Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Some Ministers Are Better Than Others

I know it would be really hard to be a government minister - I've seen some fairly robust, (if we are fair minded about the current executive/legislature setup) decent and clear defences over how recently promoted ministers have had to change the way they were going to vote on an issue. And as my partner will know, in private to people I trust, I can have robust criticisms which I think are fair minded, of our own Lib Dem ministers.

However, it's quite striking as Steve Webb goes on to build on the success of NEST and auto-enrolment to start taking on unfair pension charges, that some ministers are more competent than others. You can tell it's the right target, in this case with pension charges, if the only criticism is it's not going far enough. This man understands his brief, and the more he does, the more I approve. OK, the triple lock is more likely to benefit others than me - as the generation I am in is likely to both work till they are 70, and personally I think we are probably going to have a degree of means-testing on our pensions by the time I retire. But overall I think he's doing a fantastic job.

It appears his objectives are SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. He knows what he's doing.

Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith seems very well intentioned but... well, doesn't seem to be having as much success. I queried the aims of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments at the time, but some told me to wait and see. So I waited, and we have seen. PIPs are in chaos and UC is beset by more and more delays. I do think, unlike some, that a lot of the Tories including IDS are well intentioned, but sometimes suffer from either lack of attention to detail or over ambition, or both.

So, Webb 2 IDS 0 so far, wonder what the score will be at the end of the term? 

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