Sajid Javid’s promotion to Culture Secretary will not surprise his many fans. And it underlines an advantage that the Conservative party has over Labour right now – the talent in its back benchers. The Tories, quite simply, have far more MPs who could be Prime Minister – thanks to the hugely successful recruitment process that David Cameron ran after becoming leader . One of them is Sajid Javid, who is interviewed by the Mail on Sunday today – this was done (as ever) months earlier by James Forsyth in the Spectator (his interview here). They’re both worth reading, as I suspect Javid is one of these guys we’ll be hearing a lot more from in coming years.
Javid’s father lived what Michael Howard called the “British dream“, coming to Britain from Pakistan with £1 to his name then working day and night to give his family better chance than he had.This worked, and aged 25 his son Sajid was the youngest-ever vice-president of Chase Manhattan bank. He was comprehensive-educated and then went to Exeter University – worth noting because its alumni (Robert Halfon, David Burrowes, Tim Montgomerie) would become leading Tory reformers.
James ends his interview with Javid this way:-
He responds by musing about his retirement. He says that when he’s sitting on the ‘porch in a rocking chair’, he wants to know that he’s done everything he can ‘to try and help my country give those opportunities that I have had to other generations. Where that means I go between now and my late seventies, I don’t know. But that’s what I want to feel that I’ve achieved.’ In other words: he knows precisely where that means he needs to go, but is too savvy to say.
I doubt that Javid’s ambition is that of the stereotypical political schemer, who wants to get to No10 because this is the prize in the great game. To end up as a reforming minister who did help thousands of lower-income voters, like Michael Gove or Iain Duncan Smith, would probably satisfy Javid’s ambition. But the Mail on Sunday is certainly right that he’s someone to keep an eye on.
This was written on Sunday and updated with news of his promotion
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.