Monday: what a bizarre day for political media management in 10 Downing Street. A Cabinet reshuffle that actually didn’t do very much but somehow managed to take hours to conclude.
Maternal Theresa promised a new ministerial team of bright and bubbly women and BME as dynamic reformers. Instead she was left with no net increase in women in full Cabinet posts. She had to resort to the use of ‘attendees’ to make gender balance appear better. So poor Liz Truss (chief secretary to the Treasury) and Andrea Leadsom (Leader of the House of Commons) ‘attend’ Cabinet whereas their predecessors in these roles would have been full Cabinet members.
The loss of Justine Greening, the Northern-bred lesbian with a genuine interest in tackling social mobility rather than slavish following of ‘grammar schools’ and ‘free schools’ ideology, has created a reputational disaster for the Prime Minister.
Justine Greening’s tweet that tackling social mobility was more important than being a Cabinet minister (i.e. taking on any old portfolio), is one of those rare moments where you might actually start to look at a Tory with a bit more respect than normal.
I suspect that there may be a lot of mutterings that several MPs, who are minority ethnic, only got there new jobs out of a need to be PC. The irony that the Tory party would be PC is not lost on many who have been at the sharp end of Tory public policy which discriminates against minorities.
Unsurprisingly, the Secretary of State for Scotland remains in his post – purely because it is too soon to promote any of the new 2017 intake to Cabinet so quickly. I had thought that Theresa May would have been bolder and promote Lord Duncan of Springbank (in the barony of Alyth, my hometown!) to SoS with someone with Scottish parliamentary experience like John Lamont as a House of Commons deputy.
Lots of political commentating about the Brexit balance of the Cabinet (and in time the junior ministers). The number of Leavers has increased by one but it did make for some great Number 10 Downing Street official tweets: Arch-Brexiteer “David Davis MP remains Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union”. Quite a few Leavers remain, just as Remainers like Greening leave.
Best of all has been the revelation over how low Tory party membership really is. New Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis, ducked the question of how many Tory party members there now are, and didn’t deny the figure of just 70,000. Imagine, the governing party of Scotland has more party members than the governing party of the UK!