Why reshuffles are a bad idea

Mr Cameron was wise not to have a general  reshuffle for almost two and a third years. There is a good case for stopping them in future.

The problems with reshuffles are legion.  If you try to make lots of changes all at the same time, it only takes one change to go wrong and then the whole process becomes rushed and can looked muddled. There is not time  to think it through and square all the people involved. When Iain Duncan Smith refused to be moved from DWP, and Nick Herbert turned down an alternative job,  there had to a be hasty redrawing of the lists.

The reshuffle gets people excited or worried ahead of the date, and then allows them all to relax thereafter. It is the oppposite of continuous review and continuous improvement that is more normal in the private sector. The boss only has real authority in the run up to the big change over.

Concentrating all the moves at once means a lack of thought for many of them. People may be  put into jobs they do not want or they are ill equipped to do. They may be put into a job with a potential conflict with something or someone  else in their life the PM knows nothing about. These days many MPs have wives or husbands with important jobs and have to be careful about family conflicts of interest.

In  summary it is all too easy to make mistakes, and all too difficult to correct them once the media spotlight is watching everyone’s move and trying to eavesdrop on every meeting.

So what could be done instead? Whilst I think there are too many Ministerial changes, I am not against change. It is an important part of motivating and managing. Some new people need to be brought in and some older people be asked to retire. Some should be promoted, and some given a chance to shine at the same level in a different department.  It needs to be linked into a system of personnel management that makes sense, that avoids unpleasant surprises, and allows those making the big decisions to make them at leisure, reflecting on them and talking it through with the interested parties.  A sensible system would have mini reshuflles from time to time to tackle a problem or highlight an issue, which were properly managed, were no surprise to those involved but were a surprise to  the press and public.

Let us take one of the most controversial cases in this reshuffle, the case of the Transport Secretary. When the government reconsidered its stance on the Third runway for Heathrow, that should have led on to discussion with the relevant Ministers on how to handle any change of policy and how to deal with the constituency interests and views of the then Transport Secretary. If the government  has decided to make a third runway at Heathrow a likely option, despite past promises, then of course they need to shift the Transport Secretary and explain why they are doing it. If they have no such intention the best way to deny the rumours is to keep her in post.

Making her move part of a general reshuffle does not persuade people it was just one of those things, unconnected to Heathrow. Rightly or wrongly they will think it is about that. It leads directly to the strong views of Zac Goldsmith and wider issues with handling MPs from both Coalition parties who have strongly defended the old policy.

When appointing new Junior Ministers it would  be better to say to them the typical experience would be 4-5 years as a junior Minister. They should be told they will probably have a couple of departments during that time, unless they are keen to stay in  one which they know well and are strongly committed to. They should be told promotion comes only  to some, with ideas on how the Minister can shine to make promotion more likely. They should be told they will be given plenty of warning if they are to be dropped. They should have regular reviews with their Secretary of State whose job should include mentoring and supporting the junior Ministers.

Cabinet members should have regular meetings with the PM or a senior Cabinet Minister responsible for them. The Chancellor could look after the Chief Secretary, Transport and DWP. The Foreign Secretary could look after defence and Overseas Aid. Cabinet members should always know what is expected of them and their departments, and be told at regular intervals how well they are doing and what needs to be improved.  When the PM thinks it is time to bring their stay in Cabinet to a close there should be an orderly process of management to avoid embarrassment and last minute decisions.

There will occasionally be times when urgent action is needed or surprise is a necessary weapon of management. In  most cases Ministers would appreciate knowing where they stand and being able to manage expectations. They would keep it quiet if it were handled well and was obviously in their mutual interest to do so.

I think it a sad loss that Charles Hendry has left the government.  He had a good command of his energy topic and was the voice to “keep the lights on” in energy policy formation. So too it is sad to see the end of Bob Neill, a local government Minister with a love of  localism and a good knowledge of the Council world. Tim Loughton was a model Children’s Minister and Michael Fabricant a natural in the whips office. Gerald Howarth was a round peg in a round hole in the Defence Department, a job he loved.

 

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128 Comments

  1. Simon Jones
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I was sitting at the Dartford Crossing listening to the news about this and I thought the crossing rather represented the state of Britain. Thousands of people wanting to get on with their work, builders, sales reps, lorry drivers and businessmen all being delayed, harassed and obstructed by Cameron’s bloated public sector just so they can rip us off for another pound or two. The queues to pay the tolls are horrendous and you sit there and watch all the jobsworths scurrying about making your life difficult, Highways Agency people lounging around in their luxury 4×4’s etc etc all so they can rip you off again and keep the public sector fat cats in luxury.

    It sums up Cameron’s Britain to a tee and I bet it will be the same this time next year, that’s how much difference his reshuffle will make. It is a problem that could be solved overnight by abolishing the tolls as we were promised would happen but Cameron’s band of gravy train riders will be more concerned with stealing every penny of our money rather than freeing us up to get on with our work. The same principle applies right across the country, it is these money grabbing politicians which are the problem, not the solution.

    • stred
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I was delayed twice this week, missing an appointment on Saturday. I recently made a rough calculation of the costs in lost time, at the national average wage, to the car and lorry drivers. This was in the region of five times the tolls collected during the delays. These are sometimes for over an hour. This figure took no account of longer times or higher pay rates, or wasted fuel.

      The news is that the charge for cars is to be raised to £2 from £1.50. Perhaps this is to reduce the ratio of lost time. And the jerks in the MoT still call it a ‘congestion’ charge, the idea being that users will change their travel plans to take advantage of the free overnight toll. Even if they do, the barriers still come down, as the civil servants wish to count users.

      Cameron and his ‘car friendly’ ministers really have been proved to be completely untrustworthy. Contrast this with the Forth bridge, where the tolls were abolished by the Scots because of the delays into Edinburgh.

      • stred
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Is there any chance thic could be put on the old system?

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is absurd to cause congestion by an inefficient and costly tolling system when you have a bridge and tunnel that are large enough (if they got rid of the tolling constriction). What a waste of a costly piece of infrastructure. Get rid or at least get auto electronic tolling and release the staff to get a more productive job. And all the people in the queue to do something better with their time than queue.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Such is the nature of the bridge and tunnels, many of the staff Simon talks about (the ones sitting in 4×4’s) would still be needed, so at best all that would be saved is the cost of the people who actually man the toll booths. Perhaps there could be an “oyster card” type solution were regular uses could buy (and top-up) pre-paid RFD card, thus speeding up the process, whilst those without or invalid cards would still have to pay in the usual way.

