Chief Secretary To The Treasury Andy Burnham demonstrated on Newsnight that he was caught off-guard and had not even read the Redwood review. This could have more significance than only his carelessness. Labour generally were caught off guard, and the BBC in a panic launched accusations at Redwood before he’d even explained what his review had said. There was an extraordinary tension on all the BBC programmes on Redwood’s first day out.
Conservatives however were also puzzled when Redwood was launched across all media on a Sunday when as www.dizzythinks.com pointed out on his blog, CCHQ had another policy all set to launch that day, and they knew nothing about Redwood going ‘over the top’.
From Dizzythinks – ‘It was suggested to me that the first anyone in CCHQ knew about the detail of Redwood’s plans was when he was sitting on News 24 yesterday morning. Apparently, the main story for yesterday was supposed to be Damian Green’s announcement on forced marriage which found itself relegated on the news agenda. The BBC were apparently going to use it as one of their main political stories for the day but then Redwood’s report popped up.’
So it wasn’t only Andy Burnham and the BBC caught unawares.
The comment offered by commentators was that within the Conservative Party, this was poor management and lack of coordination by Cameron.
But another explanation would make more sense. Cameron probably deliberately side-stepped CCHQ and launched without notifying them. Why would he do that?
It seems likely that CCHQ has been a bit leaky in the last 18 months, and that Cameron felt the media were being continually tipped off by someone on the inside as to what his next moves were going to be.
The Mirror were trying to place a new mole into CCHQ as revealed on Iain Dale’s Diary two days ago. Maybe Labour’s last mole has recently been dealt with – I just wonder if it had anything to do with the curious step of removing the last Chairman Francis Maude, who departed like a lamb.
Whatever the explanation, it has been truly wonderful to see Burnham and a whole host of BBC interviewers going off like scalded cats in shock to see John Redwood appearing in their studios. Cameron should by-pass his CCHQ more often.