27 December 2008

Being Fair to Ed Balls

Ed Balls has come 2nd in Iain Dale's poll for worst Minister of the Year. Personally, I think that is a shame.

I saw Ed Balls at the Children and Young People's Services Awards in London not long after the Baby P court case ended. On that occasion he spoke from the heart and what he said made an immense amount of sense, no least the importance of making sure the Social Work profession is bolstered and supported rather than condemned - something that is being said by both Conservative and Labour Councillors across the Country. I don't recall any Lib Dems saying it, but then there are no votes in it.

On that occasion Ed Balls was fantastic with the young people at the awards ceremony too, touring the tables, chatting to anyone that wanted to speak to him and making sure that anyone who wanted had a photo taken. Most Ministers would have turned up, spoke and left.

It should also be remembered that Ed Balls has sponsored a number of bills through Parliament that have had cross party support.

I suspect there are two reason for his low rating. Firstly, he faces an excellent Shadow Children's team, led by Michael Gove - who is, quite rightly, ranked number two in Iain's poll of the best Shadow Ministers and does a good job of exposing the many weaknesses of the Government. But I think the main reason has to be that many of the times he is speaking he is having to support his failing boss - and Ed Balls does not come across well when he is trying to waffle and put across Government spin that does not stack up. I suspect if he was allowed to stick at being Minister for Children he would fare much better.



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