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Posted by Richard Saturday, December 03, 2005

That great sage, Charles Moore – former editor of the Daily Telegraph – gives us the benefit of his wisdom today… in The Daily Telegraph.

Pontificating as he does, he tells us that policy is the last thing that David Cameron needs, in support of which thesis, we get this gem:

Notice what is not there. This tells you a lot, and is intended to do so. There is nothing that "shadows" the structure of government. The one advantage opposition has over government is that it need not be departmentalised. Governments operate in silos - the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs has its thing, the Department of the Environment has its, and never the twain shall meet, except to clash. The business of government is very largely a power struggle over demarcation.
Er… to my certain memory, we have a Department called the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and, as I recall, when it was set up in 2001, amalgamating the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) with the Department of the Environment, one of the singular points was that, for the first time in history, we had an agriculture ministry with no mention of agriculture or farming in its title.

When we have a supposedly senior political commentator, writing for a major national newspaper, who seems to lack basic knowledge of the departments of state in the present government, is there any reason why we should take him seriously?

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