What will Young's fall from grace mean for the Jackson Review?
Lord Young had been out of the media spotlight for the best part of two decades. And it showed last Friday, as a slip-up on the subject of the recession by the 78-year-old peer was broadcast on the Daily Telegraph’s website.
Indeed, some of us may have benefited from historically low interest rates and hence mortgages, but those fearing the loss of their job or who have had to cut back on their hours will hardly be feeling that they "have never had it so good".
Speaking his mind
In truth, for Young watchers, the gaffe was not entirely surprising. The former trade and industry secretary has made a habit of shooting from the hip at his recent public appearances. And, at times, his statements appeared to be based on little more than newspaper clippings.
Nevertheless, the former Thatcher favourite was an important advocate for the government’s drive to reform the civil litigation process. His report Common Safety, Common Sense provided heavyweight backing for the government’s decision, greatly welcome within the insurance industry, to accept the recommendations of the Jackson Review. And with a desk at 10 Downing Street, Lord Young was in a good position to help push the reforms through government.
Still going ahead
Is there any risk therefore that his resignation will knock off course the government’s implementation of Jackson?
Inevitably, any comments that Lord Young made on the topic will look a less credible now, given how out of touch his views on the wider economy appear to be.
However, among both advocates and opponents of the review, there is a consensus that the government’s drive to reform the civil process will be largely unaffected by Lord Young’s fall from grace.
The Ministry of Justice has stuck its colours to the mast by accepting the bulk of Jackson’s recommendations in a consultation paper published last week.
All in the timing
It might have been a different story if Lord Young had made his comments before publishing Common Safety, Common Sense. However the report is out now.
To be “brutally honest”, as Cameron had asked him to be, Lord Young’s work was probably already done.