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

          Every toll crossing in the UK has a different payment card and this causes problems for transport.

        • stred
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          The tunnels and bridge are nothing exceptional in comparison with motorways on the continent, where they are often much longer and frequent. Yet they do not find it necessary to stop and escort fuel tankers, while stopping other traffic. Only in the UK does the Health and Safety culture lead to such expense and delays.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Simon

      Yes waited there myself for nearly 30 mins a couple of months ago, and that was midday.

      Friend of ours who lives in Grays in Essex says absolutely no point in leaving home until 10.00 at the earliest if he has to cross the bridge as waiting can be up to an hour.

      Excellent advert for road tolls !

      Meanwhile let us allow another 1,000,000 people in over the next 5 years. Perhaps that will help matters!

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Road tolls clearly need to be electronic wireless if at all. They do have the advantage that they can be priced to deter congestion. The problem is will the government ever reduce the other taxes in compensation or will it just be yet another yoke on the productive?

    • Bob
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      After Gordon Brown sold our gold reserves, didn’t he sell the Dartford Crossing to a French firm?

      If so, it means we will continue to pay for it over and over and over again.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      What an absolutely wonderful comparison for those us of us who want to get on and are yet held back back by the know all, holier than thou, never had a proper job public sector parasites.

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. I spoke to a builder recently who claimed similar problems with bureaucracy, elf and safety, extra equipment required, might be a danger to insects etc etc. All adds to the costs of a build. In contrast we hear how we need the construction industry to grow. When are they going to wake up to the real world. This EU stuff costs businesses huge amounts that cannot be afforded in a competitive world.

    • Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      Agreed: re-arranging deck chairs on the SS Titantic ineffective strategy once a Cast Iron Chancellor is struck!

  2. ian wragg
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    As you said yourself on the news today, nothing will change. The Tory paarty is doomed under Cameroon and his mate. No amount of deckchair rearranging is going to alter that.
    Europe will continue to fester and aid will increase. Useless windmills will continue to be built and HoL reform/gay marriage will be priority.
    Roll on a General Election

    • Timaction
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      You are right. Shuffling the deckchairs does not change the policy direction of this obese Government, Europe, foreign aid, workplace regulation, reckless immigration/no repatriation and providing costly public services for them. High taxes, high energy costs, pay freezes strangling growth. After 2 and 1/3 years what has changed since Blair/Brown? No discernible difference!

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      The trouble is Miliband (Unison’s Man with the interest of the state sector mainly at heart) would be even worse if that is possible.

      • Disaffected
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        At least you know what he stands for even if you do not like it. Moreover it is not any different from Cameron, the bogey man talk about Labour are a nonsense, no change between them. UKIP is the answer to give them the kick they deserve.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          ..and the us obviously, there is no quicker road to another labour Government than for Tories to vote UKIP in a fit of spite!

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Indeed Ministers are pretty much the only protection against government by civil servants and the state sector done in the sole interests of civil servants and the state sector. Changing ministers too often is unlikely to help this vital protection. Thought many ministers so often just sound like ham actors/announcers/spinners for their departments.

    It is encouraging to hear that someone in the energy department (Charles Hendry) understood the need to “keep the lights on”. I did not see much sign of it. It is depressing that he has gone.

    Child protection in the UK need very serious attention and changes too.

    I cannot seen much advantage in the changes made. What is needed, as we all know, is some serious saving in the huge government waste, some reductions in regulations, some sensible banking, some reductions in taxes, some sense of direction and a chance we can avoid Labour in 2015.

    Nothing much positive here that I could see. Construction figures were down yet again I see.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Re “Child protection in the UK need very serious attention and changes too.” yes I am absolutley staggered at what goes on at the moment.

      Again some simple decent policies from the government to help the children in obvious ways could help “detoxify” the tory brand a lot more than dave putting up more windmills.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the bat & bird chomping wind turbines are toxic themselves and they do not even actually work in cost or environmental terms.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    It always amazes me that this musical chairs type of management still continues.

    Do all those moved down or out, all fail at once !

    Ian Duncan Smith and some others refuse to move ?

    Really !

    Is Cameron in charge or not ?

    Personally I think it would have been absolutely stupid to have asked him to move, as his programme for change whilst on the start line, has not yet heard the starters gun, thus many slight tweaks, pressure, and all sorts of other measures may be needed once it is bought in, simply to work as originally planned, and who better to manage the introduction, than someone who designed the new system in the first place.

    Clearly some people have been shown to be out of their depth and comfort zone. and it is right that they should be moved on.

    So JR, what is your view on Ken C having a floating commission ?

    Will he simply be a sounding board for the various Department Ministers, or do you think he will spend much of his time with George O ?

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      So the third runway at Heathrow looks like an option again.

      Yet more procrastination and years lost.

      Yes, no, maybe, maybe sometime in the future.

      I would have thought another completely new airport would have been a better idea, given that Heathrow simply cannot expand without purchasing huge amounts of additional land, some of it presently being used for housing.

      How much more simple to have a circular train route (similar to M25) connecting all airports around London with fast links into the Capital to spread the load.

      I know Lifelogic would approve !
      Boris may then be happy with his Island too !

      Spread the load and reduce air traffic congestion (and risk) in the sky over West London and the Heathrow approaches.

      Also remember it snows occassionally, so different locations give more flexibility

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        We need a hub for flight interconnections perhaps get the runway at Gatwick going and a HS train link to Heathrow four runways as a start on the grand plan and link in Stansted later. If that is for political reasons we cannot have the Heathrow runway under way yet.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          If Hs2 is to go ahead then it would surely make more sense to build this “Hub” airport in the B’ham area, 1 hour or less into central London is not really an issue for most whilst it will be encouragement for those who wish to see more business investment in the North too (what with similar travel times to Manchester and Leeds etc.). Road links are not to bad either, other than from those south of London but then they would carry on using either Heathrow or Gatwick.

          A second or third runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow, even the expansion of Stansted (or even Boris Ireland) doesn’t actually make any sense in the long run other than as a stop gap because business is slowly moving away from London to more diverse -cheaper- areas to the north.

