So the reshuffle is done. Young Dave has supposedly refreshed his team. So what of the new or promoted faces at the cabinet table? What do they tell us about the Coalition, and indeed its credibility, as the next election draws inexorably nearer and the poll ratings remain dire, with no prospect of an Argentinian get-out clause? It’s not good for Tories who live in the real world.
Take Jeremy Hunt, for a start. Anywhere. So the one with the swivel eyed look has gone to Health. Does Rupert Murdoch have a health care company in his portfolio? Jezza’s pal has had plenty to say on the subject, especially in the USA, but nothing in the UK yet. That may change, or perhaps Hunt will soon be seen schmoozing Richard Branson. And Hunt famously called the NHS “a 60 year old mistake”.
Then there’s Chris Grayling on his way to being Justice Secretary. He isn’t a lawyer. His first degree is in History and much of his career before politics was in broadcast media. Does anyone sense an impending car crash here? You need some substance to underpin the spin. Otherwise you’re fer ... fer ... fer ... fer... finished.
And get this: Michael “Oiky” Gove and Iain Duncan Cough stay in post because Cameron wants these “strong reformers” to carry on their work. Yeah, right. Gove has spun and gobbed off at length but has actually done nothing (yet). And IDS’s reign at the DWP has been marked by shedloads of dodgy statistics.
Owen Paterson becomes the Environment Secretary. Who he? Another who read history, Paterson actually has sound business experience. But what’s this, for a Government that was going to be the “greenest ever”? Anti wind farm and solar power, pro aviation expansion, pro shale gas expansion, and his brother in law is climate sceptic Matt Ridley. Harry says marvellous.
But the icing on the cake just has to be Grant Shapps being made Tory Party chairman. Shapps’ dishonesty about his Twitter followings and unfollowings is only the start, as the serially tenacious Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads has revealed today: Shapps has been operating a whole platoon of sock puppets, from Michael Green to Chuck Champion (I kid you not).
That is on top of the further revelations in the Guardian at the weekend about Shapps’ less than ethical money-spinning wheezes. And, whisper it quietly, there is at least one further Shapps fun story to come. This reshuffle will thrill some on the right, but the propensity for gaffes and straightforward stupidity has been massively increased. This will bring one beneficiary, and that isn’t the Tories.
Right now, Mil The Younger, “Auguste” Balls, and the rest of the Labour front bench are arranging a celebration of the day when Cameron and his party lost the plot.