Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Caroline Flint shows her mettle
Much of the commentary around Gordon Brown's mini-reshuffle surrounded the deserved promotions for James Purnell and Andy Burnham to Work and Pensions and DCMS respectively. Less well noticed was Caroline Flint's promotion to the job of housing minister, replacing Yvette Cooper, and giving her a non-voting seat at the Cabinet table. In her first interview with the Guardian today, the minister who effectively steered the successful anti-smoking legislation through government and parliament, in spite of considerable opposition to the total ban from some in cabinet, has once again shown her mettle. By linking the housing agenda to a much clearer sense of social responsibility, she has not only outflanked the opposition, but has brought forward a genuinely radical proposal that will appeal to millions of hard-working Labour voters. With Johnson versus the BMA yesterday, and Flint on housing today, this government is rediscovering its radical nerve; all it needs now is to get public attention beyond snoopers and sleaze.