Who would you sack for disloyalty and incompetence?

Nasty and weak PMs leak or brief in advance that certain Ministers are for the chop. We learn today from some source or other that Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith are pencilled in to lose their jobs in a reshuffle, for incompetence and disloyalty.If this is not the Prime Minister’s wish, he should slap down such antics. Short of him doing that, we have to assume this comes from the sources close.

If those criteria are to be applied, there will not be many left of the present Cabinet. My own favourites for removal would be:

Ed Balls – a twin nomination. Incompetence as Education Secretary over Sats, handling the teachers Unions and school results. Incompetence over working with Mr Mc Bride and the bungled and crude attacks on the Tories. Disloyalty in the form of allowing people to push his own candidature to take over in due course from his Leader.

Yvette Balls (Cooper) – for incompetence. She will go down in history as the worst Chief Secretary, the one who comprehensively lost control of public spending. She has failed to get value for money and failed to offer any framework of financial discipline to the vast and sprawling public sector

Who would you like to see sacked – other than the whole lot in an election?


  1. alan jutson
    May 6, 2009

    Simon Heffer sums it all up perfectly in the Telegraph this morning.
    For not allowing a proper leadership contest to take place in the first place.
    They are a disgrace to our SO CALLED DEMOCRACY.

  2. Kevin Lohse
    May 6, 2009

    Harriet Harman. For incompetence in office, for introducing legislation which victimises the majority, for peddling political ideals which are designed to destabilise our society.

    Gordon Brown. For all the obvious reasons, and to save his life and allow him to recover his sanity.

  3. APL
    May 6, 2009

    JR: “for incompetence and disloyalty.”

    Incompetence? Yes both of them.

    Disloyalty? Exactly who should an MP be loyal to?

    Not to the PM, to his / her party? We see where that leads – to the utter shambles that passes for politics today.

    What about the poor hapless constituent? Wow, there is a thought.

    Of course, if MPs were sacked for disloyalty to their constituents, there would be hardly an MP in Parliament served longer than his /her first visit to the Parliamentary expenses office.

    As to who should be sacked in the dismal government?

    Why single any of them out for incompetence? They are all equally execrable.

    I have heard reasonably good things about the last defence minister but one. Des Brown, I think his name is, but the rest I can’t be bothered to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  4. Acorn
    May 6, 2009

    As you have already picked my top four candidates, you have to ask, why are they so poor at the job? Your own Alan Duncan summed it up in the members allowance debate:-


    There is a limited pool of talent available to do these jobs when you have to pick your “executive” from an elected lay member parliament. Once in the job, they will sit at the head of committee tables where everyone else in the room will know a hell of a lot more about the job than they do. Imagine that happening at Tesco or ASDA or BP.

    All those other experts around the table know that your tenure in the job is likely to be limited and they will do their best to stop you buggering up the system. Should you show signs of doing that, they will use the system to slow you down to a crawl, including putting the squeeze on the main man at the top, to show you the errors in your thinking. As with all organisations that purport to be democratic, empowered, “doing whatever it takes”; at some level, there is one guy who kicks arse. In this case, the prime minister.

    Like it or not, we have a de-facto presidential system in place. (Only 1 person out of 1800 potential electors, actually voted for the present incumbent). Unfortunately our president does not have the luxury of appointing his ministers from a much wider pool of talent that will “serve at the presidents pleasure”.

    Redwoodians will already have guessed where I am going with this. It is time to elect our prime minister separately from the legislature. He appoints his “executive” ministers from non MPs. Then the commons of elected MPs can get back to doing the job it is supposed to do, holding the executive to account and limiting its power to act and spend taxpayers money.

    1. Alfred T Mahan
      May 6, 2009

      Acorn – you’re spot on. The biggest problem with our system of government is that the legislature has been completely captured by the executive. Being a SpAd, then an MP, then a junior minister, then in the cabinet is a well-trodden career path and it has absolutely nothing to do with representing the people – let alone protecting them from government excess.

