There could be less change than expected
This is supposed to be the week of the long-awaited reshuffle which will produce the new line-up of ministers who’ll take the coalition partners into the general election.
There’s been lots of speculation and, of course, betting particularly on our old favourite – the next cabinet exit markets. If more than one minister goes on the same day then some bookies, though by no means all, will pay out according to their dead heat rules.
Thus I’m hoping my 7/1 on Baroness Warsi and my 16/1 on LD Scottish Secretary, Michael More, will be profitable bets though the overall winnings will be determined by how many cabinet ministers actually go.
So if there are four ministers going then you’d get a quarter of the winnings and a quarter of your stake back. If it’s only two then it would be half. If ministers switch portfolios but stay in the cabinet then, clearly they haven’t left and bets would be lost.
I can see arguments if someone is moved from being a formal member of the cabinet to a role that means they are just being in attendance.
On the big picture Jackie Ashley gets this right in today’s Guardian.
“..Shift George Osborne and the remaining shreds of economic confidence fall away â€“ it’s as good as an admission of complete failure so far. Even if he dared confront his friend, David Cameron just can’t. Similarly, Nick Clegg can’t sanction the demotion of Vince Cable without radically destabilising his own position as party leader just ahead of the Liberal Democrat conference. Cable may irritate Clegg, and indeed Osborne, but now that the government is moving ahead with his “big idea” of a national investment bank, it would look daft to oust him.
Michael Gove, the education secretary, despite the fury over GCSE grades, can’t be demoted because he has become a hero of section of the Tory right and is only halfway through his plans for English schools. Shift the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, and you admit that his NHS plans were a terrible botch; shift the transport secretary, Justine Greening, and that’s as good as a green light for Heathrow expansion and a major U-turn. Any of these moves would trigger a wider slip of the card castle. They’d make Cameron’s position look weaker, and the prime minister must know the piranhas are beginning to swirl….”
When will we know? It could be today though it it is much more likely to be tomorrow.
Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB