The hope and despair of waiting for that reshuffle call

 

Reshuffle or not, it is "business as usual" at the Wales Office, the Whitehall department that represents Wales in the UK government.

Secretary of State Cheryl Gillan has cast aside the speculation over her own future to spend a normal Monday in Cardiff meeting officials and politicians.

She has "bilaterals", as they are known in the trade, with, among others, the leader of the Conservatives in the National Assembly, Andrew RT Davies, and the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams.

Her deputy, David Jones, one of those tipped to succeed her, has other duties today. In his role as an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, he is welcoming visitors to the equestrian events at Greenwich. (Mrs Gillan handed out bouquets to athletics medallists yesterday)

Back at Westminster, it is also business as usual as MPs return from their summer break. As I write, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is making a statement on "House of Lords reform - or what's left of it" (his words).

For those hopeful of advancement, the days leading up to a reshuffle can be a stressful time. As John Cleese's character in Clockwise put it: "I can take the despair, it's the hope I can't stand".

Those with the broadest smiles are those, as one of them put it to me, "without a call in hell's chance of promotion".

They have discounted the despair and disappointment that comes with thwarted ambition. They know what they will be doing this time tomorrow and remain in control of their diaries and lives, despite the absence of a ministerial car. They can turn their mobiles off.

In what must be unbearable for the desperately ambitious, the human drama of the reshuffle is played out in public as journalists discuss the fate of politicians who may not be seen on TV screens again until the next reshuffle.

As Andrew Neil put in on today's Daily Politics "Nothing gets us more excited than a cabinet reshuffle: we talk about it endlessly, even though we know nothing at all".

As we talk about it endlessly, we sometimes suspend judgement on the point and impact of reshuffles - Saturday's Guardian tried to fill the gap.

Downing Street is expected to put the ambitious and the doomed out of their agony within the next 24 hours.

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 31.

    all one needs to do is take a look around the rhondda to see the problems we face as a nation.the dependency on welfare is the white elephant in the room that is quickly erroding any pride the rhonnda hasl left.We need innovators not feckless dole lovers who think they have a right to not do anything for the rest of their lives.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    who cares if the SoS for wales in welsh,english,irish or a dog.
    wales will still be same economic basket case it was when they finish.Nothing will change here,we'll still be the laughing stock of the uk and totally dependent on the english for our survival.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    It has been proven over the years that the position of Welsh Secretary of State has very little credence, particuarly with conservatives. Whilst it is not essential to be Welsh, successive ministers appointed by Tory Governments have shown little empathy for the Country. Redwood even loathed coming to Wales.How can Tories with Unionist bias be good a thing when we now have a devolved government.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 28.

    I have argued that the SoS for Wales does not, in logic and in law, have to have any Welsh connection.
    Responders have criticised my spelling, my alleged hatred of Wales, my racism. They have suggested that 'I go back home'
    None has even attempted to justify the counter-argument.
    Should the Health Secretary be a doctor?.. the Defence Secretary have been a serving officer? the SoS-W be Welsh?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 27.

    #26 'Its Secretary! and my first language is Welsh! '
    Woodsey, if you looked, you would note that I had deliberately cut and pasted the words of #21, our old Welsh-speaking friend, MG.
    BTW, not bad for a Welsh speaker, but it should be: ' It's Secretary' That is, It is 'secretary' . Then again, MG never knows when to use the apostrophe.
    None of which answers my argument.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    Its Secretary! and my first language is Welsh! Why don't you just move over the border you'd be much happier and not so bitter.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 25.

    #24 Woodsey, MG wrote (#21) 'she's eaten a Welsh cake or holidayed in Rhyl is sufficient enough to become Welsh sectary?'
    I didn't claim greater wisdom: I claimed that Mab misunderstood the current constitutional position, whilst I accept that he wants to change it.
    Under the current system, the SoS does NOT have to have any Welsh connection whatsoever, and there are good reasons why he shouldn't

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    Wish I was as wise as Boxer The Horse. Just because people have an opinion other than Unionism stance doesn't mean they are not as wise as you and all knowing.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 23.

    Forget shuffling the deck of marked cards, let's examine the remarks of the spoiled brat. There is a considerable amount left of Lords reform, namely Lord Steele's bill, which having passed that place is now with the Commons. I'm all in favour of its main aims: kicking out the crims and the no-shows. Cue massive amendments along of the lines of Clegg's desires. Watch this space for more screwups.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 22.

    #21 Mab, to hate something effectively, you must understand it. The essence of the Unionist position (not necessarily Tory) is that a Welshman can become P.M. of GB&NI, and any M.P. can be appointed as any minister. It is no more necessary to be of Welsh origin to be SoS for Wales than it is to have been a deep-sea fisherman to become Minister of Fisheries.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 21.

    Reshuffle! What replacing one Anglo Welsh Tory lapdog for like? It's akin to re using the same old flawed mould expecting a different outcome. If it wears a blue suit, has a blue rinse, against Devolution, sounds English but says because he or she's eaten a Welsh cake or holidayed in Rhyl is sufficient enough to become Welsh sectary? Well I'll be dammed the earth is bloody flat after all!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 20.

    #12 Not for the first time, Alf, I don't understand what point you are making.
    'Not choice John when able to be chosen to play sport for country you were born in'.
    As I understand it, the child you described could play rugby for Wales under the Grandparent Rule, or could choose to move here, play for a Welsh club for three years and be capped. So, what is the problem ?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 19.

    ... "regarded as colonialists".

    ... by whom exactly, certainly not the lucid electorate of Wales.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 18.

    Wake me up when it's all over!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    As long as there is an English Secretary of State for Wales. The Tories will be regarded as colonialists. Saying that do we need a Secretary of State?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 16.

    Not me John your old friend David Davies.and MP Glyn Davies have said it would be their preference.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 15.

    ... Cheryl Gillan out, she probably ushered her own demise when she said "over my dead body" regarding the High Speed Train through her village ...

    ... she was as good as any, no-doubt you will expect some form of "Welshness" attached to her successor alf.

    ... I would prefer excellence, even if her successor were "Jedi Knight".

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    ... you seem to be perverse in your interpretation of choice, the citizenship ceremony is an expression of choice.

    In the United Kingdom a persons chosen description may include "Welsh", or "Yorkshire", or the country of birth before immigration, place of birth is indicative of the registration of that birth.

    Your nationality is an essential aspect of Nationalist politics, irrelevant otherwise.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    Thank you John that s exactly my point. My cousin who has two siblings born in Wales and are Welsh. The family emigrated to Australia. He was born on board the ship taking them under the Australian flag. He is subsequently an Australian. Registered as of Australian birth. No choice there. What about citizenship ceremonies. No choice there either.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Boxer. Goat that he may have been. We can all be eternally grateful to him for bringing in old age pensions and the Welfare State. Something which Politicians of today who are probably young goats or Kids are doing their damdest to destroy. Not choice John have a look at that child's birth certificate. Not choice John when able to be chosen to play sport for country you were born in.

 

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