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Reshuffle 2014: where is the new centre of gravity in the Tory party ?

15 July 2014

7:22 AM

15 July 2014

7:22 AM

After a night of firing, we should start to see a round of hiring in David Cameron’s government from around 8.30 this morning. Only one post has been filled – Philip Hammond moving to the Foreign Office – and yet some observers are already trying to pin down the new centre of gravity in the Tory party.

Labour seems to have given its MPs a line to take that the is a lurch to the right and the end of moderate Tory governing. Without wishing to begrudge the Opposition a decent, disciplined line on a day when it’s very difficult to attract attention away from the other party doing the shuffling, it is far too early to make this sort of judgement, and there is insufficient evidence to do so.

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You cannot call a reshuffle in which arch moderniser and lover of greenery Greg Barker departed a lurch to the left. But you also cannot brand it a lurch to the right when eurosceptics are upset that Owen Paterson has been sacked. Barker appears to have had more choice in the matter: he discussed his future at length with the Prime Minister at Chequers on Sunday and will remain an adviser on green issues until the election. Perhaps he did conclude that his time was better spent doing other things than encouraging the Conservatives to hug huskies again, but unlike Paterson, he appears to have reached that conclusion on his own, rather than during a heated exchange in the PM’s Commons office. Paterson and Barker are hardly, as Eric Pickles might put it , brothers from another mother when it comes to their politics. They are white middle-aged men, though, and if all predictions about today’s appointments are anything to go by, the most obvious gravity shift in the Tory party is towards younger women.

And while it is true that expected promotions for Liz Truss and Priti Patel show the rise of the free market right wingers from the intellectually robust 2010 intake, others such as Anna Soubry who are expected to move up would not easily identity with the right of the party. Soubry is better known for her pro-immigration attacks on Nigel Farage (and within the party for her colourful language while relaxing in the Smoking Room with Simon Burns) than anything else.

But as we don’t know the full details of how David Cameron plans to fill the void left by Owen Paterson, save by giving us a more Eurosceptic foreign secretary in Philip Hammond and sacking the main opponent of Britain opting out of the ECHR in Dominic Grieve, it’s a bit early to start calling the reshuffle. Nervous ministers and backbenchers waiting hopefully by their phone for a call from a withheld number that denotes the Downing Street switchboard will certainly not see it as a done deal.

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  • swatnan

    The centre lies probably in the GMTV studios, on the couch and Twitter.
    The Tory Party has entered the age of Social Media and will be conducting its Campaign from the couches and ‘Today’. Murdoch might aso throuw them a life line as well by demonising EdM. Interesting to see if EdM responds by dropping Balls

    • the viceroy’s gin

      It is sad that actual governance is barely worth a mention in all this. It’s all about the Londonistan bubble culture, apparently. They talk to each other, and about each other, and that is all.

  • telemachus

    McVey Wales- Breaking

    • Smithersjones2013

      Someone has to pour the tea……

  • Smithersjones2013

    Reshuffle 2014: where is the new centre of gravity in the Tory party ?

    In the genital area it would seem……

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …so, gravitational pull hasn’t much to work with on the masculine side, then?

  • Peter Stroud

    So Owen Paterson has been sacked. Paterson is one of the more sensible, and hard working ministers in this government. But he has one major fault: he is a CAGW sceptic, and that will never do for the ‘greenest government ever’ – David Cameron. I really despair of Cameron’s judgement.

    • telemachus

      “Owen Paterson is not doing ‘everything possible’ to help flood victims
      The environment secretary is making promises while presiding over cuts to flooding staff and climate spend, and the relaxation of planning rules to allow building on green spaces”

      • Peter Stroud

        I think you will find it is Mr Pickles who has the last word on planning matters. It is he who has overridden local’s views where I live.

        • telemachus

          Pickles would do well to act as a personal flood defence
          Very sad he was not axed

          • Colonel Mustard

            Fattist as well as racist, sexist and a communist, eh?

