Will the cabinet stay intact until at least 2012?
There are some very wise words on Olly Grender’s blog at the New Statesman about betting and the likelihood of a re-shuffle.
“….From Caroline Spellman on forests, Kenneth Clarke on rape sentencing to Andrew Lansley on NHS reforms, politicians are no longer instantly losing their jobs. Instead they remain there to put things right. Even Vince Cable remained in post after the sting by the Telegraph (for which they were recently wrapped over the knuckles with a feather duster by the Press Complaints Commission).
I think this is a good thing. In real life people don’t get fired for a first mistake, unless it is gross misconduct. If they are well managed, they get feedback and asked to put it right.
Reshuffles are a nightmare – ask Gisela Stuart who got forgotten in one of Tony Blair’s reshuffles, or read the descriptions in the Blair or Jonathan Powell memoirs. The potential for chaos is legendary. Once, the then Chief Whip Archy Kirkwood and I went grovelling to the press gallery in Parliament to collect a press release about a reshuffle in which we had completely forgotten about someone senior.
I also think people should believe David Cameron when he says no Cabinet reshuffles this year. Can you imagine the resulting coverage? Lib Dem disappointment versus Tory back bench fury – the headlines would be entirely predictable.
A wise Tory backbencher said to me last week, “Why did Margaret Thatcher lose her leadership? Because if you put a tick by the names of every MP she had reshuffled out of government and of those who felt they had been overlooked that added up to the vote against her in the first round.”
So save your money. Don’t waste it on the flurry over the next few days about the departure of Lansley or the return of Laws. Beware the stories of reshuffles throughout the summer. Always ask yourself whether this was simply a slow news day?
Read Cameron’s lips: no reshuffles this year. If only there were decent odds on that…”
The more I see of Cameron the more resolute he appears on issues that matter to him. We saw that yesterday on international development funding and I’m sure that Olly is right about the cabinet.
The one counter to this is that someone might wish to go of their own accord. That could just still happen.