        • Excalibur
          Posted September 10, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          I admire generally your incisive comments, Lifelogic. but you are wrong on this. Boris Island is the solution for the l0nger term. With HS2 scheduled to cost about 32 billion, its cancellation and use of the funding towards a new Thames estuary airport at around 52 billion has to be the way to go. OK there will be cost escalations but the rest of the world will not wait while we dilly dally over our airport capacity. International flights come into London via the Thames estuary anyway.

      • Mark
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        I was shocked to note how few passengers for Heathrow use rail or tube these days.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Well a taxi (or friend) is often more convenient and often far cheaper. A link from Heathrow to Gatwick for interchanging passenger would work well however. Linking all Europe with intercontinental flights through the 5 runway Heathwick. Clearly it is the best, quickest and cheapest solution, even if Boris has other ideas – one assumes for rather ambitious political reasons.

          An Island in the Thames would need to be quite high and well protected given the floods of 1953. Also rather subject to fog perhaps.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_flood_of_1953

          Clearly he (rightly) does not believe in catastrophic sea level rises as 1953 was before most of the C02.

          One wonders how the BBC would now cover any repeat of the 1953 flood given their absurd Anth. Global Warming agenda.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          Mark that would be a surprise given the cost of parking, and the restricions on drop off and collection points.

          We always use the train when flying from Gatwick, as they do a Gatwick special, up to 4 people for £40.00 return from Wokingham.

  5. Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    A great deal of sound sense in this piece. For me the most striking element of yesterday’s deckchair rearrangement was the promotion of a Culture secretary under a dark cultural cloud, to a Health portfolio where he starts from the position of having called for the dismantling of the NHS in 2009.
    The large hairy mammoth in the Conservative room at the moment is, I am genuinely sad to say, a leadership clique dedicated to malign influence led by a man bereft of ethical guidance.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Dismantling of the NHS sound like a very good idea most replacement would be better. Anyway at least stop them performing endless quack medicine and vanity treatments from today.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        LL

        Please can you go and get a quote from the website of one of the American insurance companies and tell us how much they will want from you a month to provide coverage (assuming that you have no pre-existing conditions and that they will offer you terms)

        I quite like the NHS in that I get world class treatment without having to have to stump up around £500 p.m to an insurance company. Remember in the UK no one has been made bankrupt by staying in a hospital in the UK.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Please define “quack”, one persons quack cure is another saviour, agreed about vanity [1] treatments though…

        [1] not all plastic surgery is of the vanity sort though

        • Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          “not all plastic surgery is of the vanity sort though”

          Plastic, no – that covers reconstruction after car accidents, for example – but the previous poster said ‘vanity treatments’ which are indeed unnecessary and shouldn’t be NHS funded. Fertility in particular comes under this heading: it isn’t even remotely necessary, so why does it get a penny of state funding? (When other conditions like cancer and blindness are getting passed over as “not important enough”, there is something profoundly wrong.)

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t tell me Peter Mandelson has got David Cameron under remote control ?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives did something similar with the poll tax; they replaced the minister who introduced it with someone who was better at explaining how “wonderful” it was. Fortunately the people weren’t fooled and revolted against it.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Did they “uanime5″? I seem to recall the Tories replaced the Prime Minister, the new PM then appointed a new minister who then listened and made the charge more fair -so much so that the 1997 Labour Government felt no need to meddle to much with Council Tax).

        The only people who “revolted” (rioted might be a better description) against the Community Charge were those who had no intention of paying any local tax what so ever, didn’t pay any Rates, refused to pay the Community Charge and probably made themselves exempt from Council Tax.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        Michael Hesletine took a lot of credit for introducing the Council Tax in 1991. Did you know that replacing the old rates by a property tax based on the capital values of houses was first proposed by Enoch Powell in …. 1964. It doesn’t pay to be too far ahead of the game, does it?

  6. Mick Anderson
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Do something

    This is something

    Do it.

    ———————–

    Unfortunately, because those at the very top have all remained in place, none of the changes that many commentators here want will ever be considered. This is a window-dressing excercise, and the Public are unlikely to see any improvement.

  7. Bryan
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    There is no justification for rewarding an expenses ‘cheat’ with a place in government.

    Shows the politicians have learned nothing, or if they have, they do not care!

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I tend to agree his only “defence” seemed to be that he was gay so thought it did not matter in his case. I suppose he quite reasonably never expected the liberals would be near any real power anyway.

      Let us hope, at least, that he has the intelligence not hold the usual idiotic Libdem views of:- bigger government, quack green energy, enforced equality, yet more tax and wealth taxes and even more non democratic EU everywhere.

  8. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    One could argue there was a strong case for reshuffling at the Treasury (beginning with the Chancellor) and also at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which often forgets about the Commonwealth! The remainder seem uninspiring and are dominated by their civil servants.

    Frankly it seems to me that the only current government department that looks up to the job is education.

  9. Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Bringing David Laws back into office was as good as Cast Iron giving me the finger.
    I may only have one vote but your leader has lost it now.
    No ifs, no buts …

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    The whole of government seems to be run on the lines of party political advantage rather than efficiency and effectiveness. It always irritates me to hear your leaders and Clegg tell us that they put party interests to one side and the national interest first. If only that were true. The national interest should always come first and the statement implies (correctly) that the party interest is not in the national interest.
    Cameron will need to display previously hidden leadership qualities if he is to achieve anything before the next election. Replacing Lansley with Hunt was bizarre and doesn’t inspire any confidence.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Is there something wrong with these comments that they are still awaiting moderation after more than 24 hours?

  11. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I think it is a good idea that IDS has remained in post. Now the Chancellor can look him in the eye across the cabinet table and say two things:
    (1) You’ve capped too high. Cap lower.
    (2) I want salaries in your department and all benefits to be frozen in nominal terms until the government’s annual deficit is much lower.

  12. Simon_c
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I was watching yes minister last night. It went something like

    Sir Arnold (cabinet sec) to Sir Humphrey : “Good heavens, we have to move minsters around every couple of years to stop them really getting to know thing. If this plan goes ahead we’ll have to reassign them every couple of weeks”.

    Somewhat apt I thought.

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Will be interesting to see how different the new folk are to the old lot.

