Daily Archives: September 14, 2010

The search is finally over. I’ve heard that Ursula Brennan will be promoted to become the most senior civilian official at the Ministry of Defence — taking over what is arguably the most rum job in Whitehall.

It is always good to see more women at the top of the civil service, which is still far too dominated by men. Brennan has shown herself to be a dab hand as deputy permanent secretary at the MoD, keeping a cool head in what can be a maddening institution to work in.

There will also be some relief that there is a degree of continuity at the top of the MoD. After all, as well as Brennan’s appointment as permanent secretary, there is a relatively new government, a new chief of defence staff, and a new head of procurement (which still hasn’t been announced in spite of a six month search).

But those wanting to see new blood brought in to this infamously dysfunctional department will be a touch disappointed. Read more

Jim Pickard

It was a slightly surreal experience last night writing a blog about Charlie Whelan leaving Unite when he had utterly denied it point-blank. Normally denial equals no story, for obvious reasons.

But last night Whelan put out a Twitter late admitting that indeed he was quitting and would be writing a book. Yes, another bibliographical re-examination of the New Labour corpse. Read more

An anxious autumn is Labour’s yet to lose — Philip Stephens/FT
Cameron rejects talk of an election pact – FT
Don’t expect to see David Miliband marching with strikers — FT
Three quarters of voters reject coalition cuts message — The Times (£)
Have the union members really been voting for Ed? – John Rentoul
More insights on the Labour YouGov poll — UK Polling Report
A paean to Anne Widdecombe, Queen of Dance — The Guardian