracting brain cancer while talking on their mobiles to their mistresses.
As ever, Clark had a point. If George Osborne wants to create a new aroma for the incoming Tory administration – that hates, hates, hates wasteful public spending – then he should pick up his axe and chop the ministerial car.