    If they dont come up with real action and substance the country will suffer.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    These are interesting ideas but to introduce them would require imagination and a strong PM. Neither of these qualities appear to be present in the current coalition that operates on the rule that the lowest common denominator prevails. The checks and balances have secured, and will continue to secure, stagnation at best or further decline at worst. Even worse the coalition has entrenched itself, by legislation, with a five year term – thus ensuring that snouts in the trough and the ministerial cars remain the order of the day.

  15. john locke
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    IDS did not “refuse” he was given a choice and decided to stay in post…

  16. merlin
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    All this reshuffle demonstrates to me is that people who you have never heard of are replaced by people you have never heard of. Apart from the core ministers where nothing has changed and are still in post, the rest of the numbered playing cards have been moved around. Essentially this means to me that for the next 2 and half years this governement will carry on with the same policies. If you want to know what will happen in the future you have to look at the past. So, let’s do that, by summarising:-

    1) Double Dip Recession

    2) Still governed by the EUSSR

    3) High Unemployment, especially youth

    4) More regulation, taxes and government

    5) Most children still educated by the Comprehensive education system

    6) War in Afghanistan

    I could probably list even more, will this reshuffle have any effect, of course not. It lasts for a couple of days and the media get excited then its more of the same old, same old.
    My impression of this government is that there is little difference between this government and the last. This government is taxing and spending just like the last one, and passing all the debt to the next 2 generations to deal with, bit like the EUSSR kicking the can down the road and never actually dealing with the problems facing us. I’ve always thought that governments only act when they have to and when they can make political capital out of a situation.

  17. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    In 1997 I thought the Tories as a political force were finished and that we were moving towards becoming a one party state. By 2005 with Labour’s third consecutive election victory this feeling was reinforced.

    Even with the financial crisis in 2007/8, followed by recession and with the main party led by a very unpopular Prime Minister, the Tories could not win a majority.

    Are the Tories finished as a party of government? The idea of a government reshuffle is absurd. In no business would you replace or move the heads of departments all at the same time. This reshuffle simply reinforces the perception that the government is at sea and has no idea how to deal with the economic crisis – and the simple fact that the state is way too large.

    Labour will win again in 2015. Unless Cameron is ditched and a real leader emerges – a Labour landslide is inevitable. Where then for the Tory party? In 2020 the narrative will be compelling – ‘they had another chance in 2010-2015 and all we got was recession and cuts – don’t give them a chance to ruin the economy again …’ And Labour will win again.

    By 2025 it will be 28 years since the Tories were in power. I can’t see any political party surviving in those circumstances – other than as a similar ‘minority interest’ party like the Liberals.

    I despair at the idea of endless Labour government. But what we have at the moment is no different to that which went before. The Tory party needs a leader and time is running out. You need to get rid of Cameron before it is too late.

  18. Acorn
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Why do we have to have circa 23 cabinet members, that is a very big board of Executive Directors when there are only about ten or eleven basic functions of government? I am not sure if the voters are the Non-Execs or the Party Grandees?

    Why do we have circa 120 ministers of some grade or another? They all have to have “initiatives” to flog to impress the boss and make their mark on the promotion pole. Hence we end up with all sorts of disconnected bits of legislation and regulation.

    The losers in the re-shuffle get to feel the pain of being both a sacrificial lamb and a tethered goat at the same time. If you were installed in post, stamped with a policy such as no runway at Heathrow; when that music stops there is no chair left for you to sit on and you are out of the game. Simples.

    Congratulations to the reader who won the David Laws return to government sweep-stake. I didn’t think he would get back till the next election etc etc

    • zorro
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      With progress, technology, the internet, great communications…what do we get…? More ministers than you can shake a stick at! It’s just to shore up the government vote and make it look as if the Tory Party actually supports David Cameron as PM. As you say, it doesn’t promote efficient government. It just creates a lot of eager bunnies wanting to please the March hare in order to climb up the pole. Even worse, they come up with unnecessary ideas created to increase their department’s (also their) interests…..Men are more easily governed by appealing to their vices rather than their virtues….

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Some of the bunnies also know things about the March hare which might help their case…

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Good to see that Mr Hunt was promoted to Health Secretary following his unique tenure as Culture Secretary I guess….

          zorro

  19. merlin
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The only reshuffled post that grabbed my attention was that of Owen Paterson to Environment , apparently he is pro shale gas extraction. I hope he actually implements shale gas fracking immediately and is not prevented from doing so by the left wing green extremists i.e the liberal democrats.

  20. a-tracy
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Hopefully these new ministers will learn from Michael Gove’s early mistake of speaking too readily to the media on his portfolio before his full understanding was gained, trusting his civil servants with no loyalty to him too readily and making him look a little foolish. He learnt from that early misadventure and appears much more proficient now to me. Hunt would do better if he explained he was on a steep and severe learning curve and give himself at least six weeks to bed in. It would have been interesting to have Nadine Dorries in the NHS ministry but I guess she’s upset the top table too much and you’re better to keep your mouth shut if you want to get on in politics (strange really).

    I am very disappointed about Justine Greening I really connect with her and feel she speaks well and was a competent Transport Minister.

    Could you imagine being able to cut and shuffle Management in real businesses in this way! Sales are down this year, Jo the Sales Director gets shunted down a peg, the Operations Director gets put into Sales even though he has no sales experience, the new Operation’s Supervisor gets made up to Operations Director because we like her. The HR Manager doesn’t want to handle the resulting upset so she’s moved to Marketing and a hard faced, no nonsense, ambitious man is given her role. Businesses are expected to retrain people that are not bringing in results, provide flexible working if they want to slow down a little in their post, allow them to hold on to their jobs until they’re 80 if they want to. If you do want to move them you have to go through sufficient meetings with formal warnings, the disciplinary procedures, do a capability assessment, cope them going off sick when you’re then told not to remove them whilst they are off work sick. Governments should follow the regulations they put in place for everyone else. If they choose to ignore them it shouldn’t be the taxpayer picking up the tab it should be the ruling party picking up the cost then there’d be more care about who they appoint in the first place.

  21. Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The person who is the main problem, Osborne, remains.
    He has made no real attempt to cut the deficit with spending and borrowing reaching an all time high. One suspects that he is a socialist in disguise. He has no financial background, and has to rely entirely on officials to guide him, and thus the socialist inclined Mandarins are in control.
    But Cameron will never fire him as they are long term friends, have the same background, belong to the same clubs, etc.
    While he is in post there is no hope, regardless of who else is in the cabinet.

