6 Jan 2018 at 09:56
Now that the season of goodwill is over there is not a better time to start bayoneting the wounded. It’s reshuffle time. Whoop!! As an old hack, let me tell you the terrible truth about the process. None of the press have a clue about whose crawling up the ladder or sliding down the snake. It’s all guess work, rumour, misdirection and a bit of luck. As Number 10 was leaking last week that a reshuffle was likely to happen it will probably be starting today. Very few people will be in the loop. Jeremy Heywood, Gavin Barwell, probably Damien Green (yes, I know, but there is nothing to stop him privately advising May) and perhaps Spider Boy. I haven’t mentioned the chief whip because he might be for the chop or a move. Poor Julian hasn’t been a success. Losing a vote is not the end of the world, but the way he treated Charlie Elphicke, who still doesn’t know what he is accused of, was incompetence tinged with the despicable. McVey would be much more effective.
So let’s go down the road of who is seriously crap and ought to go. Let’s start with Bozo. Psychotically ambitious, lazy as a toad, as trustworthy as an Algerian brothel keeper and as much use to further British interests abroad as a cat flap in a submarine. Which means he will probably stay. There is much talk of giving him a big role in Brexit but it would be like making Harold Shipman minister for patient care.
Andrea Loathesome. So terminally dim that it’s hard to imagine her being able to walk and talk simultaneously. But clearly not as dim as the sixty odd (very odd) MPs who voted for her as leader. She has no power base, so give her a DBE and tell her to fuck off.
Chris Grayling. The Turner Prize of Ministers in that everyone wonders what he is there for. He has that rare gift of being able to wreak havoc and mayhem in every department he has, ahem, ‘run’. A man with ideas above his station, if only he could find one whiched was manned. Easy to get rid of. Time to give him a one way ticket to Epsom. Except you can’t as he has totally screwed up the railways.
Philip Hammond. Despised by everyone except, perhaps, Mrs Hammond. Hopeless at the Foreign Office and dangerous at Defence. Spider Boy watches with horror as the sky blackens with Hammond chickens coming home to roost. To be honest, I had high hopes for him at the Treasury, but he has Van Gogh’s ear for political intelligence, has seriously angered the Brexiteers and lost the confidence of May a long time ago. A mortal alignment. He really should be shown the door as there is a lingering fear, since his suicidal plan to raise national insurance for the self employed, that he will seriously fuck up. And his replacement? You are now going to think that I have gone mad. Michael Gove. Yes, I know that he is slightly bonkers about the EU and the Middle East, but nobody can deny that he is probably the most effective minister in a generation. Every department that he has run has been a success. It would be a bold move, but it would send the right signals and show that May really is back in the driving seat. To her credit she has been remarkably resilient. Very few people would have the courage and inner strength to soldier on as she has done. And much credit to Barwell for keeping the circus on the road with the minimum interference from the clowns.
The rest I don’t really care about. However, there are two names who should be in the frame for cabinet. Matt Hancock, cerebral, charming, and as good on the box as at the box. And Dominic Raab. Yes, I know he has some barking views on Brexit, but nobody can deny his ability, mastery of a brief and effectiveness with the media.
Jeremy Hunt really needs to be relieved of his heroic stint at Health. He is much underestimated. A genuinely nice guy who really does care. His response the the Crisis at Christmas, which has happened every year since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, was appropriate and masterful. He could be first minister (if she bothers to keep the title, which I doubt) in a coordination role or chairman of the party. He has appeased the Brexiteers and has a safe pair of hands. In every respect. He is one of the few people who could unite a bitterly divided party. And if you want a really good deputy chairman look no further than Kemi Badenoch the new member for Saffron Walden. Not because she is a woman and black, but because she has both charm and ability. Rare qualities nowadays.
Now for a wild card. Why not make Moggy leader of the House? Well, ok, there is a musty old library of reasons not to, but…….the splendid Patrick Kidd of the Times, who can produce the most brilliant and amusing copy out of thin air (or the space between Loathesome’s ears) would be as happy as a pig in shit. The sheer joy of business questions. The Latin. The long words. This boy has earned his pin stripes. And it will really piss off Bozo. But this has as much chance of happening as Toby Young being made Party Chairman. Oh, God don’t give them ideas