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 2.

    JEREMY HUNT PROMOTED! Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone....

    On any sane basis of honour, or integrity, let alone competence Hunt should be removed from office. But to promote him, put him in charge of the NHS after the evidence of the last two years? If Mr Cameron could choose one single act to confirm the ethical vacuum at the very heart of his government then he has chosen very well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Jeremy hunt .... alleged "lying" to parliament, not declaring payments he received from business, cosying up with the murdochs to deliver BSkyB to them on a plate ... possibly breaking the ministerial code??

    He must have some juicy dirt on cameron ... either that or he will become the biggest scape-goat in history for the sabotaging of the NHS

  • 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 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 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.


Comments 5 of 149



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