  22. Caterpillar
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Is there an official reason for Miss Greening’s demotion?

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth did he appoint her so recently if he wanted the sensible Heathwick?

      A good reason to fire her is:- she is an accountant and yet still bizarrely seems to be in favour of HS2 – so clearly she was not up to the job.

  23. Winston Smith
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Never mind rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, the biggest issue is now the Green Belt. Roll on next year’s local elections. The political/media elite want to build cheap housing in the shires to transport cheap labour to provide the services to keep them in luxury in their London enclaves. Local associations will have to rebel or they will lose many of their councillors. The Conservative Party is in massive decline.

    • zorro
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Can’t have the hoi polloi living so close to the elite in London any longer, dontcha think….?

      zorro

  24. Michael Read
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Do I detect euro thinking in your analysis of cabinet reshuffles?

    Much thought about the sensitivities of the various parties to the musical chairs. The interests of the electorate, as in commitments made in manifestoes at elections, receive a very low priority, if considered at all.

    A case in point: Heathrow. You promised. Greening committed. The stage is being set for you to renege on the promise.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Perhaps this is a good time to re-emphasise the economic background. To stand any chance of delivering its deficit reduction strategy, the Coalition government must deliver total public spending in FYR 2013/14 that is 5% LOWER in real terms than the total in FYR 2011/12. That’s not a reduced rate of increase; that’s a real cut.

    Do you agree with that assertion, Mr Redwood?

    It will also need a real cut of 2% in total public expenditure in each of the succeeding years.

    Reply: The government’s plans assume a much slower rate of growth in cash spending from next year, but they also assume lower inflation, limiting the real cut to very little.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. I checked out the figures in the 2012 budget statement. Using the total managed expenditure totals and the GDP deflator series, the budget statement says that total public expenditure in 2013/14 should be 1.4% less in real terms than in 2011/12, indeed a much smaller cut.

      The difference between this and my more demanding target of 5% is mainly down to the assumed GDP growth rate. I have assumed zero growth; the budget statement projects 0.8% real growth in 2012 and 2.0% real growth in 2013 (followed by 2.7% in 2014).

      When George Osborne presents a spending review in October or later, he will have behind him three quarters of negative growth followed by (at most) one quarter of positive growth. It is against that background that he will have to convince the markets that the 2012 budget forecast is right and mine is pessimistic. Good luck to him and I hope I’m wrong.

      The year 2014 is likely to be the first year of an American recession so that 2.7% GDP growth forecast looks a bit iffy.

  26. Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness I see Nick Gibb has stayed too.

    I suppose the fact the whole education community with all its variety and shades of perspectives on priorities has never been so united in their horror at a minister’s extreme level of ignorance and self delusion is seen as being confirmation that Michael Gove is right when he labels all those with experience in education as being deeply ignorant socialist ideologues who need to be ignored?

    Is there nobody at all in the Conservative party who’s even vaguely in touch with anyone who is involved in the real world of state education?

    • Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      He’s gone after all. I didn’t realise reshuffles were so unclear and took so long!
      Sadly so have John Hayes and Sarah Teather – the two in education who were doing good jobs.

      “When appointing new Junior Ministers it would be better to say to them the typical experience would be 4-5 years as a junior Minister.”
      So how come all Michael Gove had to do to jump straight to SoS for education was to be a proven part of the Murdoch ‘family’?

      Reply: What nonsense.

      • Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        What’s nonsense?

        Can anyone tell me anything about Laws’ ‘expertise’ in education?

        • APL
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Rebecca Hanson: “Can anyone tell me anything about Laws’ ‘expertise’ in education?”

          Before the election, did Nick Clegg have any experience of government?

    • Jerry
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Yet most parents seem to be never more united in their wish to see better schools…

      • Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Could you give me some references to the times when parents were not particularly bothered about their children going to good schools please Jerry?

    • Richard
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Rebecca,
      I’m looking forward to a post from you when you don’t mention the words …Mr Gove…
      Come on Rebecca you know you can do it…deep breaths….

      • Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Look at the top of today’s thread Richard. I often do it. You clearly only see Govesque posts. Your fascination with him- not mine.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      Never mind, David Laws has joined Michael Gove at Education. I’m sure you are delighted.

      • Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Nope – I don’t know Laws. What would you like to tell me about his views on education? Why is Gove angry he’s there?

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          No idea; he’s one of yours. All I know is that his speciality is economics and that he was Financial Secretary for 14 days before resigning. He is on the Orange Book wing of the LibDems?

  27. Tad Davison
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Two of the most ludicrous changes relate to Cambridgeshire MPs – Jim Paice, and Andrew Lansley. Both of whom knew their brief intimately. Jim Paice is himself a farmer, so agriculture seemed just right for him. Yes, there was the trumped-up issue of the price of milk, but Mr Paice is not alone. I couldn’t tell anyone how much it costs either, because it ranges so much depending on where it is bought.

    Then there’s Andrew Lansley. He spent years as Shadow Health Secretary before getting the job by right after the 2010 election. His knowledge of the workings of the NHS is encyclopaedic. Having three operations in six weeks recently, it gave me the chance to ask those in the NHS about Mr Lansley’s reforms. This, according to those at the sharp end, is the state of play: Front line services have seen no appreciable difference, and patients would be hard pressed to notice. Yet behind the scenes, lots of efficiencies have been made, with savings to the tax-payer.

    Now let’s look at the treasury and to the FCO. Spending and borrowing is rampant, and there is no appreciable difference in Britain’s disastrous and crippling relationship with the EU. So it seems failure is allowed to continue, yet the bringers of some measure of success, a rarity with this government, are either sacked or moved sideways.

    That then brings into question the judgement of the Prime Minister as problem is clearly with those at the top. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing incompetent people running the show. They simply haven’t got the wherewithal, and the most necessary changes have yet to be made, that of Cameron and his side-kick, or electoral oblivion beckons, and with some very serious treaty changes in the pipeline, that would be the biggest disaster this country has ever faced.

