RESHUFFLE: Dave’s limited wriggle-room

Turkeys will get in the way of the Christmas real Tories dream about

As Boris dissembles his way towards recognised status as an Olympian God, among MPs there is more reshuffle talk in the air.

There seems to me very little point in having a reshuffle. Some limited-scale firing would be good, but I very much doubt any ordinary person in the electorate would view a reshuffle with more than vague, passing interest. The Westminster media bubble will naturally analyse the snakes and ladders – as all good Camerlotologists try to do. But the issue for most people, I suspect, is the Prime Minister himself.

Mr Cameron has shown some lamentable judgement and very little principled leadership since May 2010. I suspect the single biggest reasons for the slowly widening lead for Labour in the opinion polls are (1) a non-partisan dislike of the shady types with which he seems to surround himself; and (2) the near-collapse of LibDem support in the country. Problem 1 is well known and authenticated already, but Problem 2 was laid out in all its horror last week. According to figures released by the Electoral Commission, Nick Clegg’s party membership dropped by a
quarter during 2011, from 65,038 to 48,934. The same report shows that the Liberal Democrats saw their income drop from over £9.5 million in 2010 to just over £6 million in 2011.

Clearly, the LibDems have to choose what to do about this: austerity or stimulation? It has to be the latter, and the only weapon available to them at the moment is acting the Tough Guy whenever the Conservatives suggest something sensible. This means that both weapons and opportunities are limited, but if there is to be a reshuffle, then the Clegg Hardman factor will always get in the way: the Coalition is based on MPs in the House, not votes still to be cast outside in the real world: the LibDem ‘leader’ still has the power  to screw things up.

The PM could appoint someone like John Redwood from the Right as Chancellor (he won’t) but even then that person would come up against LibDems at business and the Treasury. If he fired Osborne (he won’t) and gave Vince Cable the Chancellorship, the 1922 would tear Cameron to pieces.

Thus in reality, he has little room to make substantive changes. Hence my suggestion of A Little Local Firing Squad rather than mass executions.

For me, the only win-win would be to drop Theresa May and replace her with David Davis. If nothing else, Davis understands the civil liberties balance – and it’s obvious that nobody in Camerlot does. I think two bold steps would be to fire Jeremy Hunt (he brings only controversy and dislike to the table) and ask for Lord Green’s resignation. If nothing else, these acts might give Mr Cameron a chance to relaunch his ‘clean’ credentials. It won’t work, but it’s the sort of thing that antennae-free Dave might try. But do I really think he will? No, I don’t.

What he’ll do is move the cards around and add a sop here and there to the 1922 mob. If he does any more than that for the Right, then it will be a sign that his power-base is crumbling. So he won’t. A lot of politics is tediously self-fulfilling.

Finally, one flier – we really do need someone at Defence who can get the respect of the armed forces and act as a bulwark against pointless cuts that only show us to be weak internationally. Colonel Bob Stewart is an obvious choice. And being Non-Executive Chairman of Premier Gold, one suspects he could offer some interesting insights around the Cabinet table during the coming tribulations.

 

34 thoughts on “RESHUFFLE: Dave’s limited wriggle-room

  1. David Davis would have to be stark staring mad to accept any position whatsoever in this government. It is the proverbial “dead man walking”. Anyone who now becomes a member of it will be tainted for the foreseeable future.
    As you say, any re-shuffle will be of interest to the media-but not the voters-who really just want rid of this lot.it wie

    • As you say, any re-shuffle will be of interest to the media-but not the voters-who really just want rid of this lot

      And to be replaced by what……….?

      • Exactly.
        What the country obviously needs is another Layyybour govt.
        Let’s call it “Super-New Labour Mk 17″ or some such. The Unions Red Ed will be in charge and he can turn the printing taps on, create a taxpayer funded/guaranteed slush fund “investment bank” to override bank lending decisions and feed loans to politically motivated applicants “good business cases” and raise taxes thru the roof. I hear he might also introduce some wages/price controls too. The country can get back to living in Never-Never Dreamland where it always feels very comfortable.

      • No, the country most obviously does not need another Labour government. But voters now vote against, rather than for, people, policies etc.
        At the last election I voted Tory, not because I wanted “Dave” (who I knew would be useless) but because I did not want Brown-at practically any cost.

      • @MickC: I agree with you on voting patterns, but the relentless attacks by the slogmeister against anything Tory – including blaming them for failings/corruption of the last Labour govt- can only serve to increase that pattern. Assuming anybody takes any notice of the slog!

  2. The Government Re-Shuffle Game.

    Dave and Nick sit at the table and in front of them are five bags.

    Bag A. contains tickets with the names of the current Ministers
    Bag B. contains the job titles + 3 tickets marked ‘Sacked’
    Bag C. contains tickets with the names of Tories not yet ministers
    Bag D. is the same as bag C but with Lib/Dems
    Bag E. contains tickets with a number on each one, 4, 7, 12, 26 and 48

    Dave pulls a ticket from bag A.
    Nick pulls one from bag B.
    Name from bag A. becomes Minister from bag B.
    If the bag B. ticket says ‘Sacked’ then if he/she was a Tory, Dave pulls a name from bag C., if a Lib/Dem then the name comes from bag D.

    This continues until bag A. is empty.

    Finally Dave pulls a ticket from bag E., this is the number of weeks that will elapse until they have to play the game again.

