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By Paul Goodman
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"'Cause we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in the stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender"

Together with Daniel Finkelstein, Alice Thomson and Sarah Vine (Mrs Michael Gove) from the Times, Robert Hardman of the Daily Mail and Xan Smiley of his own journal, the Economist, Christopher Lockwood was identified last year by David Cameron as one of six close friends who are journalists.  As I write, parts of the lobby and commentariat are whooping it up about closed circles, public schoolboys, a chummocracy, Old Etonians, and all the rest of it – since James Forsyth has broken the news that Lockwood is leaving his post as the Economist's U.S Editor to join the Prime Minister's Policy Unit. The bright side, for those worried about this sort of thing, is that Lockwood is not an Old Etonian.  The less bright side, for the same lot, is that he was educated at St Paul's. I used to work with Lockwood at the Daily Telegraph, and remember him as quirky, funny, well-briefed, sometimes gloomy, always sharp – and highly intelligent.

He will do whatever he's asked to with distinction, though the fun poked at his appointment is entirely predictable.  So why has Cameron gone ahead?  Number 10 will argue that it is not a preserve of white privately-educated men, and cite Ameet Gill and Rohan Silva – as well as Gaby Bertin and Liz Sugg and Clare Foges.  Perhaps: but the Prime Minister clearly does a lot of his recruiting on the basis of friendship and trust – more so than George Osborne (who originally recruited Silva) or Boris Johnson (who tends to select on merit, on the whole with good results.) At any rate, I can't help considering this move alongside my recent experience of travelling with the Prime Minister while he campaigned for a day, mulling over Cameron's general impatience with some of his critics – and reading this as a No Surrender appointment.  The upside is that I don't read Lockwood as a man who will simply tell the Prime Minister what he wants to hear.

"'Cause we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in the stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender".

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