    One good move though, and I’m still continually saying ‘thank Christ for that under my breath’. Clarke has been removed as Justice Secretary. Apart from the Lib Dems, I can’t recall anyone having a good word to say about that bloke. Perhaps Clarke should never have been in the Conservative party in the first place, and is much more in tune with the (misguided thinkers-ed) who would protect and cosset the criminal fraternity at everyone else’s expense. I said right from the outset that he was no good, but then I get the impression Cameron needs a fellow Europhile as a comfort blanket.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • uanime5
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Lansley’s reforms have not resulted in any efficiencies or savings to the tax-payer. Replacing over 150 health trusts with thousands of GP consortias will lead to a massive increase in administrative costs. At present any saving usually result from delaying operations as long as possible which is why waiting list times keep rising.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        The reforms ought to lead to substantial savings PROVIDED that the process of setting GP budgets is efficient, so it has to be formula driven (number of patients, demographic profile etc).

        My GP tells me that there are going to be few problems with his budget in the short term because the government has already made a saving by cutting his remuneration package.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          The problem with a lot of small budgets is that if there is a major accident (for example involving multiple vehicles) or outbreak (such as legionnaires disease) all the affected GP consortias are likely to go over budget. Even a year where an above average number of the elderly need expensive operations can cause a consortia to go over budget.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            The government has congingency funds to cover things such as epidemics. As for expensive operations on the elderly, this is precisely the sort of thing that ought to be subject to budget control. If GP consortia don’t want the embarrassment of saying ‘no’, then they will have to retain a surplus in the good years. Just because you have a budget, you don’t have to spend all of it.

  28. Martyn
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    John, you say “…..and Michael Fabricant a natural in the whips office”.
    Why the change, I ask myself? Hmmm, might be something to do with Mr C setting out to rein in the bolshy 90-odd MPs who are not always entirely convinced that the government is on the right track, methinks……

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Labour will make easy electoral gains in the South East by opposing the Heathrow 3rd runway – it is Ted Heath’s Maplin Sands initiative all over again. Actually Heath and Cameron have a lot in common – some good radical ideas announced at the start all of which failed to get implemented in a mire of incompetence and confusion.

  30. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I am fed up listening to the self interest of those spouting off about the Third Runway and I have now decided that Boris is a clown after all. Furthermore apart from his looking like a rich pal of Cameron I neither know nor care who this Zac chappie is. It is ridiculous when considering the national interest which is what we should be doing to worry overmuch about local residents. Maybe they do, and will, have it tough but in to each life some rain must fall.

    The French have a saying along the lines, If we have to drain the pond we do not consult the Frogs. Besides, could not some sort of compensation be put in train, perhaps big reductions in the Community Charge, for those affected.

  31. Vanessa
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    This all sounds well and dandy but as we all know the EU runs this country and therefore any tinkering in departments is pretty useless as they have no power or control to do anything but ask the EU for permission to tinker around the edges.

  32. Norman Cameron
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    A pity the brightest light has been moved from a department that keeps him away from the centre and into one where his hands will be tied by the EU and with a leadership shackled to the corpse of the EU and refusing to back British interests he can’t expect much back-up, perhaps some back-stabbing as the election looms closer.
    May be worth a punt with a few quid for leader in 2015 all the same. Can’t really see the Tories being stupid enough (although you never know) to for another unknown whose main qualities is he doesn’t have much to say about anything so can’t really offend anyone but can spin in whichever direction the wind blows. Pity it’s blowing a storm and he’s bouncing around erratically pointing all over the place with no consistency.

  33. Tad Davison
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Disqus is short for disqusting. It is possibly the worst system of them all. I can’t get on with it, which is why I don’t comment on other blogs as much as I would wish. It’s slow, and after a while, it freezes up and stops you adding to it. The old system was far better. Disqus is a retrograde step in my view.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      This really is confusing. I posted a comment in the usual way, then re-checked it a little later. Ten comments had already been posted, but I could only find the one fromVanessa, and that was in the ‘Disqus’ format. Now the blog has reverted to the original and best format. Perhaps it’s John’s way of showing us all that change for changes sake is a bad thing, just as with a cabinet re-shuffle.

      Tad

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Do you remember Hutber’s law, formulated by the late Sunday Telegraph journalist Patrick Hutber during Dennis Healey’s time? “Improvement means deterioration.”

  34. stred
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Why messing about with computer systems is a bad idea.
    The old script was better. It worked well and the original comments are nowhere to be found. If it works why fix it.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Totally agree “stred”, even more so when people have wasted time last night and this morning replying to ongoing conversations that now seem to have vanished into the ether. The only reason for John switching to something like “Disqus” is because moderation had become a chore to far – that said it would have been nice had we been warned of the impending change – of course John is at liberty to as pleases with his own website but I suspect that the quality of the debate will go south somewhat as people realise that their comments are published and only then moderated (don’t believe me, go read some of the ‘discussion’ on the Telegraph website)… I also agree with Ted Davison and his comments about the Disqus GUI.

      BFN…

      • scottspeig
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        It also gave the impression (correctly I believe) that John read all the comments since they had to be approved.

        On the other hand, it now means that comments are instantly uploaded and allows conversations to happen more spontaneously and quicker rather than waiting for them all to be approved…

      • Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Is there any way we can get access to our old comments John?

        • stred
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Please tell them to discquss off John.

  35. Adam5x5
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    To quote Michael Deacon from the DT…

    “To judge by his appointments, the Prime Minister has a keen sense of what voters are thinking. Obviously they’re very happy with the state of the economy, there are loads of jobs about, and business is booming, so no need to change the Chancellor or Business Secretary.

    On the other hand, families across the land think of little else but international development and the timetabling of government business in the Commons, so it was vital to get those areas sorted out.”

    Spot on I think.

    • peter davies
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      The Lib Dems could really have done with putting David Laws as business secretary..

  36. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Ed Milliband’s; “same old faces and the same old policies” speech could equally apply to his own Party.

    Why do opposition Government’s suddenly fall into a State of amnesia when they fall out of office?

    Why does Ed Milliband suddenly forget that Gordon Brown’s contribution to the future of Britain was to sell off our Gold at rock bottom prices ni exchange for EUROs? Gordon Brown’s credit fuelled economic boom turned into exactly waht he said he’d eliminated – a massive bust equalling that of the Great Depression. The Media said that Gordon led the way to the bailout scheme – he is a true leader? he caused the bloody problem in the first place or at least, watched it happen and cheered on the City to encourage things to get worse. He gave the BoE even more powers to lower interest rates whenever they pleased, alter and fabricate Inflation Figures, Unemployment Figures, helped Tony Blair invade foriegn Lands – so please Mr Milliband – no more throwing stones unless you too are not a sinner.

