Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shuffling the Packs?

The Sunday People reckons there will be a Tory frontbench reshuffle this week and a Labour one in September. I think it highly unlikely David Cameron would shuffle his team before he sees who their opposite numbers are. The People reckons Alistair Darling and Jack Straw will swap jobs, Shaun Woodward will go to Defence and Paul Murphy will lose his job with Wales, Scotland an Northern Ireland being combined into one job. Caroline Flint will become a full member of the Cabinet, they predict.

The Mail believes Tory women are in revolt at the prospect of Caroline Spelman being replaced by Eric Pickles. Their source is unnamed, naturally. Laws of natural justice surely dictate that Spelman's job should be safe pending the outcome of the enquiry.

The Sunday Telegraph Portcullis column believes David Cameron has a problem, with the party's three leading right wingers on the back benches. They cite Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis and John Redwood as the three. Liam Fox might beg to differ.

All of this goes to prove that when newspapers have nothing better to write about, they indulge in a bit of reshuffle fever. Good job blogs don't behave like that, isn't it?!

So... for what it's worth, here are my reshuffle predictions.!.

* Labour's reshuffle will be in early September unless the Glasgow East by election goes badly wrong

* The Tory reshuffle will follow the Labour one, unless the Caroline Spelman issue forces Cameron's hand

* Alistair Darling will be moved. Ed Balls will be furious he isn't chosen to replace him. Instead, David Miliband moves to the Treasury

* Des Browne leaves defence to become Secretary of State for Devolved Government

* Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke are both invited to rejoin the Cabinet. They both decline in a very public manner, hinting they believe the situation ois beyond rescue

* Harriet Harman is stripped of one of her roles, just in case she was believing her own publicity

* Ed Vaizey, Greg Clarke and Maria Miller enter the Shadow Cabinet.

* Ken Clarke is appointed Shadow Leader of the House but retains most of his outside interests

So, over to you. Do you agree with any of this?


Ben said...

Isn't there an argument that it will suit Brown to keep Darling in place, for two reasons:

Darling is weak, and can be made to do his master's bidding;

Darling is already badly wounded. With more bad economic news to come, and with the unknown unknowns, why destroy the reputation of another senior figure unnecessarily?

Darling's weakness will tend to make Brown's chancellorship be remembered more favourably in comparison.

Sorry, that was three reasons.

Ben Gray said...

I'm not sure about the Spelman issue. Given DC's response to DD's resignation, I don't think he'll feel obliged to do a full reshuffle if she does go.

Ben Gray said...

At the other Ben: that argument may work for Gordon, but the chances are that the men in suits won't buy it. Darling's weakness has precisely the opposite effect to the one you described: it makes Brown look like he never really left the Treasury and as a result he still gets the blame.

Anonymous said...

I think Spelman will be forced to go but Cameron will only make small changes to his team until Brown reveals his new line up probably in early September before Party Conference Season.

Main Predictions would be Geoff Hoon to be dumped. Brown to become "Devolved" Minister. I think a "star" is emerging in the shape of Shaun Woodward and i think he will be given a big promotion either to Justice or Defence.... I think the public will be seeing alot more of Woodward, he is a very effective on media and i would think could be an attack dog in chief for Brown but presented in such a reasonable way.

Anonymous said...

We can only hope that for once you are badly wrong.On the other hand it would help form a mighty powerful team on the back benches. As someone said the other day-GAME ON!

Anonymous said...

Question Iain:

1) Why can't DD return to SHS, I don't see why not?

2) Dominic Grieve is not up to SHS brief, he's too posh and we need a rough and tumbler in that job.

IDS done well on QT this week and we should do something with him.

Anonymous said...

What is your fascination with Spelman about? She is useless and over promoted.

I do not have the pleasure of meeting these people at the social gatherings you attend and must make my judgement on their public utterances. There is nothing in Spelman's appearances on say Question Time that convince me she is worth her place as Party Chairman. The problem with her expenses is a matter that can best be resolved by her resignation. If she is so important to Dave she can be brought back at a later date having served her 'time'. I doubt that once she is out she will ever be brought back, but then what do I know. Gordon Brown is said to be the life and soul of the private party and nothing like the image he projects in public!

Anonymous said...

