In what other walk of life would a boss re-arrange his managers just as they were getting to grips with their brief? We are being sold that this is the action of a determined PM who wants to kick start the economy. What tripe.
There are many levels to this issue.
Patronage. One of the principal ways a PM keeps the bulk of his party onside is the prospect of offering a position on the greasy pole. My MP, to his great credit, announced before the election that his ambition was to be a good constituency MP and that he had no interest in a ministerial position. What a terrifically liberating position to hold. The Whips hold little fear or leverage and the interests of constituents are placed above those of the party. He has already rebelled on several issues. Unfortunately most of his colleagues behave like dogs begging for crumbs at their masters table.
Patronage in a Coalition. Much more complicated with delicate balancing of politics and competence, a word not commonly associated with this administration.
Presentation. The reshuffle is always presented as a positive event. We are told it will produce a dynamic team to sort out our problems. Anyone with a grey cell will see this for the nonsense it is.
Internal party dynamics. My MP apart, a handful of the craven lickspittles who dominate our politics will have their ambitions realised and be happy or they will be passed over and immediately begin stirring up trouble. Ex-Ministers are usually a source of discontent too.
At some point the number of malcontents reaches a critical mass and the PM’s position becomes untenable.
Relations with the Civil Service. Why should senior civil servants be too concerned at the policies and plans of incoming Ministers? From experience they know that another one will be along soon.
Managing a large department. Health, Defence, Work and Pensions, Education etc are all vast departments with huge numbers of staff working directly for the department plus many thousands more who come under their remit. Swanning in and then swanning off again does little for real progress and development. Defence procurement is a mess not just through incompetence but also from practices which border on the corrupt. Ministers dreaming up ‘initiatives’ to make their mark. The Home Department is beset by so many problems that the incumbent minister is usually relieved to switch to somewhere else asap but it does little to make it work.
Quality. Replacing one set of incompetent ideologues with another set of incompetent ideologues makes no sense. Kicking one millionaire into the long grass and replacing them with another affluent toff does little to reach out to those struggling to make ends meet.
This particular government is extremely incompetent, arrogant and clueless. They are responsible for horrible attacks on the poorest and weakest in our society. They have destroyed our National Health service. They are in the process of doing the same to our education sector. They are wedded to PR which is not a surprise when that is the only experience ‘Call Me Dave’ has ever had outside the bubble.
No matter how hard Cameron tries to portray this reshuffle as a brave new world he has to face facts.
You cannot polish a turd