    Why did Ed Milliband forget that the reason we are in this financial mess is becasue of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s (bad-ed) actions cosying upto the Financial Sector and George Bush’s Empire building activities.

    Labour lied about WMD and launched us into an illegal War causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people – and Ed Milliband has the nerve to criticise a minor reshuffle?

    “Mr Milliband! What is the weather like on the Planet you’ve been on over the last ten years?”

    It was Tony Blair’s PPI schemes and Gordon Brown’s ignorance of anything Financial – their combined lack of knowledge of Economics with a desire to believe what neo-classical economics Professors told them about how to run the Economy, the same type of people currently advising the Conservative Government.

    The House of Commons is nothing more than Theatre on a good day, a ‘Punch & Judy’ Show on a bad day. Or should that be ‘Sooty & Sweep’ Show/ – especially when applied to Labour.

    “Life is a Cabaret, old chum,

    Come to the Cabaret.”

    • peter davies
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Good points Conrad – it seems weird that the people now top of labour are the same ones who worked under G Broon to create the mess they did and people are now listening to the muppets!

      • forthurst
        Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Quite. Isn’t it their turn to be the ‘nasty’ party? Where’s the BBC when you need some unbiased political commentary? The conservative party is now definitely the nice eco-loon, multiculturalising, gay-marriage, EU grovelling, carpet-chewing refugee creating Christian bashing neocon wars of subterfuge and choice party. Come BBC, what’s not to like?

        • Conrad Jones (Cheam)
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          Where’s the BBC when you need unbiased political commentary?

          Good point. Where are they?

          I think I know…

          The BBC are not able to spend any time giving unbiased political commentary (which we need right now), they are too busy making works of fiction such as Robert Peston’s: “How do Banks work” which completely ignores that the Banking Sector has been allowed to create excessive amounts of credit fuelling the Housing Boom and diverting capital away from Productive Investment. The Bank of England admits that this BBC Learning Zone Video is “Simplistic” which is a diplomatic way of avoiding saying – it’s wrong and misleading.

          Judge for yourself:
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/how-do-banks-work/11880.html

          Not only was the BBC’s video make a misleading, inaccurate and false Educational Video, they made it with Tax Payers License Fees.

          Their response to my complaint was:

          “They’ve in turn raised their comments with Robert Peston who clarifies that the clip in question is about the basic structure of banks and why they are so vulnerable, not about how they create money.” –

          Not even that is accurate as how can they present the instability in the Banking System by describing how a Piggy Bank works.

          The Bank of England said to me:
          “Having viewed the film it seems clear that it is a fairly simple film aiming to describe nothing more than the basics of banking. If you are not happy with the content of the film and feel that it may in some way be misleading, you may wish to contact the BBC directly with your views. ” – I did contact the BBC. Yes – I think the Video is misleading. The Bank bailouts cost £375 billion – and it’s not over yet. When Rover Cars were collpasing – NO MONEY. A Productive Business got ZERO, a non-productive Industry get’s welfare payments for as long as they need them.

          Banks are not intermediaries, they are the Money creating Sector – not the Government, when the Government spends more that it can recieve in Taxes, it has to borrow the money from Banks by selling Treasury Bonds which require interest payments and the principle of the loan paid back, but Banks lend debt.

          The BBC is incapable of producing an accurate and unbiased Program about Politics and especially about, Economics. I’ve only focused on one short video, I’m afraid I cannot catalogue a list of all the other biased, inaccurate and misleading Programs that the BBC has produced in the last ten years becasue I do not have the time. If people do not complain about the material on the BBC, then they will carry on producing pure Fiction, even when dressed up as Educational.

          • forthurst
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

            “The BBC is incapable of producing an accurate and unbiased Program” Full stop. They create a fictitious reality so that subsequently, it can become fact. Cui bono? Speak to ordinary people and they haven’t a clue.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Brown (for whatever reasons) did keep us out of the Euro and I have heard that that saved us more money that he lost in the gold sell offs.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Firstly the recklessness of the banks caused the credit crunch, not Brown.

      Secondly both Labour and the Conservatives were cosying up to the Financial Sector.

      Thirdly the Conservatives were calling for less regulations on the Financial Sector, which if implemented would have made the credit crunch much worse.

      Amazing how people keep forgetting this.

      Reply: I called for proper regulation of cash and capital and forecast coming problems from overgeared and overextended institutions.Funny you do not recall that.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Once again, you fail to acknowledge the effect of the loose monetary policy that was applied between 2001 and 2007. Monetary policy was based on inflation targeting but house and other asset prices were not included in the measure of inflation. The Govenor of the Bank of England did point this out several times but he failed to resign, which was the only way that Gordon Brown was ever going to be persuaded to make a change and include house prices in the inflation measure.

        The recklessness was generated by the belief that house and property prices would carry on rising, more or less for ever. Banks were over leveraged, the debt/income ratio of households rose to 160% (and that’s just the average), and public expenditure was rising rapidly. Naturally, when the housing bubble burst, there was red ink everywhere.

        That is why the British have a stark choice – pain now or a massive amount of pain later. And a word of warning to the retired elderly – if you opt for the latter option, don’t expect the young to pick up the tab for your old age care; they will simply refuse to.

  37. pipesmoker1276
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Owen Paterson, highly recommended by Lord Lawson, has to be a good choice?

    The German press appears up to speed with the EU unlike our own which fails to report what is going on.

    No job for you, would you want it, wasted talent JR.

  38. andy
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    testing the new comments

  39. Mactheknife
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Owen Patterson is good, but unfortunately Cameron has done nothing to stop the “deep greens” at DECC and they will continue to block any economic progress with their insistance on vastly expensive renewables.

    A couple of weeks ago on of the CEO’s at a major energy provider let the cat out of the bag about the cost to household bills now and in the future of the Renewables Obligations. DECC were quick to blame the energy companies but they are being forced into expensive energy provision by the EU and UK legislation.

    Ed Davey – OUT !!!!!

  40. Bert Young
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand ! I have just posted a response on “Disqus” and , it has not appeared in the usual place . Am I “bonkers” ?

  41. Atlas
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    ” Deckchair rearranging on the Titanic” sums up the reshuffle for me.

    Perhaps I should ask my local MP what it feels like to be working as a stoker on the Titanic – but I think he may have just lost his position and I’m just not that mean.