If the rumours are correct then it is Darling who wishes to resign and Gordon does not want him to go.

Let's face it, Gordon is still running the Treasury and Darling is his puppet. From Gordon's point of view Darling is the best man for the (non) job.

Anonymous said...

Spelman has to go Ian. Dave can put her in a future cabinet when the dust has settled.

Absolutely no reason why Davis can not be reappointed shadow home secretary. Grieve is just not up to such a high profile job. We have an explosion of knife crime on our streets, making headlines day after day, yet we never hear a whisper from Grieve. He has failed to make his mark. Most citizens of this country would fail to name the present shadow home secretary, unlike the former.

Anonymous said...

FIRST, rememember there is likely to be a stock market dip/drop/crash in the autumn because the stock market is a bear market, and this is how they normally end. This is likely to be in Sept or Oct - when the reshuffle is planned.

I have to believe Ed Balls will be a complete disaster in the Treasury. I have seen nothing to tell me he is as brilliant as his self-publicity says he is. His only talent seems to be putting on fat/weight at the tax payers expense. Surely a candidate for type II diabetes within 10 years.

Milliband would be better at the Treasury - he's too cognitive for the Environment. Milliband still comes across as a child, in his physical mannerisms, and needs to man-up to get any respect from the public. So the Treasury may give him this chance.

Who ever gets the Treasury in Sept will inherit the end of a bear market and depending on the timing may be in the captain's seat during a drop in the markets. But on the up side could get to steer the economy back to growth.

Who ever gets the Treasury job will learn pretty damn fast that in the markets timing is everything.

Anonymous said...

So Gordon's going to wait until after the summer before he re-arranges the deck chairs on The Titanic?

Anonymous said...

There was a very good letter in the Speccie this week summing up all that is wrong with Brown and calling Balls, very reasonably 'unspeakable'. For 'the albatross in a tartan wasitcoat' (who was the labour backbencher who coined that one?) to do something to badly upset Mr Balls would bring a degree of joy to many a heart!

Anonymous said...

Soooooo boring.

The real political news is that Lembit Opik has been dumped by his Cheeky Girl.

Anonymous said...

"Laws of natural justice surely dictate that Spelman's job should be safe pending the outcome of the enquiry. "

Natural justice? Surely it is not disputed that Caroline Spelman unlawfully claimed expenses for her nanny and, more seriously, that she subsequently lied about several aspects of the matter.

Eric Pickles would be a great party chairman. He has the ability to reach out to large sections of the general electorate in a way that few other senior Conservatives can.

Similarly, as Nick suggests, David Davis has that common touch whereas Dominic comes over as pompous and aloof.

Anonymous said...

I don' think anybody can do anything about knife crime until the EVIL TWIN SISTERS of (1) Policial Correctness and (2) Feminism are killed.

the first EVIL SISTER Politicial Correctness has meant that the "gangsta" culture has been allowed to thrive - right up to the boundaries of crimiality. Hey they say - as long as it's not illegal let them do it. So you get these ganstas posing with their gold watches, flash cars, fake guns and hooker-lookalikes. For all the world giving the impression they are drug-dealing, gun-toting pimps. But because you can't PROVE it they are allowed to get away with it.

The other EVIL SISTER femimism has meant fathers have been take out of their role in the family. The divorce courts and CSA ensure that it is in mothers interests that the father spends less than 90 days with the children to keep the CSA payments. Mothers play passive aggressive games with fathers and eventually fathers give up seeing their kids. Mothers are not good at discipline. It has never been true since roman times. Wait till your father gets home. It's not going to change in the next 2000 years. Discipline is needed to stop children crossing boundaries.

So the EVIL TWIN SISTERS of FEMINISM and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS have created this TOXIC environment where young males are allowed to develop their alpha-male profile by acting like criminals and mothers place very weak barriers stopping these males from crossing that boundary.

That's not my view. That's the view of young men involved in knife crime. I've seen gang memeber after gang member after gang member on TV talking about it. I'm just expressing it's underlying cause for them.

So I don't think reshuffling the cards will change the outcome of the game. KILL THE EVIL TWINS.

Anonymous said...

Eric P should not be wasted on the Party chairmanship given that he is one of the few who know what the hell their talking about.