      It’s a shame that Andrew Lansley on Question Time last week couldn’t answer the question on second jobs properly by reminding everyone that most MPs’ second jobs are in the government. He clearly doesn’t bother to read your blog, John!

    2. RayD
      May 6, 2009

      Would you still argue that if your pool of lay MPs included, say, Michael Heseltine or Ken Clarke? Is it really reasonable to change the system because one party has such bloody useless MPs? Also, you might like to think through the consequences. Supposing, hypothetically, the BNP were to get a majority. What kind of people would a BNP PM appoint as ministers if he had the whole of the UK to chose from?

      I think the requirement for ministers to be MPs is one area where the British system is superior to the American one. A popular MP can stand up to the PM, an appointed minister, would, as you say, serve at the PM’s pleasure. We cannot, thankfully, have a Donald Rumsfeld foisted upon us.

      1. alan jutson
        May 6, 2009

        You have had Peter Mandleson foisted upon you, and he is a lord now so cannot be got rid of.

      2. Adam Collyer
        May 6, 2009

        There is no requirement for a minister to be a member of parliament. Look at Lord Mandelson for instance. Come to think of it, he’s my nomination for sacking.

        1. RayD
          May 7, 2009

          Excellent point which I am happy to concede. However, can you name another? The procedure is too rarely used to be constitutionally significant, and will almost certainly be lost in a future Lords reform.

          Additionally Mandelson resigned as MP to move to Europe. Had he not done so, he would have still been an MP and could have been drafted into the cabinet. The ennoblement of Peter Mandelson is therefore yet another insult to be laid at the door of the EU.

    3. Denis Cooper
      May 6, 2009

      There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our parliamentary system, except the kind of people we elect to Parliament.

      And as at present in about 94% of cases each of those MPs was chosen primarily because he was offered as the official candidate for one of the three main political parties, how could the direct election of the leader of one of those three parties to the position of Prime Minister possibly change anything for the better?

      Suppose in 1997 we had got a directly elected Prime Minister Blair, and we had also got a House of Commons with a massive majority of Labour MPs who would slavishly vote as he wanted because he was the leader of their party, which they would always put before their country – how would that have helped?

    4. SJB
      May 6, 2009

      Acorn: “It is time to elect our prime minister separately from the legislature. He appoints his “executive” ministers from non MPs. Then the commons of elected MPs can get back to doing the job it is supposed to do, holding the executive to account and limiting its power to act and spend taxpayers money.”

      Yes, but holding the executive to account must include checks before money is expended. We must get out of this cycle of computer systems going wrong –> select committees conducting post-mortems –> chorus: “lessons have been learned” –> repeat with next project.

    5. Acorn
      May 6, 2009

      Thanks for replies, great stuff. Short answers to question marks.

      If Heseltine and Clarke get elected, and many more like them, that will be the will of the electors. You can only improve the choice of candidate by having “primary” elections in a constituency. let the local members elect their candidate rather than the local party activists.

      If the BNP get elected then that will have been the will of the electors. The BNP may be right wing on immigration but its economic policy is much much further to the left.

      How many popular MPs do you know, have stood up to the PM and survived in post. The Commons could challenge PM appointments as the US Congress does.

      The Leader of the party does not have to be the candidate for PM, the party chooses the candidate in “primary” elections. The PM candidates may not be from an established party. It could be a Joanna Lumley or such like. In a true democracy anything could happen, but only if you get the votes.

      There is evidence from the US that voters often put the candidate before the party and vote differently for congressmen and presidents. Also, Congressmen have to get re-elected every two years including half way through a presidential term (mid-terms). Slavishly following your party/president can be bad for your vote. I am convinced that any political system, should never be more than two years away from an election.

      The PM would always have to go to the Commons for money BEFORE the executive spends it, just like Obama did for his $750 billion TARP.

      I am not saying it’s a perfect system, but it just might make things seem a bit less hopeless than they do now.

  5. James
    May 6, 2009

    No need to wait for an election-just sack the whole incompedent lot now!

    1. figurewizard
      May 6, 2009

      An election is what we need now though. Even if the whole cabinet; Gordon Brown included were either to be sacked or do the right thing and fall on their swords but without holding an election, who in the Labour party could you trust to out this country back on its feet?

  6. Jon
    May 6, 2009

    Let us not forget Harriet Harman, for launching the absurd Equality Bill just when businesses really need the Government to get off their backs for a change…

  7. Peter Wilson
    May 6, 2009

    The easiest question would be who not to sack. Other contenders for the chop:

    Ed Miliband for being inept and humiliating Britain in India and having to be bailed by Mandy

    Harriet Harman for driving through what is essentially a racist and sexist bill, that will add more burdens on businesses at a time of a recession.

  8. Robert
    May 6, 2009

    Darling – economic fantasist
    Mandelson – manipulative subsidies of failing businesses
    Smith – totalitarian approach to Home Affairs
    Harman – court of public opinion (i.e. raising the mob)

  9. mikestallard
    May 6, 2009

    I would like to see Peter Mandelson come out of the closet and become what he has always been – a Conservative.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      May 6, 2009

      He is a Heathite exponent of Butskillism at best! That is not a conservative as I understand it

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    May 6, 2009

    We are spoilt for choice but the greatest service Brown should do for the country is to sacrifice himself today.

    May 6, 2009

    We’d like to see sacked any and every cabinet minister who takes to the airwaves to defend the indefensible.

    Like the PM himself none of them admits any shortcomings on the part of Mr Brown or in government policy when we know they must be suffering extreme doubts on both issues. (surely even Labour ministers have a modicum of common sense!)
    The character trait is known as hypocrisy, one that should exclude anyone from high office when demonstarted to this indefensible degree.

    It will be fascinating watching the revelations, excuses and apologies made by the same people once they all get toppled next year and are struggling for credibility and new jobs!

    As a sub-group for the chop could we include any Labourite who has the effrontery to refer back to pre-1997 in justification of the fine mess Labour has got us all into!

      May 6, 2009

      An interesting blog picked up today.
      We wonder if there could be something in this as the poor chap does seem even further removed from reality than ever and way below par…

      Gordon Brown is ill. Note ‘tremor of intention’ of his hand during recent PMQ’s. Note also recent-ish (and getting steadily worse) mood swings. His terror of unfamiliar intellectual ‘territory’ is also characteristic. I’m afraid his facial expressions (lack of) also fit in. (words left out)They will be trying to get his meds ‘sorted’. He needs care in a stress-free environment. He really must be helped – and so must the rest of us. Sadly, leaving him in situ will be disastrous.

      On a lighter note we rather liked this one too!…

      Politicians are like bananas – they both start out green, eventually turn yellow but both never grow straight

      We have the biggest, curliest and brightest yellow bunch in power today! Time for them to be consigned to the compost heap!

  12. james barr
    May 6, 2009

    John, has there ever been a less competent cabinet?

    They speak in sound-bites since honest, analytical debate is beyond their skill base.

    They confuse spending with investment.

    They lie, leak and trail.

    They only resign when there is no chance of returning their trousers to the “waistband position”.

    They employ tax payer funded (personnel-ed) to smear their own, civil servants and opposition politicians, and expect us to accept they are people of integrity.

    They paint the Tories as xenophobes and once the election is won say that immigration is out of control.

    They subvert the independence of the civil service through the use of special advisors who enjoy civil servant status but practice with none of their supposed neutrality.

    They take us to war on a tissue of lies. Only the late Robin Cook had the principle to resign. The rest rolled over without a whisper of concern.

    They promise a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty then renege on their commitment.

    They are so weak they complain about the PM through articles in the press. Once their thoughts go public they retract and say they didn’t mean what they said. Spineless.

    They waste our money on a catastrophic scale and expect to retain our confidence.

    The promotion of Jacqui Smith to one of the highest offices in the land is the clearest example of Labour incompetence.

    My mind is made up. The New Labour fantasy is over. It was never more than a mirage. A world of endless milk and honey. Well, the honeypot is now empty and the bees and cows are on strike. The party is over and the tax payer is left with a monumental bill.

    It’s now up to the electorate to sack the lot of them. It cannot happen soon enough.

  13. Helene
    May 6, 2009

    There is not a single member of the current cabinet to whom would give shelf space. They all colluded, through commission or omission, in the current parlous state in which we find ourselves. They deserve to go out of office in ignomy and to remain an object lesson to future generations of what happens when incompetents and the serially greedy attain high office. It makes me ashamed to be a citizen of this country, and desperately sorry for the future of my children and all the young people of this country. They will be paying off the burdens these politicians have colluded in creating for generations to come.

  14. yellowbelly
    May 6, 2009

    Geoff Hoon, for reasons too numerous to mention, but right at the top of the list would be for his betrayal of our armed forces, and his crass comment that Iraqi mothers would one day be thankful that coalition forces were blowing up their children.

    I paraphrase but I cannot be bothered to do him the service of researching his exact quote, spent too much time on him already, now I must go and have a shower!

  15. Richard Parsonson
    May 6, 2009

    Brown. Discussion of anyone else is beating about the bush. He will unquestionably go down the most over-rated Chancellor in history – and one who benefited enormously until very recently from a completely supine media. Did anyone ever hear Brown interviewed effectively on the subject of the economy? Anyone reading this site who hasn’t already done so should sign the petition to get rid of him at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/B22xHYCtDW2BB6sSfPACThs

  16. adam
    May 6, 2009

    jack straw

    Also we seem to be in the business of banning people from the country if their views are offensive and i can think of a few labour politicos whose views or activities i find offensive. So, hey, why stop at the sack.

    1. SJB
      May 6, 2009

      Jack Straw has held four key posts: Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Leader of the House of Commons, and Lord Chancellor. He seems to have an uncanny ability to survive without apparently achieving anything.

      1. adam
        May 7, 2009

        (Adverse comments opn Mr Straw’s views, chronicled below)

        Jack Straw: The English had used their “propensity to violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland”

        The English are “potentially very aggressive, very violent” and will “increasingly articulate their Englishness following devolution.”

        A proud representative of Blackburn

  17. steve
    May 6, 2009

    Jacquie Smith – the most illiberal home secretary in quite some time

  18. Josh
    May 6, 2009

    Ed Balls. How can such a highly qualified and intelligent man become one of the principal architects of the chaos that has fell upon this country. He has degrees from Oxford and Harvard, and yet he still encouraged the belief that Brown abolished boom and bust. He should also be sacked because he dosen’t show any enthusiasm for his brief. The education and safety of children is of paramount important, and the Secretary of State responsible for it should be accorded a great deal of respect. Michael Gove on the other hand has developed several very good and very detailed policies, and you can tell he has a passion for his brief.

    I would sack Smith for gross incompetence. She has no experience for the job of Home Secretary. She only has the job because she is a woman and Brown believes in social engineering. Somebody hoping to become Home Secretary should have experience in law, or some other analytical area. Jacqui Smith was a teacher. That is not sufficient experience to hold one of the Great Offices of State.

    Geoff Hoon, for simply being Geoff Hoon.
    Tony McNulty for one of the most audacious con tricks I’ve seen in parliament.
    And finally Gordon Brown for single handedly destroying the country without even having the decency to seek a mandate before he started

  19. MartinW
    May 6, 2009

    Jack Straw – for effectively removing any and all curbs on immigration, illegal or otherwise as a matter of policy.

  20. Denis Cooper
    May 6, 2009

    Call me a hardline national democrat if you like, but it seems to me that if an MP willingly votes against the legislative supremacy of his own Parliament, our national Parliament, then he or she is unfit to be in that Parliament.

    So if their constituents agreed with that, 382 MPs would be out straight away, Division 120 here:


    including the two mentioned above, Mr and Mrs Balls, plus one Conservative:

    “Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth”.

    Of course some of them could plead that they acted under duress from their party whips.

    Only 49 MPs would definitely escape this purge – one Liberal Democrat having voted both for, and against, the amendment, which is allowed but which does suggest some mental confusion about where his loyalty lies – while the remaining 200 odd MPs who abstained would have some hard questions to answer.

    Come the next general election, and I’ll certainly be seeking an opportunity to ask my own MP why she thinks I should vote for her return to Parliament, when she was offered the opportunity to show her commitment to its legal supremacy but declined to do so, apparently preferring to kow-tow to the EU’s Court of Justice.

  21. Robin
    May 6, 2009

    As my friend said, who never reads the newspapers or follows politics.

    “That lot won’t get in again.”

    Which pretty much summarises the situation.

  22. Lola
    May 6, 2009

    Put it the other way around, who would you keep? Frank Field, Charles Clarke and …erm….ahh….erm

  23. Stuart Fairney
    May 6, 2009

    A rather nice illustration of cabinet crass incompetence is this.

    If you owned say a McDonalds franchise, who amongst the current cabinet would you employ as the manager?

    If you ran a manufacturing business, who would you employ as production director?

    If you ran a car sales franchise, who would be your sales director?

    If you ran a private school, who would you employ as the headmaster?

    I honestly cannot think of one of this lot I would employ, (save perhaps Caroline Flint as bizzarely, I find her really attractive in a ‘Lady Macbeth’ sort of way ~ I know, but it’s my secret shame!)

    1. a-tracy
      May 7, 2009

      McDonalds – Geraldine Williams (I really like her straight talk)
      Manuf Bus – Frank Field
      Car sales franchise – Peter Mandelson
      Private School – Kate Hoey

      1. Stuart Fairney
        May 7, 2009

        I didn’t know GW, but following a quick google search, believe her to be a sometime rebel backbencher ~ is this the one?

        Frank Field is worth listening to, especially on welfare, but when Blair sacked him early on and from memory put Harman in the no1 spot in that particular ministry, you knew Labour weren’t serious about social security reform, and we now have the proof of that.

        I could see Mandy as a used car salesman in all fairness and he is the one of the list who is more or less in the government.

        Kate Hoey is an intelligent and honest woman with a quite delightful brogue. She has now surely realised that she is in the wrong party.

        1. a-tracy
          May 7, 2009

          Oops it’s Geraldine Smith, I don’t know if she’s a rebel but she represents Morecambe.

          From first glance I hadn’t realised you’d asked for cabinet ministers:

          Jacqui Smith is in the wrong job and inspires no confidence, she looks like she’s about to cry in every interview where her department is critiqued. However, she could possibly head up your private school based on her past work experience and ambition. Alan Johnson seems the only one who’d get his hands dirty and get stuck in so a McDonalds franchise would probably be safe in his hands. Mandelson is perfect for sales. Manufacturing – difficult, Labour like to talk about the Conservatives wrecking manufacturing in the UK but is there a private sector job creator amongst them? I doubt it, they’d prefer to spend other peoples money and plan budgets rather than take a risk and get stuck in.

      2. Stuart Fairney
        May 7, 2009

        Yes, but think about the full implications of that…

        Being a gentleman prevents me from making my point more explicitly.

  24. Renee
    May 6, 2009

    Sky News reported about 2 weeks back that businesses would sack Alice Darling if he were their Finance Director.

    Harriet Harman – she is a destructive, micro-managing, burdensome (words left out). She should be removed from public office – Immediately!

    Hazel Blears in the labour party is only an asset to the Conservatives. She kills Labour just by attendance alone. Why is she in politics again?

    Jaqui Smith – ah yes, the bath plugging, porn (hiring-ed), wacko. Letting every tom, dick and harry into the country and then wondering why we have no money!

    Miliband – the high-flyer wannabe hiring private jets. I cannot stress enough how he is just self-indulging in his own self-importance. No-one would bat an eyelid if this (man-ed) was hanging around in Heathrow to catch a plane so he really should get over himself. Better still, just go away!

    Pola Uddin – the Labour Peer who has 2 homes. Been caught in the act and is utterly shameless. Sack her! (All Blair’s fault for bringing her into our lives)

    Above all of them – Gordon Brown should go for reasons which are too long and time consuming to cover, but everyone knows why! Just Google it.

  25. Tim
    May 6, 2009

    Harriet harman – Blair was right when he fired her first time. Useless

    Jackie Smith – out of her depth but without the integrity or shame to realise it

    Gordon Brown – enough said

    Yvette Cooper / Alistair Darling – not up to the job – politicising forecasts, getting it wrong comprehensively. No shame

    There’s too many to choose from. Oh, all right, THE WHOLE DAMN LOT.

  26. tim holden
    May 6, 2009

    None of them deserve a high level of office. Perhaps the more penetrating question should be: Were you to own a sweet shop, which of them would you trust to be responsible for the till?

  27. TomTom
    May 6, 2009

    Ed “Martin” Balls is a complete disaster married to another utter disaster. They really are third-raters devoid of anything save having been journalists – the Cooper, Balls, Kelly route to politics.

    It really does look as if Labour died with Kinnock trying to revive it only for Mandelson and Blair to tart up the corpse and use the cadaver as a prop to seize power in a sort of Frankfurt School Marxist Coup….and without Blair to front the show the rotten corpse began to stink and nothing Brown can do will stop the decomposition.

    If there is a Labour Party outside the tribal homelands of Scotland in five years time it will be surprising.

  28. DiscoveredJoys
    May 6, 2009

    I find myself in a bit of a quandry. Leaving aside Gordon Brown as a special case, the group of people in the Cabinet (past and present) I find most objectionable are the female ministers.

    I don’t know why this should be. I have respected past female MPs, Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister, Labour or Conservative. The best boss I ever worked for was a woman . Yet this bunch (in my opinion)….

    Harriet Harman, (word left out) – has supped deep from the wells of socialism and feminism
    Jacqui Smith, out of her depth
    Hazel Blears, hypocrite and sychophant
    Yvette Cooper, incompetent cipher
    Margaret Beckett, incompetent
    Patricia Hewitt (former Secretary for Health), patronising – but so little to be patronising about… (no longer a Minister-ed)

    My suspicion is that, just as the men have been selected carefully to cast no shadow over the glorious leader, the women have been selected to follow, and not to provide leadership. This, coupled with a socialist party line based on envy, results in a toxic line up.

    1. barton
      May 8, 2009

      DiscoveredJoys Agree with you . They are perhaps the best argument against quotas ,and have ably demonstrated how shallow the pool is.
      Come on! somewomen Let’s b avin ya! Restore the faithin your gender.
      When Blair first revealed his women portfolio holders, the press dubbed them BLAiRS BABES . The feminist instinct amongst them raged against this percieved slight.
      I THINK THE PRESS WAS WRONG,…(unflattering words left out-ed) Real Babes should have been offended.

  29. Chuck Unsworth
    May 6, 2009

    “Who would you sack for disloyalty and incompetence?”. Well, where does one start?

    But there is the question ‘loyalty – to whom or to what?’.

    Loyalty, per se, is not necessarily a virtue – but it is a price which one has to pay if one is beholden to others. In the case of these sycophants it is loyalty to Brown which matters.

    So, what about loyalty to their country, their fellow man, even their electorates? In the end the only loyalty which these people have is a feral loyalty to themselves and their own interests.

  30. BlueArsedFly
    May 6, 2009

    Why Yvette? I’ve got a real schoolboy crush on her! She makes me dribble.

  31. AndyC
    May 7, 2009

    The only one I wouldn’t sack with immediate effect is maybe Alan Johnson. The NHS is a Frankenstein’s monster, but his management of it has come over as reasonable and calm. Or maybe he’s just good at keeping his head down.

    All the others, from the PM down, are a disgrace to their respective offices. I’m an uneasy monarchist, but were the Queen to sack the lot tomorrow and force an election, you know, I’d applaud that. That’s how far we’ve come this past decade or so.

Comments are closed.