An empty vessel spits out prizes and lemons
There are other bloggers out there who are commenting and recording today’s reshuffle and doing a very good job Guido Fawkes at http://order-order.com/ for example, although not all of his predictions have come about, there is no shame in that. I’m not going to criticise Guido for that, political predictions are sometimes somewhat difficult things to make. No matter how much information the outsider believes they have it is never as good as the information that the insiders have. I’d certainly recommend that people take a look at the site, and elsewhere, for the data and opinions on the reshuffle.
But I digress, so back to the subject of today’s reshuffle. There are certain things I’m quite pleased about and make me feel that there is at least an acknowledgement that certain problems exist and need tackling, but others where Cameron has shown himself to be weak.
Although it sticks in my throat to praise Cameron in any way, he has at least done the right thing in removing Clarke from the position of Justice Secretary. Whether or not Chris Grayling will be any better, time will tell but the mainstream media (sky) is touting Grayling’s eurosceptic credentials which to my mind is good position to have in the position of Justice Secretary. I’d like to think that there will be times when Grayling will show some testicles and call the bluff of the European Court for Human Rights when their rulings are plainly not in the national interest.
Two other bright spots are the retention of Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith. Both of them are doing better than many of their predecessors in taming the group-think of the Civil Servants in their departments. IDS is really doing his best to push through a rethink of welfare that is more in tune with a contributory system of welfare (which many people do not have a problem with) instead of a system gamers paradise which feeds and supports the unworthy at the expense of the worthy. The whole welfare system is geared to the bright moocher rather than the ordinary tryer and that needs to change.
Michael Gove is like a diamond in a bucket of mud when you compare him with much else that makes up the current cabinet. Having read how Education Department civil servants in the 80’s and 90’s ran rings round ministers in both Margaret Thatcher and John Major’s Governments, I now have some idea just how much Gove has achieved. He has made positive change in our education system in the face of pretty daunting odds. The teaching unions have been viciously against him, the legionnaires of the far left have been spitting bile, he has most likely had to fight tooth and nail against the misinformation coming from his own civil servants, but he is starting to prevail. I’m very glad that Gove has not been moved.
Now we come to Cameron’s lemons, his gilded turds.
I’m disappointed to see Eric Pickles still in place. I know he has a difficult job dealing with local government, which is in urgent need of a clear out and major reform, but I don’t think he’s been as effective at dealing with his foes in the permanent government of the civil service and the various local government associations and third sector whiners as has Gove been in his department. He could, and should have seized on people’s rightful and righteous anger at how a lot of our local government is run and been a lot more proactive in dealing with Britain’s rotten boroughs. The fact that he has not picked up on the anger about local government and used this, to his advantage, is a serious error in my mind. Pickles is my ‘I could have been a contender’ guy in this cabinet. A “could have done better” politician.
It is also a sign of Cameron’s moral cowardice that he did not get rid of Baroness Warsi. She hasn’t performed very well at all as Tory Co-Chair, and has shown a lack of judgement in handling and recording issues of ‘interest’ which you would expect someone at her level to be aware of and be able to comply with. At this level in Government you do not just need to be honest you need to be seen to be honest. Although she was cleared of wrongdoing by an enquiry, it does raise questions about her judgement. I also don’t think that she has done a very good job of promoting the party both inside and outside Tory ranks and for that, if not for anything else, she should have taken the walk into the wilderness that is the fate of every failed politician.
This should have been an occasion for removing Baroness Warsi from a position of merit (at least for a while for rehabilitation of reputation) but Cameron showed his inner yellow streak, decided that he needed to pander to a particular (often loud and sometimes violent) demographic and appointed her as: Senior Minister of State at the Foreign Office & Minister for Faith & Communities. It just shows how utterly in thrall Cameron is to the doctrine of political correctness that even when faced with evidence of terminal uselessness in a colleague he doesn’t have the guts to remove them from office, if they belong to a ‘protected group’.
If Cameron is not careful he will find that he is making appointments in (or even being appointed to) a shadow cabinet and Labour will be back for more spoliation and ruination.
David Cameron, somewhere there is a whelk stall, making a healthy profit that is in urgent need of your attention. Better trying not to run a whelk stall than making cock ups in Number 10.