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 149.

    113. jo

    If we have an election now who the hell would we vote for?

    That's it!

    Roger Daltrey & Pete Townsend.

    Couldn't do any worse than the politicians.

    There must be an opening for a "Rock'n'Roll Party"

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    There are aprox 6.5 million trade union members in the UK
    Of the 58 unions in the TUC, only 15 are Labour-affiliated
    A Populus poll in 2009 showed that a third of Unite members intended to vote Conservative at the general election (im sure that number is through the floor now).

    Now the Tories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.


    Trust you to go off topic. Nothing hypocritical about what I say, Im consistent. I dont trust Labour or their hyperbole or their exaggerations. My job in Belgium was not for an EU institution but for a much bigger organisation than that. If you're on about funding, the unions have got your party by the danglies, mate. Doesnt do much for your "demographic"... Arf!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Absolutely nothing on the Northern Ireland change. There is a substantial risk that now we have a government mechanism, London based commentators will ignore what is going on. Paterson started the debate on corporation tax being lowered to the rate in Ireland as a means of stimulating economic growth. Second, we have government by mutual veto so there is no challenge to sectarianism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    142. steve
    Even more interesting than that (and hilariously hypocritical) is that you spend your life criticising the labour party across a variety of blog sites ( with hypocrisy as your main critique) and yet you yourself fervently support UKIP knowing that you took a job in Belgium (thanks to European law/union) in order to earn more £.
    Could your position be more ridiculous.... lmao.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    142. Steve_M-H
    Absolutely a bigger demographic. You only have to look who funds the parties to see that. Also a much bigger demographic than the rabble you support, UKIP. Interesting to note your party is funded by the institution it wants to leave. Also interesting note how your party operates.... http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/apr/20/ukip-meps-misused-eu-allowances

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    John_from_Hendon @64
    "This reality…
    MUST be understood"

    But John, "the economy" you wish to see "working again", never was 'fit for purpose', not for 'democratic purpose'

    It is from lack of genuine Equal Democracy - Full Employment & Stable Demand -that 'the economy' of yesterday dictated 'the economy' of today

    "Dictated", John: in Conflict of Interest

    Your say needs to be Amongst Equals

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.


    Labour represents a bigger demographic?


    Is that why you all had to turn into plastic tories for the best part of two decades so that you could win more than one election on the bounce, unlike any time in your history? You know, that recent past that you're all trying to run away from and deny ever happened? You all did it because you were soooooo Labour through and through? LMAO!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    We also now have an exam system where you cannot compare year on year.

    As an employer I could now appoint someone with a lower raw mark that someone the following year because they have a higher grade solely due to the rebasing of the grade boundaries. Are we going to have to state the year we got our grades now - "I got a 2012 B grade". Ridiculous!

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    How on earth did Michael Gove keep his role?

    He is getting rid of a highly effective system for one that sees kids learning facts like the Kings and Queens. We are going to be left with a generation that have no skills to do jobs, but are going to be great a general knowledge quizs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.


    You asking anyone to get a grip on reality mate, with your hyperbolic posts, is truly the pot calling the kettle noir..... :o))))

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    129. Socialist Apocalypse
    I don’t know what your bedtime reading is, but I would suggest you would get a better idea of reality if you went to the next branch meeting of your local labour party and meet members. I assume you are also aware of the recent work being done within the labour party to support and bring through working class labour Mps?

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    132. AndyC555
    Its a shame you obviously know nothing bout how local politics works and how more and more power is being devolved to local councils. And your comparison between labour and conservative is a sham. Not because labour hasn’t got some rich mps but because in general, labour is represented by and represents a far greater demographic of the population than the tories

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    No129 Socialist,
    Socialists in the Labour Party? That would be an interesting study.
    Don't be so ridiculous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Now let's see if Cameron is willing to face down Boris Johnson over Heathrow. That airport needs expanding (albeit with public transport to minimise road traffic growth). I live in Clapham and previously in south Bucks, so know aircraft noise, but also know it is no coincidence that west London and the Thames Valley have many business headquarters based in the area, bringing wealth and prosperity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    bring in bob the builder,he will really fix it,its time uk independance,was given the support it needs by the people of this country,we do not need the eu to govern us anymore,we can be very succesfull on our own,we dont need to keep paying membership fees to the eu,we can use that money far more wisely to rebuild our country,and start showing what we can really do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    #127 your chums in governement from 97-2010 undermined the working class votes with there open door imigration policy thta has let nearly 4,000,000 people into the UK and left 5,000,000 to 8,000,000 on benifits and in hock to them, as trukeys will not vote for christmas, sujjest you form your own party away form the champagne socialist at the top

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.


    So? Steve's point is about what you get when you vote for a Labour government. Were Blair, Brown, Mandleson 'grass roots' Labour'? They were the Labour government. They bankrupted the country but are now millionaires

    Now? Well-off faux socialist Oxford/LSE educated Miliband is your leader. The 'grass roots' will never form a Labour government. You're their gullible patsies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    No101 Steve MS
    There is likely to be a massive shift of Tory votes to UKIP at the next election particularly in the South East.
    In view of the fact that Farage has just been feted by 'City' spivs and speculators, even awarded a 'prize', would it be wise to make that voting change?

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    despite all the changes that have taken place,nothing will change.
    they will still be trying to convince the general public that they can solve the problems,they just dont achieve anything,our country is just managed by whatever political party on behalf of the e.u.
    we need real people in charge,and not the upper class with university degrees,we are not all in it together,we are,they are not.


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