Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fisking the Shadow Cabinet Reshuffle

This article by Melissa Kite is from today's Sunday Telegraph. My comments are in italics...

David Cameron is preparing a radical shake-up of his shadow cabinet after achieving the Tories' best election result for 15 years.
No he isn't. He will wait until Gordon Brown unveils his new team at the beginning of July.
Buoyed by winning more than 800 council seats, the Conservative leader is ready to appoint a new line-up to fight Gordon Brown, now almost certain to take over from Tony Blair this summer.
Yup, at the beginning of July.
Of the top positions, only George Osborne is expected to remain in his post, as shadow chancellor.
On whose say so?
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, is set for a move to a beefed-up shadow ministry of defence as part of a plan to divide the home affairs brief.
How exactly does one beef up defence? Call it Ministry of War?
Nick Herbert, shadow police reform minister, is tipped to take on policing and immigration.
Seeing as police and immigration will now be in two different departments, this is a fatuous suggestion.
Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, is expected to be a casualty of the shake-up following months of internal rancour about alleged disloyalty.
This does have the ring of truth about it. I have lost count of the number of Shadow Cabinet ministers and MPs who have told me the same thing in the last two weeks. He is accused of briefing the press against David Cameron and not performing in his current role.
William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, is set for demotion after angering many in the party with his continued devotion to commercial public speaking events.
He has scaled these down and after the publication of his Wilberforce book in June he will be devoting his time to politics more or less full time it is to be hoped.
However, he is popular in the country and is tipped for a move to either party chairman or shadow Commons leader, roles which would showcase his speaking talents.
The suggestion of Party Chairman has been touted before but Hague would hate it and refuse it. And if he's asked to be Shadow Leader of the House he might as well ring up HarperCollins and ask them for a new book contract. Not going to happen.
Others tipped for promotion include Chris Grayling, Caroline Spelman, and David Ruffley.
Ah, now we're getting to the nub of it.
Mr Grayling, who rose to prominence by campaigning against Labour corruption, is likely to be moved from transport to a more high profile job.
Wouldn't disagree with that. Indeed, I'd move him back to being Leader of the Commons which gives hm a wide ranging role and allows his to reindulge himself in his role as the Jack Russell terrier with his teeth round the ankles of any cabinet minister who misbehaves.
Mr Ruffley is considered to have shone at pensions and is tipped for a senior Treasury role.
Particularly by Mr Ruffley himself. His colleagues are also terribly impressed - terribly impressed by Mr Ruffley's ability to tell everyone how well he has done. In truth he hasn't done a bad job, but there are a dozen or more junior spokespeople with at least equal, if not better claims. More on these later today.
Miss Spelman, at local government, won admiration for her campaign against Labour's council tax increases and is seen as a rising star.
She needs to develop a much harder edge and media presence. Her Shadow Cabinet place is safe and she should stay in the same job.
Mr Cameron will attempt to bring in more women to the shadow cabinet. Julie Kirkbride, the former shadow culture secretary, is said to be ready for a return to the frontline.
I do hope that is the case. She's superb on the media and much underrated.
Of middle-ranking ministers, Michael Gove, at housing, and Greg Clark, who speaks on charities, are also tipped for elevation.
Both would be superb appointments.
Mr Cameron, his mandate strengthened at the polls, is likely to make the changes within weeks.
Yes, within about nine weeks...
"David is strong enough to do anything he wants to do now," said one insider.
He always has been. 67% of the vote in the leadership contest said it all.
"Whatever changes he wants to make, now is the time to make them."
It most patently isn't. The first week of July is the best time to make the changes, once David Cameron knows who his team will be up against. Anyone with half a political brain would know that. It would be a fundamental mistake to make any wideranging changes before then.


So, who is the source of Melissa Kite's article? She probably had more than one, but the main source is clearly a close admirer of David Ruffley! My suspicions are that it is a middle ranking shadow spokesman whose credibility for Melissa Kite is emphasised by his closeness to David Cameron. He ought to hide his traces better in future...


Anonymous said...

"How exactly does one beef up defence? Call it Ministry of War?"

No, this would be a display of honesty which is totally out of charactar.

fr said...

Julie Kirkbride

Chris Paul said...

Mmmm. The beginning of July would nonetheless be a time insifficiently far into the future that it will need some thought now, don't you agree? Or are you preferring a knee-jerk one week after Brown (or McDonnell hee hee) sorts his cabinet out?

Chris Paul said...

PS Obviously 8 or 9 weeks is "within weeks" and also "now". The Tories have no need to follow Labour and divide the Home Office response. They might make a point about that and parade a big beast of the future by keeping their response together for now.

Anonymous said...

Dave in "crush a grape" mode is going to be interesting-please let him demote Davis,Fox and Hague for we really do need a good bloodbath to clear the air.
This will make Dave look tough and positive-and still no policies!

Anonymous said...

It would be crazy to move or demote David Davis who is a highly impressive and effective performer. Change for change's sake, or undermining someone who might still challenge for leadership in the future?

Meanwhile who is David Ruffley? Never heard of him, and I'm a pensioner with a sore bank balance.

ezra said...

Hague's not popular in the country at all. He's popular in the party.

Maggie Thatcher Fan said...

I only buy the Telegraph these days because my wife does the nonagram on Sundays, IMHO its so anti DC, its pathetic. Has it changed, haven't read it in months >?

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Please, don't let Gove anywhere near the limelight... His face is irritating, but his mannerisms more so.

He'll be to us what Hewitt is to Labour. I promise you that.

Scott said...

Firing Fox will be a very bad sign; firing Davis, terminal. There is simply no cause for initiating rancour and bitterness in the party, when it has been the most pacific and unified in a long time.

