Coffee House

Reshuffle 2014: Cameron’s key challenges

14 July 2014

8:50 AM

14 July 2014

8:50 AM

What does David Cameron need his reshuffle to do? As has been the case with every reshuffle in this Parliament, the changing of the guard, which is expected to start later today (Coffee House will have a liveblog full of the action and gossip when it all kicks off), is being billed as a ‘reshuffle of the women’. But as I explained in my post last night about the Prime Minister considering voluntary all-women shortlists, even the incredibly talented crop of female Conservative MPs can’t stop Labour billing any shuffle as a disappointment for women, which it is ready doing before any jobs have changed hands.

Cameron also needs to shore up his relations with the Eurosceptic right wing of his party. These are good at the moment but one of the PM’s flaws is a tendency to complacency: like a man who bought his wife a bouquet of carnations from the petrol station for Valentine’s Day, he can wrongly assume that very minimal efforts are sufficient to keep his backbench happy. Some rumblings last week over the European Arrest Warrant should remind him that he does not have the undying loyalty of his colleagues. Therefore any pruning of the Right from the ministerial ranks needs to be approached on a similar basis to the ‘woman problem’ so that party management doesn’t become a problem. Liam Fox, already positioning himself as a possible leader of the ‘Out’ camp on the 2017 referendum, is tipped to return for this very reason. Promoting Priti Patel would solve both the public women problem and the private party management challenge.


Finally, Cameron does not need to complicate party management further by creating another Tim Loughton situation in which a minister, surprised and furious at getting the chop , goes rogue. There is less sympathy for rabble-rousers on the backbenches this side of an election. But that won’t stop someone creating all the wrong sorts of headlines about the ‘truth about Cameron’s government’ if they wish.

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Show comments
  • evad666

    As a member of the electorate I would prefer just to have some vaguely competent people in Government irrespective of age, class, gender or race.

    As to their political bias I expect them to do their job.

    If you get the chance watch Sally Bundock and Naga Muchetty doing the paper reviews. Intelligent questions and discussions.

    The BBC needs to stop restyling Louise Minchin and Steph McGovern both are capable and highly competent.

    These four ladies are not eye candy and should not be treated as such.

  • evad666

    Will Cameron be being moved?

  • cambridgeelephant

    ‘they want to look like they have the team in place to govern for another five years.’

    And part of the problem – is it not ! – is that the have NOT been governing for the last five years, given how much thee Lib tail has wagged the Tory dog.

  • alabenn

    Everyone seems to be avoiding the obvious reasons for lack of women in top positions throughout the country.
    There are not enough good candidates, capable women leaders are the exception rather than the rule.
    The industries and organisations that are majority staffed by females are dead or dying, literally in the NHS,, they have not shown, except for very rare occasions in history, an aptitude for efficient leadership.
    That parliament is stuffed with men who are barely able to exist as capable men let alone leaders is down to the fact that they are chasing voters for their votes as opposed to leading.
    Labours last government had self its imposed quota of women, it was the most disastrous government ever, now because of pressure for quotas Cameron is heading down the same path.
    Government by quota will worse than most people could imagine , the 13 years of Labour give you an inkling of what is to come.

    • Conway

      Cameron is truly the heir to Blair.

  • Amir
  • Alexsandr

    why dont they just play musical chairs at the next cabinet meeting. loser goes back to the back benches.
    seriously, this is of little relevance to anyone. they are all untrusted.

  • Colonel Mustard
  • HookesLaw

    Gosh – reshuffles can be tricky! Who would have thought it.

  • Frank

    Gosh, we will be blessed to have that strange creature Liam Fox back in the cabinet (plus all the women solely appointed because of their gender). Yes indeed, all these changes will be bound to secure victory in the next general election.

    • Alexsandr

      adam werrity???

  • Winston Burchill

    I just can’t escape people talking about this! People everywhere I go are discussing this reshuffle! It’s even bigger than the X Factor.

  • swatnan

    Nothing wrong with a bit of Window Dressing. Makes the goods look a bit more attractive. More Women and More BAME; less Male Pale and Stale.

    • HookesLaw

      Better to be all bigots together in UKIP eh?

    • Colonel Mustard

      “less Male Pale and Stale.”

      You do realise that is an offensive sexist and racist remark? As long as terms like BAME are being used this country is headed towards a sectarian future. They are simply PEOPLE, not defined by their gender or race but by their common humanity and individual worth.

      • swatnan

        … would you settle for MCP

        • Colonel Mustard

          Why should I settle for more sexist insults from you? What is the female equivalent of MCP? Perhaps you should let “Liz” know.

          Equality my a**e.

    • The_greyhound

      More token wimmin and foreigners?

      How does that make anything look more attractive, except to mentally defective Guardian readers?

    • Adam Carter

      What is BAME?

      • Conway

        The Chosen People (ie not white and indigenous).

      • alabenn

        Black Asian Minority Ethnic. or Labours new core vote.

  • Mynydd

    He should start by sacking those ministers who have failed to deliver the goods. I would start with Duncan Smith, then A&E Hunt.

    • telemachus


    • HookesLaw

      You will love this then
      ‘Patients from outside the EU are to be charged 150% of the cost of treatment in the NHS in a fresh crackdown on so-called “health tourism”.
      The move by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is designed to encourage NHS Trusts to recover the cost of operations from migrants.
      Mr Hunt believes the plans could save the the health service £500m a year.
      The government also wants to charge EU patients 125% of the normal cost of treatment.’
      ‘The new measures are expected to come into force by next spring. The
      crackdown follows plans already unveiled to charge migrants a £200 “NHS”
      levy when they apply for a visa.’

      • Colonel Mustard

        If you think all the communist common purpose management stooges in the NHS will ever implement that you have another think coming. Their failure to properly manage and prioritise treatment on the basis of residency is already a national scandal.

        • Common Purpose

          It is sometimes wise to reflect on the wisdom or otherwise of unresearched statements. NHS management is being broadened and deepened by the principles, well decscibed, of moving out of silos and taking leadership beyond the cosy box of historic health administration.

          This is particularly so in the field of mental health, as attested by Jonathan Grellier, Service Development Programme Manager at St. Georges Mental Hospital.

          “As a Common Purpose graduate, I know how valuable it can be to challenge your preconceptions about what life is like for people working in a different industry. The workshop gave participants some insight into the real challenges
          of managing and leading change in the NHS. They were particularly struck by the huge range of stakeholders we have to deal with and the extent to which even local changes are influenced by politics and played out in the media. From a personal point of view, it was also a great opportunity to reflect on my own organisation and the change challenges we face.”

          • Colonel Mustard

            That didn’t work out too well at Mid-Staffs. So, another letter of complaint must go to the Charity Commission about Common Purpose posting anonymous propaganda on a political website.

            It is also wise to reflect that Common Purpose “graduates” who are “taking leadership” beyond their remit are entirely unelected and in most cases unaccountable for the “change” they “lead” without any consent from the people affected by it. But one must also question the motivation of a supposed “charity” created by a former Marxist and editor of Marxism Today, a “charity” supposedly involved only in “management training” which sees a need to monitor the internet for comments about it and then post counter “comments” anonymously.

            Any organisation that indulges in subterfuge and spin to protect itself and does so anonymously must be considered deeply suspicious.

      • Conway

        They had better set up a method whereby the grunts on the ground in the NHS can collect the cash, then. There appears to be no way for anybody to pay up front at the moment (the only way you are likely to get your money back). It might sound good, but in fact, the EU will veto it as being discriminatory. The only way we could do that would be to leave the EU.

  • RavenRandom

    Seriously why bother. Reshuffles make no difference to polling.

  • itdoesntaddup

    He should tell Clegg to go with the New Statesman rumour and appoint Jo Swinson in place of Davey. The less fiddling he does otherwise, the less the civil servants will be running the country between now and the election.