Total of British Soldiers killed in Afghanistan = 289
Dog days for Select committees are ahead.
The carve-up between the parties has determined which parties get the vital job of committee chair. That choice will determine the character of the committee and the value of its work. The last parliament's bravest and best committee was Public Administration (PASC) inspired by the routinely brilliant Tony Wright. The 'Wright' proposals are the basis for parliament's reform.
PASC is now doomed to have a Tory chair. Three names have been suggested. Iain Liddell Granger has been an independent member of the committee but his interests are superficial and he frequently tempted into excesses by the prospect of media exposure. Alos in the running is Christopher Chope. He is a destructive backbench saboteur with views fixed in the permafrost of Old Toryism. There is hope that PASC will talk some sense into IPSA - the new bureaucratic expensive monster that will increase expenditure wastefully. The third name is Bernard Jenkins. He is an able maverick. But he would be hamstrung in his supervision of IPSA because he had to pay shed-loads of expenses cash back.
No future committee chair will match Tony Wright. But I did not think that the choice would be as thin as this.
The Welsh Affairs Committee is to be a Tory. This is an outrage. Wales voted for 26 Labour MPs and 8 Tories. Major changes in the devolution settlement are ahead. The choice of chair should be from the 26 Labour MPs. Only one eligible Tory has experienced from the last parliament. The rest are freshers or in Government. That leaves David 'Top Cat' Davies. He represents the sneering self-loathing element of Welsh life, petty, limited and addicted to tabloid publicity. If Davies succeeds, the committee's reputation of high achievement under Hywel Francis will die.
The Wright proposals promised a new powerful role for select committees. Under these chairs, it won't happen.