Greg Clark should certainly not be promoted: he is a troubled individual who needs to go home and think things through.

Michael Gove should get shadow homeland security.

I'd like to see Ken Clarke as shadow leader of the house.

fr said...

The Telegraph campaign against DC is utterly bizarre. If they confined themselves to reporting disatisfaction with him within the party it would be fine, but they are running a campaign, spinning news stories against him. Do they have the same contempt for their readers that the tabloids have ?

Anonymous said...



judith said...

Ken Clarke as Shadow Leader of the House/ Are you crackers?

Old, plummy tones, lazy, constant reminders of the Major years, how about digging up Stanley Baldwin?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Well fisked, Iain!

Anonymous said...

Mchiavelli-Gove is a mans man and will be a towering figure on the front bench with his mate Dave.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the press "hyperventilating" on the David and his merry men. Just enjoy another labour rat jumping a sinking ship with Reads decision to sign on for a berth on Blairs liferaft.


Mikey said...

I really don't know why the Sunday Telegraph persists in printing these ridiculous stories of misinformed speculation. They have zero credibility. See this for a typical example:

How much of this turned out to be true? Not a lot.

Anonymous said...

It would be very surprising if Cameron reshuffled before he knew how Brown intends to restructure Whitehall. The look and shape of several Departments are likely to change and the Tories' last attempt to shadow portfolios that did not exist was not successful.

Anonymous said...

ha. if it's true, then it's a case of Dave replacing 'dries' with 'wets'. Snigger.

Gammarama said...

The number of OE's will surely be a consideration when reshuffling.

Anonymous said...

How often does Kite take tea at Hilton?

BaldockBaldrick said...

"Mr Cameron, his mandate strengthened at the polls, is likely to make the changes within weeks."
Precise, very precise.

steve said...

I think the ground has been laid for Gove to get his hands on the Homeland Security/terrorism brief. He wouldn't have been acceptable with the desire to appear soft and cuddly but Gove is a serious thinker on the subject, and surely, that is where he will end up.

sacheverell said...

I agree with your comments about Grayling, Ruffley and Spelman. Grayling has been impressive. Ruffley is a jumped up twat who overrates himself and leaks like sieve - he can't help himself, he just has to talk to the press. Spelman is competent enough, and liked in her midland constituency, but she lacks ooomph - or genuine conviction about issues?

Kite has regularly written partially informed articles of limited reliability, and it looks like she's continuing this fine tradition. Perhaps she is only paid a small wage by the cost-cutting Barclays, hence the poor performance?

And Hague? Non-Tories like him too!

Anonymous said...

40% last year,40% last Thursday and Gove on the front bench.Just how good can it get?

Anonymous said...

And what about Mr Kirkbride.Does he not deserve something for his ceaseless travels on behalf of the Party?

Anonymous said...

great fisk, also agree with this

He'll be to us what Hewitt is to Labour. I promise you that.

May 06, 2007 11:34 AM.

as for ruffers, i agree with what sacheverell said...but the best description of ruffers i ever heard was 'peacock'....

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that Spelman needs a higher media profile, she certainly did a good job on the election night coverage. As for needing a harder edge ironically I think it is one of her strengths that she seems so reasonable and likeable. She has a strong part to play in softening the image of what was seen by electors as a Party that was frankly too hard.

leonjamespage said...

Whoever the shadow Minister of Defence is, whether it's Dr. Liam Fox or someone else, I would hope that he or she enthusiastically advocates for a substantial increase in Britain's military budget, and, particularly, a substantial increase in the Royal Navy's budget. Britain might as well start preparing now for the coming war with Iran. The Government's tremendously short-sighted plans to mothball nearly half of the Royal Navy's effective fleet should be vigorously opposed. Such weakness invites challenges from, and conflicts with, rogue nation-states (Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Iran, etc.) eager to score propaganda victories in altogether conventional conflicts against the UK.

Anonymous said...

Not so ridiculous. Fox, Hague and Davis looking very 'old school'. Cameron was very clever - kept Hague, Fox and Davis around as a sop to the right. The turning point was getting rid of Patrick Mercer - Cameron tasted blood and enjoyed it. Being so high in the polls he can afford to do what he likes.

Fox useless, Hague more interested in making money and while Davis has done a tremendous job, he never really bought into Cameron's view of social change. Everyone laughed at Cameron's 'hug a hoodie' statement but it was a marker for the way ahead. Davis, for all of his talk of social mobility just doesn't get it. And it shows.

The Laughing Cavalier said...

Is this the same "Don't treat me Ruffley" Ruffley? I think Osborne would be mad to bring him inside the tent as he is incontinent!

Anonymous said...

To add to your review of the Tory middle management:
Like to see more of: David Gauke, Mark Hoban, Mark Francois.
Like to see less of: Ruffley

It would be interesting to do an article seach for each Shadow to see how hard they are working?

C4' said...

If Dave demotes or sacks Hauge, I will actively and publicly campaign for his removal as party leader.

Cameron OUT! Hauge for PM!

oscar said...

David Jones Clwyd West for Shadow Welsh Sec.
Done a bloody marvellous job for North Wales Tories the last 3 years!!

Anonymous said...

Agree about Mark Hoban, an impressive individual as Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he is a prolific questioner of John Healey holding the government to account whenever he can.

daniel craig said...

anonymous, are you Mark Hoban's mum?

forthegoveofmike said...

Kite writes:

Of middle-ranking ministers, Michael Gove, at housing, and Greg Clark, who speaks on charities, are also tipped for elevation.

Dale fisks: Both would be superb appointments.

Left a bit. Right a bit. Bit more. Aaaaaah.