Friday, June 05, 2009

More Random Reshuffle Thoughts

Oh what a day it's been! And not just because it's my daughter's tenth birthday. As an aside, how come she, who is normally so difficult to rouse, was wide awake at 6.15this morning!

So, the morning brought the news that Hutton and Hoon had decided to walk the plank, although both left with some dignity. It looked then, after Johnson took over the Home Office that Brown would be able to carry out his reshuffle, even if he couldn't get rid of Darling.

Sadly, just as he thought he'd plugged all his leaks and planned a 4 pm press conference, another pipe burst with Caroline Flint's bitter and barbed resignation. She then went on to say that Brown treated women as window dressing and complained that few women were allowed into Brown's inner circle. Well, that may well be the case, but she had forgotten it when she professed loyalty to him on Sky News last night in what now looks to have been a pitch for a better job. When no cabinet position waa forthcoming, she walked. To be honest, if that's how fickle she is, then not offering her anything better is a rare act of good judgement from Brown. I find it quite strange that he paid such fulsome praise to her when asked in the press conference when she had just basically plunged a dagger, Lady Macbeth style, into his chest.

There are now only 4 women in the Cabinet. What we don't know is whether he approached any others to serve. Many women in the Parliamentary Labour Party are most closely identified as Blairites, hence he's had to turn to the previous generation for several of his appointments today. Siobhan McDonagh has just been on Channel 4 News still suggesting he should go.

Her replacement has raised a few eyebrows - Glenys Kinnock of all people, who is elevated to the House of Lords. She clearly is suited to the job as a former MEP but it brings the number of unelected peers in Cabinet attending positions to 7, out of 33. In the Cabinet proper, there are only 3 lords out of 23 members - and one of them is the Leader of the House of Lords who kind of has to be.

And as for David Miliband - what on earth is he up to? His profession of loyalty was barely convincing. He has alienated his Blairite pals who will not be able to understand why he didn't jump with Purnell and basically looks like a bit of a prat to the rest of us. And to think I have a friend who has a real crush on him, to the extent that she at one point had a photo of him eating ice cream as her wallpaper on her laptop.

We shall have to wait and see whether Brown has managed to buy himself more than a few days. I have to say it was quite bizarre to see his press conference, where he spoke about the day's events as if they were almost routine. It was almost farcical as he was asked about Flint's resignation and announced Kinnock's appointment. Why on earth was it not announced before he faced the press?

He also flatly denied ever having planned to sack or move Darling. I would love to know the truth of that. You would think that Brown's plan to do so was Holy Writ given that it's been reported on virtually every media outlet. However, we know that things reported universally as true may not always be - look at the treatment of Jo Swinson that we got upset about last week. If it is true, though, Brown was lying through his teeth at the press conference. How would that sit with the presbyterian conscience he seems to have rediscovered in the last few days?

The most amusing thing about the press conference was Gordon's insistence that his Goverment was going to refocus - and the proof - he's set up 3 committees. You couldn't make it up! The name of one of them, the Democratic Renewal Council, could have come straight from the pages of 1984.

I guess the next crisis point will be Monday and we'll see whether Brown has used enough chewing gum and string to hold his Government together and stave off total revolt.

I still think the behaviour of the Blairites in all of this has been an absolute disgrace and I don't think any of them are fit to run as much as a bath. Gordon may be inept and lack judgment and be at the head of a Government that's going nowhere, that's "run out of road" as Nick Clegg said earlier, but the vengeful Blairites are just nasty.

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