    • dalai guevara

      You will not believe how humble the Conservationists (Conservative Greens) are after accepting without opposition this totally unexpected delayed gratification. Yes, the following message will be tough to swallow for some: even a young woman could do a better job than this shill ever will.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …you mean, a better job of destroying the economy and impoverishing the People, like all you greenie socialist nutters are desperate to do?

        How’s the goat today, lad?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Ach zo. How are things in Brussels today, Euro-twat?

        • dalai guevara

          I wouldn’t know, Colonel. The regions of Somerset and Berkshire will surely welcome this change for the better and reap the rewards. What’s not to like?

          • Colonel Mustard

            If you have anything to do with it they should probably expect more flooding.

            • dalai guevara

              Too tumb to dredge, Colonel. Please focus with an unobscured view what actually happened here. As I asserted many times before, the people of Holland and Hamburg have absolutely no difficulties with adhering to superior EU regulations and making a few bob whilst they are at it.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Whatever makes you think you can see clearly what is happening and others can’t? Have you been that way your whole life?

                • dalai guevara

                  We do not need ‘the views’ of a Secretary for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs who has no idea about rural affairs (tick), with regards to high quality food (tick) or the environment (double tick).
                  The chap with no clue whatsoever lost his job today. Not that there wasn’t anyone campaigning tirelessly for precisely that to happen.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which doesn’t answer my questions. Why am I not surprised…

                • dalai guevara

                  The same rule apply over and over again in life – the principles of causality, the relationship of cause and effect. OP failed thrice (at least) in a really big way. Why can I see it and you cannot – do you not share my (British) values of being honest to yourself and others?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I don’t share your delusions. And I am British rather than just pretending to be.

                  You should stop confusing objective truth with subjective opinion.

                • dalai guevara

                  OP failed miserably, thrice – he is now out of a job.
                  Cause – effect.
                  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that causality, the undeniable
                  reality is evident and only party political ‘twats’ would disagree.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I have no particular views on OP but I have seen him praised elsewhere for his work. I do have a view on you, sir, and it is not a complimentary one.

                • dalai guevara

                  I have articulated my strong views with regards to the non-actions of this chap in particular many times, first when the issues he was supposed to be in charge of arose and now in conclusion – there is nothing ambiguous about that view and whether you agree or diagree with those views or indeed draw further conclusions is of no concern to me.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Strong views do not always equate to being correct and yet you continuously write here in a manner that suggests you presume your strong views to be correct.

                  Which brings us back to my original and so far unanswered questions:-

                  Whatever makes you think you can see clearly what is happening and others can’t? Have you been that way your whole life?

                  Plus an extra question. If my point of view is of no concern to you why do you so frequently tag my comments?

                • dalai guevara

                  I am tagging your comments? I think you will find that we both now appear to be convinced of our independently manifest levels of self-belief.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I’m not so convinced but evidence of your tagging is empirical. You’ve just done it in another thread.

                  Surely you must realise that every one of our exchanges is promulgated on your Teutonic certainty that you are not only always right about everything but that you are also my intellectual superior whereas my responses are intended only to exhibit my English amusement and lack of respect for that?

                • dalai guevara

                  Yawn – OP is history, you miss him already? Take these lines as my sincere expression of condolence…

                  Right, now back to the Conservative Green agenda – the common sense-ism clowns will never call any shots here. They are simply not technically or financially literate enough to express a clear and sensible thought, never mind will they ever be cool.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You can have the last word…

  • telemachus

    So Liz Truss is to be floods minister

    “I’m a bit scared of Liz Truss, actually,” one burly male Tory MP admitted to me recently. Imagine how the education minister’s civil servants must feel: they’ve nicknamed her the ‘human hand grenade’ for her propensity for blowing obstacles out of her way. She’s certainly a tough cookie – and her resilience has been tested throughout her career in politics, with a series of bruising encounters with members of her own party and her Coalition partners.