  42. David Langley
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John, what exactly is the governments policy to maintain our access to London via airports? I am confused, the present policy seems to be do nothing while more enquiries and consultations can take place. If not building another runway at Heathrow is part of the policy what is the rest? I am still confused by the need to move a Minister who is sticking to a policy that is only half a policy because the rest of it has yet to be thought about. Ditching an efficient and female minister under these circumstances must leave a bad taste in many mouths as its illogical. No wonder the Honourable Boris is tearing into Cameron, what is he to say to his opposition when sitting on the hands is the official transport policy for London Airports.

    Reply Apparently policy has shifted to privding more airport capacity for London. No 3rd runway will be built this Parliament, as promised. The results of the review will be a decision on where extra capacity should go. If this were to be a 3rd runway at Hrow they would need to put this to the voters in the next Election before proceeding.

  43. Terry
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Was it wise for Cameron to replace Tim Loughton with David Laws? Laws (words left out-ed) was found guilty of fiddling his expenses. Hardly a shining example for Children and Families, is it? This is just another example of Cameron’s hopeless decision making abilities and reason to put another nail in the lid of his political coffin. He is a disappointment to our family of real Tories.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      I think your comment clearly demonstrates why Mr Laws felt that he had to do as he did, not that I condone it, just understand his reasoning, to protect his and his partners personal private lives from prying eyes of the press and small minded bigots…

  44. Normandee
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    We used to use a phrase in the Navy when writing a man’s report, under the heading of “Leadership”, “the only people who would be lead by this man are the intensely curious”. I think it would fit very nicely on Mr Camerons report.

  45. Electro-Kevin
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see Ken Clarke go. (Even though I like him)

    If the economic situation deteriorates then we are going to have a problem with law and order. My feeling is that we can scuff along with austerity and impoverishment. However, combine this with a breakdown in law and order then our economic situation is going to be very difficult to recover from.

    Without the protection of life and property government and the courts lose their respect and authority – the dynamic and incentive for economic growth is lost as well as the willingness to pay taxes.

    One of the reasons for our decline has been the reward of the wrong behaviour and the wrong people by the state – lenient sentencing and soft prison time is one of those rewards (don’t tell me it isn’t, Unime5, Bazman – I still know plenty of cops and prison officers)

    Ken Clarke was an all too typical representation of the democratic deficit which afflicts this country. This is both bad for public morale and bad for public safety.

    It might be ‘populist’, ‘tabloid’, ‘unenlightened’ to believe in punitive measures against crime but that is what a large proportion of the population wants.

    So where is the party to represent them ?

    • uanime5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Even if there weren’t “lenient sentencing and soft prison time” as long as people come out of prison less employable than when they went in is it any wonder than at best they live the rest of their lives on benefits and at worst go commit more crimes. Increasing sentences from 5 year to 10 year or 30 years won’t change this.

      Punitive measures against crime, such as long jail times, tend to be expensive or divide the voters, such as the death penalty. Unless a political party is able to build and finance enough prisons to house all the criminals, something the USA is having problems doing, or can get enough electoral support from people who support the death penalty these practices simple aren’t viable.

      Until there’s more effort put into reforming criminals than jailing them for a long time to appease hysterical newspapers recidivism will remain high.

  46. Roger Farmer
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    This government will be judged by results which to date have been sadly lacking. If they fail to perform in line with the desires of the populous then we can anticipate their demise in 2015. Telling a good story, which some of the ministerial incumbents apparently failed to do, is insufficient. We the country need action and that means grasping the nettle of Europe, in or out. Anything less is PR Flim Flam which I suspect is all that Cameron has to offer. If so he will pay the price.

  47. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Johnny, why do you think Cameo overlooked you ? – again !
    Your attempt to unseat JM was a lifetime ago – in politico time – do they still bear a grudge ?!

    • forthurst
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s the way affirmative action works. Bear in mind, the idea is not to construct the most capable government; after all, the EU controls our domestic policy and various ‘think tanks’ with ME loyalties control our foreign policy. So, in short, if being a FOD (friend of Dave), a LibDum, a female, an alternative lifestyle practitioner, a person whose ancestors did not tread our once (before they arrived) green and pleasant land earns higher weightings in the promotional stakes, so what? Don’t overlook the BBC; they need to be able to interview authoritive people from non-authoritive backgrounds: that’s show business. They can’t be expected to waste time talking to unweighted persons like JR simply because he knows what he’s talking about.

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Forsooth, Forthurst !

  48. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    My comment is still being moderated? Why? Others posted before and after have been approved.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Who does the moderating ? Johnny himself or his apparatchiks ?

      Reply I do (JR)

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        (JAR) surely ?!

  49. RDM
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Glad they are all happy in their new jobs, but the Contract(Employment) market has been dead for so long now, I’ve forgotten!

    12yrs a Contractor (before this drought), and I was unemployed through the 80’s, but it has never been as bad as it is!

    Are they stuck on “Trickle Down”, or are they going to reform the Banking System? Get some Investment capital to the People on the ground, building up some wealth!

    Regards,

    RDM.

    • Jon
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      My take on that is that it goes back to Brown favouring leveraging over savings and pensions which have not increased for 15 years.

      That led the banks to fill the shareholder gap / deficit with lending to the big “safer” FTSE companies. That in turn meant they shyed away from the small to medium sized companies. The very companies that in turn employ the smaller contractor. It was a major un balancing of the economy and a right old mess to sort now.

  50. Jon
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Does seem a harsh way to do things. It does happen in the private sector but only when a new chief executive forms their team, its minor adjustments after that. They don’t have the problem of giving experience to new comers, thats done within the industry in the private sector.

    I was surprised Cameron even asked Ian Duncan Smith to move given Ian’s long term work and commitment to the area, was it that he doesn’t like his proposals? Maybe he wanted to scale them back??

    For all the debate I like the fact that there are not lots of major changes. Labour swapped people round every year and no minister got to understand how to effect change.

    I would have liked to have seen someone given responsibility for enacting/delivering public spending cuts. A roving rottweiler cross examining the minsters spending plans behind the scenes.

  51. uanime5
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Pity that more of the doctors Cameron encouraged to become Conservative MPs weren’t given jobs in the Department of Health.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Dr Daniel Poulter MP was given a job in the Department of Health and was a NHS Doctor before becoming an MP.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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