    Doing it like this would reduce the amount of back biting that goes on after a traditional re-shuffle as it would be ‘luck of the draw’ rather than ‘who you know’.

    (a variant could be flip a coin at the start to determine if it is a minor re-shuffle with 3 ‘Sacked’ tickets in bag B. or a major one with 6 ‘Sacked’ tickets)

    Perhaps this is how they do it at the moment

  3. Cameron is very unlikely to promote anyone who is better than himself – his sort never do – and that means that, apart from the Lib/Dems, his choices are very limited. He has kept any Conservative blessed with any kind of nous on the back benches for the last two and a bit years, and that is not going to change any time soon.

    M.

  4. Bob Stewart was the best Commanding Officer I served under during my 22 years in the Cheshire Regiment. I worked him from when I joined and he was a junior Captain, right up to when he left a couple of years before me.

    He is honest, compassionate and always puts those under him above himself. He cared deeply not just for his men but also their familes.

      • Agreed Kfc, unfortunately Politicians don’t care, except about one thing, keeping their snouts in the trough…

        Anyone who is half decent these days, and blessed with talent, would not go near a political party, and who can blame them?

        Ditto for the Unions. we are being presided over by the shallow end of the gene pool, and Dave is pretty shallow, as there is no great depth to him.

        Gone are the days of politicians with gravitas, experience of the world, and learning, now all we have are the dross who could not make it in any other sphere…

      • @kfc: Superbly put. If Bob Stewart has no peccadillos in his cupboard which can be kept in a control file, he hasn’t got a chance in hell.

    • Savep
      Absolutely. A good, honest and honourable man. Why he has gone into politics eludes me. His wife and kids are also a delight.

      • Easy money and the opportunity of self aggrandisement I suppose.

        Hopefully he’ll make a better job of it then that other great Military Officer turned politician Eric Joyce. Sandhursts finest in a beer glass.

  5. Cabinet reshuffles remind me of Geoff Boycott.Coming in at 7 against Sussex in a Gillette cup match in 1963,he made 71,before running himself out,which he did over and over again for 20 years.

  6. O/T – Breaking News
    Reuters: NY STATE ACCUSES STANDARD CHARTERED OF HIDING $250 BLN IN IRAN TRANSACTIONS-CNBC NY STATE: STANDARD CHARTERED OFFICIALS LIED TO REGULATORS TO COVER UP ACTIVITIES-CNBC NY STATE: STANDARD CHARTERED ORDERED TO DEMONSTRATE WHY ITS STATE LICENSE SHOULD NOT BE SUSPENDED-CNBC

  7. Dave will probably sack Theresa, promoting the idiot Duncan Smith to Home Secretary with a plan to appeal to the right of the party e,g, build more prisons and send the unemployed to jail for refusing workfare, thus creating a prison industrial complex with Liar Liar Grayling taking over at the DWP sending the unemployed to prison camps ala North Korea .
    The Lib Dems are finished, they drank from the poisoned cup of Cameron by signing the coalition agreement sacrificing the votes and popularity they had gathered from New Labour. By buying into the lies of Cameron and Osborne about economy being Labour’s fault has destroyed them.
    Clegg would have been better just offering a Tory minority government ‘confidence and supply’ on Commons votes but he showed his naivety of party politics.

    • “By buying into the lies of Cameron and Osborne about economy being Labour’s fault has destroyed them.”

      Good heavens, is it possible there are still people out there who don’t know what damage Blair / Brown did to everything about the UK, but in particular the economics of it?

  8. I see we are back to, “it is all the previous governments fault?”
    This is correct, within reason, All so-called Democratic Governments bribe the punters to get in/remain in Power, by the use of Tax breaks, subsidies or benefits.
    Unfortunately, borrowing to do this cannot go on for ever and the % on the debt starts to ramp up [it's called compound %].
    Answer
    Keep % rates @ 0.5% [done that]
    Aim for a balanced Year on year budget. [ no not done that]
    Aim to start repaying down the debt [not even close]
    Answer to above.
    Return government expenditure to what it was in 2010 and freeze ALL government spending at that level.
    80% of the debt is owed to the banks for their bail out, They were infact bankrupt, But on Banks balance sheets ,shown as Assets, are loans outstanding. These Assetts should be taxed @1% pa until these banks are back in profit and start paying Corporation Tax.
    The Housing bubble, led to overborrowing by Home owners, plus non doms who live in the UK and pay no tax, Abolish Council Tax and bring in a property/Land Tax of 1% pa.
    Make it Law that ANY Government should run a balanced Annual budget, if not MP’s should be surcharged and if they do not pay up are dissmissed and can no longer be an MP. [As per Local Councillors]
    To make it fair for the current lot, give them 2 years to reach a balanced budget, if they think it cannot be done a] have a fresh election, or b] form a National Government with the simple aim to achieve this.
    Unfortunately, MP’s like ALL the power, but will try to blame anyone else. Also if you check The Maastricht Treaty, [1992] 20 years ago, its main aims was a balanced budget for all member states, certainly no more then 3% deficit pa. But the Politicos signed it off, without thinking how will we sell it to the Plebs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maastricht_Treaty
    I could go on, but nothing will be done until we are finallycompletely broke, riots in the streets. Then the Politicos will hav their fall guys to blame and kick.

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