  • Kitty MLB

    Is David Cameron aware that by upsetting the centre of gravity, there will be issues
    with the gravitational field and certain politicians will act like magnets..Oh
    sorry astrophysics and poetry are hobbies.
    Please, Why can’t Shapps be dispatched. And David Davis be added.
    But if Liam Fox is added, I shall continue to be embarrassed forever..i have no idea
    what on earth he must think of me after the encounter.
    I hope Penny Mordaunt will be added also. But I hope its not about being pc correct
    box and labelling people. It must never be about gender, and age.
    Oh please god not that awful soubry woman.

    • telemachus

      I recognise that today of all days we must accord respect to the views of the fair and delicious
      But as I have already stated Davis is unstable and would be a liabilityy

    • Shazza

      That ‘awful soubry woman’ is so wet she should be with the LimpDems. Another smug know it all.

    • Wessex Man

      No you can’t leave it hanging in the wind, what did you and David Davis get up to?

      • Kitty MLB

        Why on earth are you speaking of David Davis? and you mind is
        not as pure as the driven snow , clearly.

  • John Matthews

    All the ppl against all women short lists whats the dif between that and what Cam is doing here?

    • telemachus

      We have always had PM patronage
      This is Cameron’s night of the long knives

      • Kitty MLB

        This is seen as the culling of the pro EU bunch.

        • telemachus

          And therefore retrograde and reprehensible

          • MirthaTidville

            No just long overdue

            • telemachus

              Only if you feel wedded to the decline of our great country

              • MirthaTidville

                No its you that is wedded to such misery..The decline has been caused entirely by Liebour..No more No Less

                • telemachus

                  Look
                  Independent UK is finished
                  The future is big economic groupings

                • girondas2

                  “The future is big economic groupings”

                  What a stupid thing to thing to say – mindless dogma.

                • HookesLaw

                  The future is as with the past – alliances.
                  We have been in NATO for years. Economic groupings do not lead to loss of independence – but its good to see you confirming that that is the labour idea. Who but raving loonies would campaign to elect them?

                • iviv44

                  Even if the only future were as part of an economic grouping, then it would make sense to choose an effective economic grouping rather than the corrupt and dysfunctional EU.

  • alabenn

    These women are needed, the deckchairs could do with sorting out, if SS Great Britain is going down, lets do it with some style, and some of the new Tory women look like they know what they are doing.

    • telemachus

      If you like GMTV presentation skills

    • Shazza

      Tory women always have bigger cojones than the men.

  • Frank

    Greg Barker is a nonentity, so his sacking is good news (ditto Clarke, Grieve and Hague).

    • telemachus

      Clarke and Hague nonentities?

      • MirthaTidville

        Fraid so

        • telemachus

          Tell that to abused women around the world

          • MirthaTidville

            So apart from 2 weeks strutting with Jolie, what has either done in their many years of politics in this direction??…I`ve all day to listen

            • telemachus

              If you look at the issue you will see he has stuck his neck out on this for a long time

              • girondas2

                That doesn’t answer his question.
                i appreciate that you’re busy posting your comments (the work of a party minion is never done!) but as you made the claim you point us in the direction of the evidence.

                • telemachus

                  2013

                  The campaign against sexual violence in war zones was launched by Mr Hague after meeting women who has fallen victim to such violence and whose lives were shattered by sexual crimes but were not offered any justice.

                • girondas2

                  If only the Labour Party hadn’t been so keen to create war zones eh?
                  Still can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs

                • MirthaTidville

                  So he`s only been busy with this for a year?..thought so..but what has Clarke done in the last 40 years then?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …from the looks of that face and that nose, he’s emptied far more than his share of glasses.

  • John Matthews

    Barker and Opatz are probably the extremes but Hague and clarke are also seen as moderate tories and hence the labour line but yes too early to call lets see who goes in.

    • telemachus

      Owen Paterson handled the floods lamentably

      • Harold Angryperson

        You comment on here lamentably

      • ButcombeMan

        Do you mean by /actually/ causing something to be done about it?

