Iain Anderson is co-founder of Cicero Group and is an expert in global political risk and economic public policy issues. He was worked for a range of Conservative policymakers. He writes in a personal capacity. Follow Iain on Twitter.
David Cameron did what he does best this week – inspire.
But while inspiration is a potent political weapon – it's not enough.
Speaking to the many former Labour special advisers who attended Conservative Conference this week and have now found their skills being heavily utilised by UK plc’s brightest and best organisations, they all spoke to me about that wasted first Blair term. “We just didn't grip Whitehall fast enough,” said one former SPAD. ‘And we inherited Ken Clarke’s economic legacy. You don't have that luxury.”
In the pre-election period the Maude agenda to radically reshape Whitehall promised much – but it has taken almost half this Parliament to gain traction with its basic idea – that elected politicians should be running the show and civil servants are there to work at the pleasure of the administration they ‘serve’
Later that evening I bumped into a minister who told me her Whitehall team were not returning calls on an urgent issue. Well it was 7pm after all!
In a useful event with think tank REFORM this week at #CPC12 we talked about a range of key initiatives to get the economy on track. Infrastructure was one of the main ideas we discussed.
Last year I attended a similar event where infrastructure policy was also on the table. This led to a policy to deliver new long term investment being unveiled in the Autumn Statement. Almost a year later – we are still waiting for that policy to be delivered on the ground.
This year’s Autumn Statement will not be easy. Key economic targets will be missed. It's even more important the Government shows it is delivering.
The Prime Minister made a good start on that journey in his speech this week outlining the radical policies that are reshaping Britain. But I think he needs to go further.
He needs a Chief Operating Officer in No10 to cut through the fog of Sir Humphreydom and get things done – and this needs to happen as soon as is practical.
Can I be so bold as to make a suggestion Prime Minister.
Lord Paul Deighton has shown he can deliver a world beating, complicated, integrated, national project. As chief executive of LOCOG he is set to bring to Government immense talent to Government.
He is set to join the Treasury and help deliver that infrastructure plan. But he does not arrive until January 2013. There is time to rethink his role.
Prime Minister – I can't think of a better enforcer – a better COO to make your Government run faster and to drive forward a reforming agenda for Britain.
There is time to make this happen. It's time for delivery. Time for an enforcer.
Time for a COO for Number 10.