Monday, January 19, 2009

Reshuffle Part 2: All Dressed Up & No Place To Go

I've been neglecting my duties this afternoon due to work commitments, I am afraid. The full list of the middle ranking changes to the Tory front bench is on ConHome. The changes are by no means as extensive as I had expected (or indeed, hoped for). There are very few departures and very few newcomers. The more eye-catching changes are these appointments...

Richard Benyon MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Crispin Blunt MP, Shadow Security Minister (within Shadow Home Affairs Team)
David Evennett MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Justine Greening MP, Shadow Minister for Communities & Local Government
Greg Hands MP, Shadow Treasury Minister
John Penrose MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
Bill Wiggin MP, Whip
Robert Wilson MP, Whip
Particular congratulations to Greg Hands, who has been a persistent thorn in Labour's side from the backbenches.

Jacqui Lait leaves the front bench of her own volition, and as far as I can see is the only one to actually leave the front bench, along with Peter Ainsworth.

The other move which I didn't cover this morning was the promotion of Mark Francois to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Europe. This is sensible with the European elections in the offing, and also as a counterbalance to you know who. However, the casualty of this move is the excellent David Lidington who would be forgiven for thinking he has been treated rather shabbily. He retains his Foreign Office portfolio but is no longer to entitled to attend Shadow Cabinet. David is one of politics' nicest people and I hope he is given a very senior Minister of State job in government.

So after all the fun this morning, the rest of the reshuffle has been a bit of a letdown. There's too much deadwood in the middle ranks and it should have been at least partially cleared out. There will be several members of the 2005 intake who will be pretty hacked off that their services haven't been called upon. But, hey, that's politics, and that's why we love it!


Dick the Prick said...

I don't know the opposite of hubris but the next election's completely nailed unless a goat's involved.

Anywho - Craig Bellamy was an absolute thug at Newcastle and never pulled his weight, £14 million, good price. His barrister's already happy.

Iain - are you doing a live bloggy thingy for the inaugeration speech tomorrow? It's the new era man. 9/11 domintaed the first part of the decade and this man will generate the last part.

The lad was never meant to win - that's the thing that Gordon doesn't understand. Elections are secular places of hope. Freaks and clowns and monkeys and lad's who don't have a bloody clue what they're doing but listen to debate.

I thought Bush was alright - quite restrained really, could have been a lot worse - it's the numbers that are staggering. No one gives a toss about inflation anymore because the money supply is flabbergasting.

Martin said...

If they are all just middle ranking changes I wouldn't expect there would be any effect. It's a shame there's nothing more interesting to read about. I expect something will come along soon, it always does.

Martin said...

I've just accused Guido of causing the banking crisis. You don't think it could be true, do you? He's gone very quiet.

Lady Finchley said...

Shame that Edward Garnier was passed over (yet again) for Shadow Attorney General. Especially after the Telegraph said he had it. Why does Dominic Grieve need TWO jobs?

Unknown said...

I suppose it makes sense in a way for Justice and the shadow Attorney's role to be combined if the Conservatives really want to make progress on their "British Bill of Rights" idea - there is a big legal component to this as well as policy, and perhaps having one person in charge is a good idea. I remember when Dominic Grieve used to support incorporation of the ECHR, though, before he was an MP, so I wonder how completely "sound" he is instinctively, from the point of view of anti-human rights Tories. Anyway, since he's now in charge of that project, I expect clarification of how they intend to replace the Human Rights Act, not just a pledge to do so.

I think what thy seem to be missing, though, is the important contribution of the Attorney to European policy. What the existing treaties allow the UK to do, the extent to which powers can be repatriated, how to make a non-Lisbon world work or how to deconstruct Lisbon and create something else - a Conservative government's approach will have to rest on a legal standpoint as well as policy aims - especially if the idea is to sell an alternative view to other governments. Is someone close to Cameron developing Tory legal thinking about Europe to serve his policy, working with the foreign affairs team? If not, I think they're missing a trick. There may not be votes in it, but if they do win, do they want to hit the ground running on Europe, or spend two years working stuff out?