Anonymous said...

What's Dave dithering about over Spelman.She had little street cred before the nanny incident-apeing Blair is one thing,apeing Gordo is quite another.

Anonymous said...

What's happened to IDS?

He is putting in a cracking performance on Boulton. Looks and sounds like a totally revitalised and new man. Cameron has a real asset to play with New IDS.

Tom Harris said...

Iain - isn't Liam Fox a front bencher?

Anonymous said...

David Miliband to HMT? I'm not sure about that one.

It would mean that GB was giving one of his main rivals experience of another of the big Cabinet posts.

Moreover, he'd be putting someone into No11 who, as FS, has stirred things up occasionally by making statements without No10's prior clearance. A degree of independent thinking? Sounds like the last thing GB would want at HMT of all departments.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Telegraph Portcullis column believes David Cameron has a problem, with the party's three leading right wingers on the back benches. They cite Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis and John Redwood as the three. Liam Fox might beg to differ." If they are right wingers I'm voting BNP. Funniest story so far today is Jacqui Smith threatening to send knife carrying "thugs" to hospital. I nearly fell of my chair.
freedom to prosper

Anonymous said...

You read The People? Anything in it about Mosley?
Re Davis becoming trouble for Dave:
Every leftie journalist is pushing this line, hoping to cause mischieve. Unfortunately ConHome gleefully prints it all.

Chris Paul said...

Dave's going first Iain. Surely? getting rid of Osborne, Shapps, Duncan etc for taking dirty money and trying to avoid declaring it? And Nanny Spelman too of course. Shadowy cabinet all round.

Anonymous said...

The Mail on Sunday article suggests that Eric Pickles's appearance somehow limits his appeal but I think he could actually pull in the odd Old Labour supporter as he looks like an old-fashioned trade union leader circa the Winter of Discontent.

Anonymous said...

Mail on Sunday.Top of page 33 for on the ball Dave comment.

Anonymous said...

I do not see DD getting back in just yet. His little stunt made his political judgment look suspect. Ken Clarke makes a living selling tobacco to people that don't know better if his constituency want to keep electing him that is up to them but he should never be more than a back bencher.

On the run up to the next general election Cameron might feel pressured to have more women in the shadow cabinet. Promoting women for the sake of having more women has given us Harman Jowell and Blears (who I fancy but is not ministearial material) and Flint who I can only assume is there because Gordon fancies her. To be fair labour also has had a number of talentless men like Prescott Hoon and Hain.

I cannot imagine the ecconomy improving greatly before the next general election so Brown could put in a potential rival and let him take the blame. I don't think he will.

He will not want anybody who could have any real controll over ecconomic policy. Brown still thinks he is the only person fit to run the ecconomy.

If they loose the general election he will be out and his replacement is likely to be choosen on their political position rather on their performance in office. And that leader is unlikely to be PM any time soon. If he has a prefered heir the best thing he could do is keep that person at a safe distance from the fallout.

Finally he is not a risk taker if the ecconomy does recover he will not risk somebody else taking the credit so will want to have somebody who is clearly seen as a puppet. And if he wants a puppet he might as well keep the one he has.

Anonymous said...

Balls as Chancellor? No way, he'll want to avoid this hospital pass. With the economy going into recession, house prices in meltdown and the prospect of more banks collapsing, he won't want to be tainted by any of this.

Anonymous said...

Eric Pickles....has the ability to reach out to large sections of the general electorate in a way that few other senior Conservatives can."

Eric has to 'reach out' about two foot further than most just to do up his flies!

"The Mail believes Tory women are in revolt at the prospect of Caroline Spelman being replaced by Eric Pickles"

I find it hard to believe that the mail finds Tory women revolting.

Anonymous said...


You fancy Blears? I thought I was weird for having a soft spot for Ruth Kelly but you're going too far

strapworld said...

Iain, I do worry about you. Why on earth would a modern day conservative party pick, as shadow leader of the house a man who has been rejected by the party twice as a leader.

He is so subjective when it comes to the EU!.

The time is overdue for John Redwood to be in the treasury team. The time is overdue for Ian Duncan Smith to be given a massive front bench job pushing the reforms he has identified and if you want to have any of the old guard back on the front bench, I would have Malcolm Rafkind back as shadow foreign secretary and William Haig made Chairman of the Party!

