Friday, February 03, 2006
The Iain Dale Guide to Tony Blair's Reshuffle
It can't surely be too much longer before Tony Blair carries out his long awaited reshuffle. I think this could be quite a wide-ranging shift-around, with one very unexpected high profile casualty. This senior Minister is rumoured to want to go voluntarily. I may well be wrong but I believe this could be Jack Straw. It seems that his frequent trips to Uganda may have finally taken their toll. Blair's got to make room for at least four new entrants who will expect to stay on after the Dour One takes over and preserve what's left of the Blair legacy. My little munchkin Hazel Blears has been knocking at the Cabinet door for some time. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she were joined by another mate of mine, Tony McNulty, who doubles as New Labour's very own Norman Tebbit. Blair is said to want to promote more women to the Cabinet, and if I'm right that Beckett and Armstrong are for the chop, he'll need to. I can't bring myself to believe he would really promote either Jackie Smith or Beverley Hughes, but he might well go for the fragrant Caroline Flint. I was at university with her. She used to run the 'Wimmins' Group. She dressed like a sack of potatoes. Suffice to say she could now be mistaken for Ms Chanel No 5. And she's done a good job in the various junior portfolios she's held. What's more she's good on TV and unlike most of the New Labour robots has a good sense of humour. I remember debating VAT on tampons with her at university. Those were the days. But I digress. Angela Smith is another of the '97 intake who's proved herself, although she might have to settle for a sideways move this time. If Blair wants to promote a younger MP, James Purnell would fit the bill. He's had the unenviable task of selling the 24 hour drinking proposals but has made a reasonably good fist of it. I don't expect Ed Balls to get a huge promotion, but he'll no doubt be given something junior. Quite unjustifiably, in my view as he is absolutely dire on the media.
HOT TIPS FOR THE SACK
MOVING TO DIFFERENT JOBS
Geoff Hoon (to Chief Whip)
Charles Clarke (possibly)
Ruth Kelly (or possibly sacked altogether)
David Miliband (Education or Home Office)
REMAINING IN THEIR CURRENT POSTS
Dr John Reid
Charlie Falconer (outside tip for Home Secretary)
Alan Johnson (outside tip for Education)
PROMOTED TO THE CABINET
I guess that along with all the lobby journalists who have made predictions I'll end up with egg on my face too. But that's half the fun of it, isn't it?