Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In praise of Ed Davey

The political world rarely rewards actual achievement. Instead it tends to reward those who claim achievement, whether or not they have a right to that claim or not. Hard graft often seems to count for less than effective spin. 

However it is worth noting that the Liberal Democrats in government have a very real heavy weight. A Cabinet Minister who has pushed through a radical agenda, despite major opposition from the Conservatives- especially the now former Cabinet Minister, Owen Patterson. A Cabinet Minister who has the respect of his international peers, and who has rightly persuaded some of our partners, such as Poland, to put the long term interests of the planet ahead of short run economic concerns. In the face of opposition that sometimes verges on the hysterical, Ed Davey has crafted a coherent, competent energy strategy and a credible and effective green strategy.

He has not been afraid to make some enemies on the way, but at every point he has been the rational, intelligent voice for the Lib Dem's green agenda. He also identified the "Putin problem" well ahead of his ministerial peers- and his decision to examine in detail the Alfa bank bid for the RWE North Sea gas assets is the first practical show that the British government really "gets it" about what the tyrannical Mr. Putin is trying to do. 

All of this comes from a man who has not had it easy. He lost his parents while still a child, but went on to be the scholarship kid, who then got an Oxford First. His son, John copes with severe disability and he and his wife Emily have always tried to put John's needs first- not easy when you have a job with the demands that his does. They have now added to their family, with the birth this year of daughter, Ellie, but Ed has always been clear that he has a hinterland well beyond politics.

Indeed he is actually a genuine hero- he once rescued a woman from an oncoming train at Clapham junction station- and was given a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society, not that he particularly talks about it.

This secretary of state is a grafter, but a grafter with a particular intelligence and vision. He represents the best of our party, and indeed our political leaders. As he achieves another success in his battle against climate change, I hope that our party can shout more loudly about one of its strongest assets, and one of its most effective leaders: Ed Davey.  

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