David Davis shadow Sec State for Education...bringing back Grammar Schools and COMPETITION back into school life!

strapworld said...

The problem with Labour's idea of sending knife criminals to hospitals to see victims is simply the legislation called Human Rights Act and Data Protection.

Hospitals are not allowed to give such details of actual patients! The patients have also got to give their permission..>Would you???

Who will supervise these criminals as they attend the hospital beds of victims? There are indufficient police to man the streets effectively and would you trust the Probation Service?

As for the idea of a curfew whose army are they bringing in to ensure this works...the Cornwall exercise is Voluntary!!!!

John Major was vg this morning and he made the point again that Labour have changed the method of guaging inflation rates! Therefore they should be reminded by the Tories every day that when they, conveniently bring back the 70's high inflation and interest rates, they are dealing with warped statistics these days!

DiscoveredJoys said...

"* Harriet Harman is stripped of one of her roles, ..." - human being?

Anonymous said...

As far as Labour goes. You can shuffle sh*t around as much as you like. It still looks and smells like sh*t.

Anonymous said...

If we are to indulge in silly-season reshuffle speculation here are my thoughts.

Cameron won't do his until Brown done his first. Agree with you that this is likely to be September unless Glasgow East forces his hand before then.

Darling has lost the confidence of just about everyone. We need someone in that role who the public feel can be trusted to steady the ship and avoid getting rocked by events. Straw is one of the few in in a cabinet of mini-beast that has the gravitas the role requires at this time of crisis. A big-beast is needed in the same way as Major appointed Clarke after Lamont's eventual departure in the wake of Black Wednesday.

Woodward needs promoting and given a much high public profile. He comes across well in the media and has the potential of being a big beast. Defence, Justice or perhaps Home Secretary as Jacqui Smith is going to be a lame duck once she has to climb down on 42-days.

Another cabinet members who needs to be given more leading roles Alan Johnson. He is another possible contender for Chancellor should Darling be sacrifced.

Some of the weaker Cabinet members need dumping though whether Brown has the balls to do this at present is questionable. He will probably dither not want to risk creating more enemies on the backbenches. I can see no arguments for retaining the likes of Murphy, Browne and Hoon.

As well as Caroline Flint another who need promoting to the cabinet is Liam Byrne. Like Woodward he come across well in the media and would be a powerful person to help get this government's message (what ever that may be) out.

On the Tory side. Spelman is not a strong Chairman and Pickles would provide a stronger campaign focus in the run up to the General Election. He would also soften the party's Southern toff-appearance in the media. A useful counter-balance.

David Davis is one who should be brought back into the shadow cabinet. I would personally like that to back at Home Affairs thought I doubt that he will get his job back. A possible contender for Party Chairman though as, like Pickles, he comes across well in media like.

Other ones who deserves greater exposure are Nick Herbert and Alan Duncan.

Clarke for Shadow Leader of the House - no way.

Anonymous said...

One of the most impressive ministers outside the Cabinet in recent times, far more so than Flint has been Jane Kennedy at the Treasury. She is always the "Newsnight" minister and alwsys copes well despite 10p. lost disc etc.

Clark back on the Tory front benches would be good to see. He has been a miss to Britsh Politics for far too long now.

Garth Marenghi said...

rather dissappointing that you were apparently backing a new website called on the beeb.

i shall give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you do not understand quite how dangerously bad this site is.

it is anonymous, meaning that any old punter can slag off any doctor for any reason hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, meanwhile if a doctor is praised it is meaningless as no one knows where it has come from.

if you had done your research then you would realise that this site only applies to doctors on the frontline and surprisingly not to doctors or manager in the NHS, funny how those in political positions love to escape any accountability for their actions.

the site was created with the government, DH and GMC; hardly bodies that have been shown to do anything to improve the quality of care in the NHS over recent years.

Darzi claims it will improve patient care, doesn't this claim merit some kind of questioning? is there any logical strand by which ti back this claim up?

it's yet another mechanism by which doctors can be threatened and bullied by people who are not even named, it's just plain unfair.

do you even have a clue how many bits of paper a doctor has to go through each year now? probably not I'd imagine living in your political glass house.

