On the cabinet table for every member of the Cabinet! pic.twitter.com/GDv2ZP6WFe
— Eric Pickles (@EricPickles) March 24, 2015
Or are they celebrating?
Or are they celebrating?
The famous cabinet disrupting musical watch has finally been shown to the world…
It has been widely reported today that Danny Alexander and Vince Cable are barely on speaking terms, with the Mail this moring added that the tension boiled over last Tuesday at Cabinet. Guido hears that Vince was giving a presentation on SMEs when Grant Shapps and Oliver Letwin turned on the Business Secretary, suggesting that while the government is ‘bureaucracy busting’ Cable is ‘doing the opposite at BIS’ and ‘creating new red tape’. Much to the surprise of everyone, not least Vince, Alexander then weighed in on the attack, agreeing that Cable should be doing more to tackle red tape. Guido’s eyes and ears in the room say Uncle Fester got incredibly defensive and looked even more miffed than usual by the end. No wonder he’s grumpy this week.
“For as many years as Britain has had a centralised civil service we have been rather good at collecting information. From the first censuses in 1801 to the creation of the Central Statistical Office by Winston Churchill, the amount of information gathered and held by Government has exponentially increased as our society has become more complex. Today we hold raw information on everything from pupil performance by class, crime levels on every street in the country and the success rate for every single operation in your local hospital. We can even tell at the touch of a button how late your train into work is likely to be.”
Big Brother is watching you…
Millionaire Cabinet Secretary Caroline Spelman spent a year’s salary on a botched injunction the last time her son went off the rails, but ‘roid-popping Jonny’s latest embarrassment has been laid bare for all to see. The disgraced England rugby prodigy posted a video online claiming the Environment Secretary is kicking him out of the family home, then begs for money to support his new chosen career: body-building. According to the Daily Star Sunday Jonny has dropped out of his £31,000-a-year boarding school, moaning:
“My aim is to be the biggest guy there ever was…basically you know I wanna be the next Mr Olympia. Obviously this does come at a price, I’m afraid, as I’ve chosen bodybuilding as my life and my parents have sort of decided that they’re not happy with that. They’ve told me eventually I’m gonna have to move out and they’ve stopped supporting me financially.”
With Dave leaving his daughter in the pub and Spelman leaving her son out in the cold, family breakdown is spreading throughout the Cabinet. Did someone say Broken Britain…
The choices were apparently based on their character:
Lansley left early and paused for the cameras. He was backed by the Prime Ministers spokesman too. It hardly seems like Hard Times are ahead, despite this morning’s excitement.
What are your suggestions for what Huhne would have been given? Guido would have recommended Dickens’ 1862 short story “Somebody’s Luggage”…
The smart money is on Cameron not reshuffling until after the Olympics and opting for a quick yellow for yellow swap if Huhne is forced out, but that hasn’t stopped some intriguing ideas being floated around Tory circles. Firstly there was the hilarious “bigging up” of Sarah Teather, whose civil servants give a very different picture from the one painted in Black Dog:
“Small but perfectly formed Lib Dem Schools Minister Sarah Teather is being tipped by friends of Michael Gove to succeed Chris Huhne as Energy Secretary if he is forced to quit over his speeding offence wrangle. ‘Like most of us, Michael didn’t rate Sarah but he has changed his view after seeing how she sends mandarins twice her size packing,’ said a friend of Gove.”
Whoever Gove’s friend is, he’s a master of reverse psychology. Guido is sure that many tears will be shed if Sarah does move on from Education.
Today’s pipe dream is shifting Vince Cable from BIS over to DECC. There was vicious briefing against the Sage of Twickenham in the Sun today, with unknown Tory Ministers accusing him of stunting growth:
“Cable is obsessed with punishing the bankers — and little else.He has failed to deliver any meaningful strategy to help struggling British companies. Time is running out for us to get this right. We’re doing not nearly enough — and we won’t until Vince gets out of the way.”
Do they really want to put him in charge of growth-choking green-taxes?
With the announcement coming in the morning, in all likelihood it will be Ed Davey or Jeremy Browne laying awake in wonder tonight. There is talk of Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson moving up a rung as a result. Guido doubts we will see the return of David Laws to the Cabinet, but he could well take the vacant Junior Minister slot.
Vince Cable has taken to the pages of the FT to brief against Thresesa May and Iain Duncan Smith:
An ally of Mr Cable said: “Vince really wants to come forward with a good package for business this autumn but we want to see other departments putting their weight behind these efforts. They need to bring something to the table.”
His line is that they do not realise how serious the growth situation is, however Vince might want to make sure his own department is in order before he whispers into hacks ears. Guido understands that some officials at Business Innovation and Skills are none too happy with the drop in stature their department has had since the old man took over from Mandy. Although he had his faults, they feel Prince of Darkness made the department’s presence felt in every nook and cranny of Whitehall. They are moaning at a lack of “kudos” these days and gently remind the Minister in charge of growth that it’s going to require more than just sniping against others for not cutting enough red tape…