A businesslike reshuffle?


Few ministerial reshuffles are political game-changers. One that keeps the top four cabinet ministers in place and does not change economic policy was always very unlikely to meet that test.

What the prime minister has done is fired and hired, like any business leader, to attempt to address some of the weaknesses.

Problem one: The NHS. Not just selling reforms already passed but - arguably much harder - achieving the efficiencies needed to execute the biggest squeeze on the NHS's finances ever seen. Jeremy Hunt is rewarded for his competence overseeing the Olympics, rather than punished for his alleged failings in handling the Murdochs.

Problem two: Economic growth. Business wants airport expansion so the transport secretary who opposed it has gone and a new not very green environment secretary is appointed, together with the man who helped build the Olympics - LOCOG chief Paul Deighton - who joins the Treasury to build the oft-promised roads, houses and other infrastructure projects.

Problem three: The cry of the Tory press that Ken Clarke is soft on crime and human rights. He is replaced by a Tory hardliner. Iain Duncan Smith was meant to be the new Justice Secretary but overnight he decided to turn down the prime minister's offer, so in stepped Chris Grayling instead.

Every solution comes, of course, with another potential problem: expectations of change in the NHS which will not be met, rows about airports which have already begun, and concern that a harder-line justice secretary could rack up the bills and upset coalition partners.

Ah, well, there's always the next reshuffle!

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Well if hes being rewarded for overseeing the olympics lets hope the NHS dont need G4S or we will need to call in the Army but if i remember rightly its NHS staff that are in TA units which are the Army's front line doctors and nurses in camp bastion oh well looks like he will call in his USA chums and their excellence in for profit health care im sure there lobbying will have no effect bwahahaha

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Soothseeker #23 - clearly you have a very selective and short memory

    BBC interviewers were EQUALLY as rude/abrupt to the last Labour Government

    I have no memories of them being any gentler with them during their years of office.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Yet again we hear of the need to "improve the efficiency" of an organisation, this time the NHS. Since 'efficiency' has no real meaning in this context I think we can take it this term is being used in the same way as it is by the City wizards, i.e. cut & sell off (quickly).
    What is actually needed is to improve the _effectiveness_ of the NHS, along with many other companies & public bodies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    #17 "Seems to me most people born before 1970 have a strange relationship with the truth, and nothing will get better until that changes."

    Almost correct. Most people as they get older think that to effect change you have to belong to a political grouping and hence make compromises. That's when the 'truth' begins to become distorted. Political parties are the main vehicle for this distortion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    23 Sooth

    As predictable as night follows day, a claim of BBC "left wing" Bias to deflect attention from this gormless government.

    If you're happy that Jeremy Hunt of all people has been given responsibility for our most important national asset, the NHS, then grow a pair and say so but don't blame the BBC, it is paaaathetic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    So Mr hunt is an expert at delivery after spending the last 2 years of a 7 year Olympic project that was already on time? I would have thought that those in charge of the first 5 years had as much to do with that success. No doubt if the project had been late that would have been attributed to those who went before. To use an Olympic metaphor only the last runner in the relay wins the race.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Anyone (and I suppose there could still be someone) who doubts that BBC news presentation is relentlessly left wing should hear tonight's Eddie Mair Radio 4 interview with Theresa May on the reshuffle.

    Mair's sneering, sniggering, hectoring interrogation, peppered with interruptions and repeated interjections between every syllable of May's attempted reply, was grotesquely rude. But typical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    It goes from bad to worse. Never thought I'd find myself saying well done IDS for making a stand against this jellyfish of a government. The absence of leadership talent and experience stands dreadfully exposed

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Love no 2 comment.

    We know that interested parties have seen a draft of what
    Leveson will say and yet Hunt gets promoted, seems Leveson was asleep when Hunt and others were giving evidence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Brings to mind words involving deckchairs and Titanic

    Why haven't they done anything to the inept econcomics team and their utterly disastrous pilicies that have yielded no improvements in growth at all and look unlikely to do so.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    In what other job could you keep your job or get promoted for being incompetent or fiddling expenses?

    George "£100,000 benefit fraudster" seems to know as much about the economy as I do (hmmmm maybe not - I know what "double dip means" and that his "plan" isnt working)

    At least they got rid of Lansley - unfortunately his wrecking of the NHS is probably irreversible

    Cant believe jeremy hunt ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Is it just me that sees the irony of a not very environment friendly environment secretary. Mind you I wouldn't trust any of them to run a bath even with an instructional DVD with subtitles and a manual in large print.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Fed up with simplistic left vs right twaddle.

    Each issue should be judged individually. I would be considered far right on some issues and far left on others.

    Roll on the days when my generation (I'm 30) are in power. Seems to me most people born before 1970 have a strange relationship with the truth, and nothing will get better until that changes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Those Tories! They elect Cameron because they think modern elections can only be won from the centre, and then relentlessly pressurise him into moving to the right. Strikes me as terribly unthinking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Jeremy Hunt is rewarded for his competence overseeing the Olympics, rather than punished for his alleged failings in handling the Murdochs.

    I trust that he will be able to grasp his brief and not forget or will be unable to recall so many things as he did when addressing the Leveson enquiry.

    Still, you can count on his loyalty and be sure that he will carry the can if things go wrong. Idiot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    4 If you think the plan is to fix the NHS and everything wonderful then think again.
    The plan is to make it so appalling that when it is finally proposed to cut it to pieces, privatise the lot and shift to an insurance based system the general public mood will welcome it with open arms. I had expected this to be a 2nd term item. Load up on private health group shares now before the rush.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Cameron, May Gove Hunt etc could play that famous Kenny Everitt role .. Cupid Stunt!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Just to echo Bob's thoughts, comment number 2 from brij92 sums it up perfectly. Shame on them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    1. Jezza can rely on NI for positive PR, during any unpleasant media coverage over NHS reforms.

    2. A new runway at Heathrow will do little to solve the gov't or economy's ills. Can Deighton navigate Whitehall?

    3. Grayling's appointment could cause more problems than it solves; conflict with coalition, judiciary, civil service & Treasury etc.

    There may be a General Election b4 next reshuffle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    I'd like to say something positive I really would.

    Fact I'm determined to.

    Just give me a few days.


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