David Blackburn

Lord Young resigns

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Yet another GOAT fails to stay the course. Sky News reports that the gaffe-prone peer, Lord Young, has resigned, following his ill-considered comments about the 'so-called recession'. As the morning progressed, there was a growing sense of inevitability that he would resign. Once again, the government has been unable to steer a communications strategy through a brief and not very serious crisis: after all, Young was chatting idly to a journalist, not expounding government policy. I don't think his position was totally untenable: if Nick Clegg can hold forth on the legality of the Iraq war, why are the loose private opinions of an underling so unacceptable?

However, his comments were politically crass, regardless of some their underlying truth, so it was important for the Prime Minister to dissociate himself from Lord Young entirely. That process began with virulent condemnations of Young's comments whilst refusing to sack him: it sounded almost confused and allowed Labour's attack dogs to suggest that Cameron was 'protecting his friend'. Meanwhile, Vince Cable gave Young a modicum of support, saying he'd done the right thing in apologising.

Chaos is the word that comes to mind. Time will, of course, heal; but the government should have handled this brief squal much more adeptly.