I have to do numerous observed assessments, many exams involving communication skills, 360 degree assessments by all staff where I work and much much more. Not forgetting that it's very easy to complain, thus I'm held to account very easily in reality.

Compare this to the unelected politicians who have been proven by independent inquiries to have wrecked the NHS time and time again with various reforms, they are unaccountable and hide in Whitehall.

Anonymous said...

Strapworld said...
"John Major was vg this morning and he made the point again that Labour have changed the method of guaging inflation rates! Therefore they should be reminded by the Tories every day that when they, conveniently bring back the 70's high inflation and interest rates, they are dealing with warped statistics these days!"

The government publishes inflation rates calculated using both the old and the new methods.

The Office for National Statistics continues to calculate the RPI and RPIX (as it did under Major) and the CPI (which is directly comparable to the indices used by most other OECD countries).

Anonymous said...

Climb onto any passing bandwagon Woodward?

Rich toff, where's my butler Woodward?

Woodward ... ?????

Any excuse, compromise or deal to climb up the greasy pole Woodward??


Labour really are in deep deep trouble.

Anonymous said...

That's his seat gone then! One waits with breathless anticipation for the blow by blow of their sex life in the NoW next week. Not called Libido-dems for nothing. Wales could be left without a single L Dem MP after the next election. Whilst believing him to be a complete and utter prat and a car crash in slo-mo, one has to feel a modicum of sympathy. After all, who will date him after he's been with a Cheeky Girl.......? I guess that you reap what you sow in life

Anonymous said...

Labour can shuffle their cards all they like - but with policies like these
they need a whole new deck.

They need to be playing a new game in fact.

Anonymous said...

IDS for Shadow Home Sec. Grieve is not right for this brief at all. IDS has done amazing work on Breakdown Britain and making him SHS shows the Tories are serious about this issue.

Ken Clarke for Shadow Leader of the House.

Eric Pickles for Chairman.

Justine Greening in the Shadow Cabinet.

The next reshuffle has to be the final one before a general and it is essential Cameron has the strongest team possible. He needs to widen his circle beyond posh. Davis should stay on the back benches he is not trustworthy.

Richard said...

Although I was not a fan of IDS during his leadership, I am a big fan of his nowadays. I suggest replacing Grieve with IDS would be a superb move - especially as the latter has an excellent media presence and a thorough understanding of social justice. Grive should become Shadow Justice Secretary (a more cerebral role suited to a QC such as himself) and Redwood should be Shadow Chancellor. Kick Osborne to Party Chairman and bring someone with a more thorough knowledge of foreign affairs to the post of Shadow Foreigh Secretary.

Anonymous said...

Neve mind LO who will date a spice girl now, you would not want either as you never would be sure you were not getting the one that had been with a libdem

Anonymous said...

Clarke as shadow leader of the House you have to be joking, a pompous self satisfied idiot.

Anonymous said...

IDS, Redwood and Davis must be onboard.

Anonymous said...

After complaining yesterday that Grieve had been silent on knife crime, I see that he is now doing the Tv station rounds this morning on that very subject.

I am sure that he is trying his best but he simply has not got what it takes to be the public face of the (shadow) Home Secretary. Dave will have to reinstate David who looks and talks the part as if he were made for it.

Anonymous said...

gtunxopmI've said it before, and I know it won't happen, but Redwood for Shadow Chancellor would send the message that we are serious about putting right the labour mess.

Paul Linford said...

Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke are both invited to rejoin the Cabinet. They both decline in a very public manner, hinting they believe the situation is beyond rescue.

If that were to happen, would it not amount to a leadership challenge - or at the very least, a Sir Geoffrey-style come-on to existing Cabinet ministers to resign and fight Brown?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Dominic comes over as pompous and aloof."

I know wht you mean but, sadly, I'd have to disagree. I'd say people view him with respect though not affection.

Anonymous said...

Pickles for Chairman!

The Cons need another bluff, tell-it-like-it-is Yorkshireman in the Shadow Cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Too many big hitters are outside the Shadow Cabinet, some of whom I've seen in Oxford and who are effective speakers e.g. Iain Duncan Smith in particular is brilliant, and we need John Redwood in too.