Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. William Gladstone was his own Chancellor. If Tony Blair enters Downing Street, he should appoint himself Education Secretaryby Andrew Adonis / October 20, 1995 / Leave a comment
Published in October 1995 issue of Prospect Magazine
Tony Blair should take two posts in the next Labour government: prime minister and Secretary of State for Education.
This may sound nonsensical. After all, education is only one of the challenges facing Britain; to tackle it, Tony Blair no more needs to be Education Secretary than Margaret Thatcher needed to be Employment Secretary to take on the unions. How could a prime minister possibly devote himself to one issue at the expense of all others? How could he ignore economic and foreign issues-issues which seal the fate of governments? And anyway, wouldn’t it be unconstitutional? Even if it wouldn’t be, should the prime minister really spend his time deciding the fate of village primary schools?
The constitutional and practical objections-neither of them of much consequence-will be addressed later. Yet there is no denying that the proposal involves a strategic change in the role of the prime minister. That is its rationale. Without such a change, any Blair premiership is likely to prove as unfocused and ultimately unfruitful as those of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan.