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Sunday 2 September 2012

Grant Shapps – Don’t Do It Dave

There is, it is generally agreed, a cabinet reshuffle about to take place, and it is therefore assumed that Young Dave has made his decisions as to who should be promoted, who should remain where they are, and who should bow out as gracefully as is possible at such occasions. And there has been the occasional instance of someone jumping the gun.

Think twice before promoting this man. Then don't

Yes, despite there not having been any announcement as yet, at least one hopeful has already promoted Himself Personally Now: step forward Housing Minister Grant Shapps, who has let it be known that he will be replacing Sayeeda Warsi as chairman of the Tory Party. This has come as a surprise to many, especially those of us who are well aware of Shapps’ lack of clarity and candour.

Shapps enthusiastically backed the recent moderately batshit “report” by the increasingly wayward Policy Exchange, formerly Cameron’s favourite think tank until Tim Leunig went totally gaga and suggested that Liverpool should be closed down and all its inhabitants shipped to somewhere rather nearer London. Even a Tory PM could not stretch to that one.

He didn't do that manually

The “report” so keenly supported by Shapps suggested that, in areas where social housing is present but the average property price is higher than, well, average, the tenants should be cleared out so that the properties could be flogged off. The money thus earned would pay for more housing, but it couldn’t be located in the same area. It would mean shipping folks out to less well off areas.

That this would result in ghettoisation and place transport networks under far more strain than at present was not allowed to enter. Such is the selective costing of those who call themselves free market adherents: they are free to ignore parts of that market in order to get the result they want. But the main reason Cameron would do well not to appoint Shapps is rather more basic.

And that involves his deceit and dishonesty over his use of Twitter. Shapps has had it put to him that he uses some kind of automatic process to follow large numbers of accounts in order to get them to follow him back, then unfollowing yet larger numbers to keep the number of accounts followed fairly constant, while seeing his following steadily grow through the 50,000 mark.

Shapps claims he makes those decisions individually. So perhaps he can explain how he followed, between August 27 and 30, an additional 217, 704 and 176 accounts, and then over the next three days unfollowed 679, 629 and 223 accounts, while holding down his job and additionally briefing parts of the media about the promotion that was to be bestowed on Himself Personally Now.

If he can’t come clean on Twitter, what else might there be? Caveat Emptor, Dave!

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