        I know Labour’s plan was to flood the levels permanently. 800 years of flood management history consigned to history-for the birds.

    • HookesLaw

      Hague was and is always seen as on nthe right. Hague is not leaving the government.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Spoon face is mad if he promotes well-known Labour MP and arch-nanny Soubry.

    • telemachus

      Soubry deserves elevation.
      She has the measure of Nigel Farage
      Remember the perfect ‘looks like somebody put their finger up his bottom’

      • MirthaTidville

        Yes but can you remember what happened Tele?…UKIP vote soared.So I`d be delighted with a clown like Soubry shouting her over sized mouth off..Trouble is Dave is useless enough to think this would be a good thing..Ye Gods

        • telemachus

          The UKIP vote soared because we were in the run up to the UKIP single issue rationale for existence election

          • Kitty MLB

            UKIP and their single issue of replacing the Labour Party
            as the party for the working classes. Purple is the new Red.
            Just listen to my sibylline words of wisdom, before I look
            at some ancient tomes.
            And the Conservative Party has a country to run and next year
            free of Lib Dems and all pro EU fools purged.

            • telemachus

              Sorry
              Dual issues
              EU
              Immigration
              Sadly they will get nowhere near influence let alone power

            • MirthaTidville

              I`d settle for that Kitty

            • Wessex Man

              oh kittl dear it’s noy just the soviet socialists that are goint to get hit, your own party will suffer greatly while the Liberal Democrats crash and burn out of existance!

          • MirthaTidville

            Get your facts right, their percentage of vote soared in the local Government elections as well….Anyway Soubry will be gone next year she is on a less than 400 majority..he he

            • telemachus

              Local vote only on the coat tails of the EU elections

            • the viceroy’s gin

              That would be fitting, yes.

      • Smithersjones2013

        But Teletubby, Soubry is one of the top 5 Labour targets (her majority is tiny). She is toast in 10 months time if you get your way. No chance Dave is going to promote her just so Miliband the Misfit can put a Cabinet Ministers scalp on his belt

        • MirthaTidville

          Ordinarily I agree, but this is shallow thinking Dave we are talking about so its possible…He doesnt think that far ahead

          • HookesLaw

            Further than you. ICM have a tory lead and UKIP down 7

            • MirthaTidville

              Ah late to the party Hooky..Suppose you had to wait for your medication first. Never mind

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You’ll get plenty of action down at the shops, laddie, if you’d care to put something down on your beloved Camerloons.

      • Colonel Mustard

        That was a vile thing for anyone to say. To describe it as ‘perfect’ only goes to show you are as vile as she is and that my description of her as a Labour MP was apt.

    • ButcombeMan

      She may be charm personified, off screen, but I think Soubry comes across as one of the nastiest people in politics,

      I regard her as absolutely odious, along with that Emily Thornberry.

      No party, managing their public image properly, would let these two near a TV studio.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Agreed. Thornberry is currently cooking up a complete surrender of the British justice system to the Napoleonic code in cahoots with the former DPP and far from impartial Starmer. Both as mad as a box of frogs but exceeding dangerous with it. How Starmer got away with contravening his own ethical code for strict impartiality is mind boggling and Grieve should have sacked him on day one.

        Unbelievably this story from 2009 was a portent of things to come and yet still Grieve kept this radical one-trick pony Labour supporter and activist in post:-

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222146/Keir-Starmer-Tories-shame-Britain-scapping-Human-Rights-Act-says-chief-prosecutor.html

      • John Dalton

        Soubry and Thornberry – two of the nastiest old harridans in politics – and that’s up against the likes of Abbot and Harman! At least with Harman you can see that she’s only one perceived insult away from a breakdown! At least with Abbot you can see the chips on her shoulder and the hatred in her eyes!

        I for one am praying that Soubry will be out on her ar*e next year – and as for Thornberry – no matter how often she remembers to pretend to be nice, the mask always slips to show the bitter, hateful, man-hating old fattie beneath.

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