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Ed Vaizey for the BM?

9 April 2014

There was only one topic of discussion at the launch of Nadine Dorries’s novel Four Streets last night – will Maria Miller survive? The conversation was particularly pointed because Ed Vaizey and Helen Grant — Miller’s now former colleagues at the Department of Culture Media and Sport — were both present. They at least tried not to gossip.

Vaizey was invited to speak by Dorries in his ‘capacity as a Culture Minister and a friend’. He gave a comedy turn; lavishing Nadine with praise for her ‘brilliant, brilliant book which I have not yet read.’ He continued:

‘I asked Nadine for a copy and she said you can buy it off Amazon — it costs the equivalent of about 18 and a half pints of milk, not that you would know, posh boy.’

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Vaizey (Old Pauline, Oxon, Cameroon) continued on this theme:

‘She takes her place in the litany of great Tory writers: Kwarsi Kwateng, Jesse Norman, Rory Stewart; though she is the only one who didn’t go to Eton.’

The friendship bit done and dusted, Culture Minister Vaizey went off on a tangent and began to quote Roger McGough. The bard of Liverpool’s oeuvre is not something that many Tory MPs have in their armoury; but that’s merely the tip of Vaizey’s cultural range.

In another time, a departmental number two who was not only on top of but also clearly loved their brief would have been rewarded with a promotion, should the secretary of state’s position become free. A top job at the British Museum is soon to become vacant; Mr S can think of no better candidate — and certainly none who is more amenable to the Tory leadership — than Ed Vaizey.

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  • RoadrunnerNick

    My choice in Maria Miller’s former Arts and Farces job would have been Anna Soubry so that she was no longer Minister for Defence Personnel, an important post for which she proved herself unfit in an interview in today’s Face the Facts.

    Ms Soubry didn’t know that more army reservists are leaving the Army than are joining, expressing surprise at the fact and having to be put right by an official. And this was in an interview in which the adequacy of the reserve force was the topic.

    Nauseatingly, she later referred to “my generals” as if she were The Queen.

  • Richard Baron

    Do you mean Director of the BM? I guess you do, since a new Chairman of Trustees has only recently been appointed. I have nothing against Mr Vaizey, but that job should not be given to someone whose career has been in politics. The current Director has done a fantastic job. He had proved himself in other museum jobs (Director of the National Gallery), and he is also a first-class art historian. The idea that jobs like these should be handed out to politicians, even deserving ones, rather than given to people who have the skills and have proved themselves in other jobs of the same nature, is simply appalling.

    • Frank

      I agree. Ed Vaizey has an interesting background for a tory, his dad got a life peerage from Harold Wilson, presumably for his left wing educational writings?

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