Peter Hoskin

Don’t be surprised if Jowell is kept on by a Tory government

Don't be surprised if Jowell is kept on by a Tory government
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As Ben Brogan outlined in his Telegraph column last November, there are plenty of Tories placing a good deal of emphasis on the London Olympics.  By the time it comes around, they may well have spent two years cutting spending, raising taxes, and generally struggling against the fiscal problems that Brown has hardwired into our nation's fibre.  A successful Games, the thinking goes, could be just the tonic for their midterm government – as well as for the country as a whole.

Which is why today's story about the Tories somehow keeping on Tessa Jowell, the current Olympics Minister, is unsurprising.  The thinking is clear: a bit of continuity could prevent the organisational problems, as well as power struggles, which always seem to beset political handovers.  And, besides, Jowell is hardly what you'd call a Brownite.

But there are two things to be wary about – one for the Tories and one for those who, like me, are minded towards an Austerity Olympics.  For the Tories, keeping Jowell on might give Labour's 2012 Mayoral candidate a chance to make mischief, claiming that Labour have delivered the Games – after all, Kate Hoey is already Boris's sports commissioner.  For the rest of us, there's the risk that continuity of personnel might equate to continuity in the way things are done.  Given how expensive the Olympics have been so far, that may be a blow the public finances could do without.