Serious Riots and recalls of Parliament apart, The political summer break provides space each year to think ahead. Hence the discussion in Westminster among many about how we are starting to see the end of stage one of this coalition government and will now enter a second period, looking ahead to how the later years will develop for the coalition, building up to the next election in 2015. One former Lib Dem MP I bumped into during this recess pushed a theory that Nick Clegg should grab hold of the vexed issue of the Union and announce a timetable for a referendum on Scottish independence. This eye-catching, only partially mad, idea would have two benefits. Clegg could prevent the SNP from running ahead with the issue, as they always do. It could also provide him with a serious project and momentum that will never be provided by constitutional reform. As I’ve learnt to ask in politics, why not? As we see how the coalition ties up the reforms of its first, manic period in government, you will see and hear an awful lot about Francis Maude. It was, therefore, an ideal time to put the calm, behind-the scenes Cabinet Office minister in pride of place on this month’s cover. He has been around seemingly for ever, but this is his moment of glory. His work at the Cabinet Office could fundamentally change the way governments work in the future – more open, able to handle data – and a new relationship with those who work with the government. Turn to p48 to discover why he’s the man who tells colleagues “they can’t do the things they want to do”. A very different but equally compelling character bursts off the pages in our fantastic interview with Ken Livingstone on p38. Ken Livingstone is widely dismissed. Even his own party, particularly in Parliament, are unsure he is the man Labour needs for next year’s mayoral election. As Francis Maude continues his quiet work, the London battle will be a loud, bruising clash between two of the largest personalities in politics. It will be gripping, but not pretty.
en Duckworth • Editor | email@example.com
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4 | September 2011 | Total Politics
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On the cover Francis Maude photographed exclusively for Total Politics by Alisa Connan on 25 July 2011 at the Cabinet Office, London.