Shuffling the Turnips

After weeks of threatening changes and then procrastinating, our ‘Revered Leader’ has finally reshuffled his Cabinet but at first glance, his reshuffle has been as much use as restacking the deck chairs on the Titanic as it sank.

Should we be celebrating that two of the four most important jobs in government are now held by women or that there are slightly more people with ethnic backgrounds? I really do not think so, politically correct though it might seem. Gender and race is irrelevant. If this is promotion of the best talent available, I can only cry at the calibre of people entering politics and grovelling their way up the greasy pole to ministerial level. Success in politics is still down to networking and being pals with the right people

This reshuffle wasn’t about creating a dream team to level up Britain or Build Back Better – the latest idiotic slogans Number Ten has devised to try and rekindle our belief in the government’s ability to keep Britain solvent. Or to get food on supermarket shelves when in reality we need eighty three thousand lorry drivers, and to keep hospitals running when we are fifty thousand doctors short and nurses are set to go on strike.

I can’t think of a single business with a turnover of billions that would chuck out key executives with no notice and immediately appoint a fresh set of people who will need to start learning their new jobs from scratch. Would you ask men and women who have run pet supplies to take over nursing homes? Or let the top team at Morrisons decide whether the BBC licence fee should remain? Politicians bang on about how important education is. We tell kids to go to university, do apprenticeships. We moan they are useless at interviews, lack the social skills and the desire to go out and get jobs.

Yet the Prime Minister has appointed Nadine Dorries – the MP who appeared on I’m a Celebrity without asking permission from her bosses – to be the new Minister for Culture.

The woman who will now be deciding the future funding of the BBC, who should run Ofcom, and what power should be wrested from media giants like Facebook and Google, once admitted that her blog for constituents was ‘seventy percent fiction.’ Does that give you confidence in her fitness for any ministerial job? It’s like asking me to run the ruddy Samaritans.

Yet I have a modicum of confidence in Ms Dorries. At least she did not go to Eton – she grew up in Liverpool and went to state school. A successful novelist – I read one of her books but was not impressed – she has voted against gay marriage and attacked ‘snowflake culture,’ consistently accusing the BBC of being left-wing. Has she the ability to make impartial decisions about the future of the National Broadcaster? We shall see. Yet she’s never hidden her controversial opinions despite the cost to her career so there is a bit of hope there.

But why did Bunter remove the previous Culture Secretary – the very competent Oliver Dowden – to appoint such a controversial figure? It smacks of box ticking to keep the feminists happy.

This sham reshuffle demonstrates yet again that running Great Britain is not about experience or skills, government ministers are appointed because they are loyal to the biggest ego on the block – Bunter ruddy Johnson.

In the real world, if top executives fail at their jobs they get fired before they can impact on profits and morale. Not so in government. Witness the incredible career of Gavin Williamson – a man running schools who once had a business selling kitchen equipment. Now it seems he has been offered a knighthood to soften the blow of being sacked.

Bunter has cynically swapped around a few posts, chucked out the hopeless, such as the said Williamson, the insolent and supercilious (Dominic ‘sunlounger’ Raab) listened to Carrie and brought a couple of females to the front of the pack, all with the aim of showcasing himself at the centre of a team of no hopers, this showing that he is more interested in re-election than social justice throughout the country.

Both Raab and Williamson should have been chucked out weeks ago if delivery and expertise were the key criteria for holding public office.

Bunter J has cynically put an extremely ambitious female – Liz Truss – at the Foreign Office, meaning she’ll be permanently flying around the world instead of plotting against him for the top job back at home. He has enough problems with Sunak. Truss is said to be one of the worse public speakers in the Commons, so it will be interesting to see how her communication skills flourish when relying on teams of interpreters.

Truss once said her daughters choose her clothes yet she seems fixated on looking power-ready at all times and hard to miss in those executive dresses in unflattering royal blue.

This woman is not a shrinking violet- every bottle of soya sauce, crate of pickled herring and bucket of squid that she’s negotiated for the UK in her previous role as Trade Secretary has been documented and issued with its own press release and tweet so we know how hard she works and what a success she is – or claims to be.

The Foreign Office job has been billed as her reward for signing sixty three trade deals since Brexit, but let’s look at these deals. Nearly all were simply replicating the previous terms set by the EU, and where’s the evidence that the Truss lassie ever came up with a new strategy, or developed new alliances and won new agreements that weren’t in place before her appointment? Yes, she worked hard, but is that a substitute for talent?

Now, she must try and get us interested in our ‘special relationship’ with sleepy Joe Biden to ensure her quota of appearances on social media continue to soar. This might be a challenge for the woman who once said, ‘I’m not a diplomat.’

The second most powerful female at the top table, Home Secretary Priti Patel must be relieved to hang on to her job after refusing to speak to a conference of police officers only last week. At least that momentarily diverted attention from her failure to stop rubber dinghies full of illegal migrants from landing on the beaches of Kent or giving the French millions of pounds to build hostels in the daft hope that migrants might use them. Or failure to fix the immigration halls fiasco at our airports. Or her failure to persuade the police that demonstrators blocking the M25 should be removed in something under four hours

Nadhim Zahawi has done a good job with pushing out the vaccination programme, but at education, his biggest challenge will be underfunding. Former teacher and council boss Sir Kevan Collins was asked to write a report for the Government detailing how to level up education after the coronabug. He wanted fifteen billion to fund more teachers and an extended school day but Bunter came up with just one point four billion, which means a paltry twenty two pounds per child in primary school per year. Collins, unsurprisingly, resigned.If Zahawi wants to show his mettle, he must get Collins who is a highly respected figure back on board.

Instead of celebrating women in power, it would be more telling to reflect on the team of multimillionaires now running the biggest offices of state – Education, Health, and the Treasury.

In a Tory government, Money, not talent, always talks loudest.

So will this reshuffle make any difference? Of course it will not. The most damaged of the prime minister’s inadequates are out, to be replaced mainly with other willing yes men and women.

Life at the top in politics is usually nasty, brutish and short. Reshuffles are ruthless. Politicians from the leader down are in it for themselves and do not really give a fig for democracy, even though they continually espouse it for we poor little people.

I suppose there are a few who do want to make society better – though there are none I can spot in this cabinet, which cravenly tolerates the whims of this completely dishonest prime minister.

One of the mysteries of the reshuffle is how Extinction Rebellion poster boy Grant Shapps survived as Transport Secretary. He has presided over chaos in the airline sector for passengers and staff alike, recently receiving a ninety eight per cent vote of no-confidence from the pilots’ union, BALPA.

Shapps has also blown two hundred million on an anti-car campaign, carpeting the country with deserted bike lanes and turning whole neighbourhoods into no-go areas for traffic, in the teeth of fierce opposition from locals, tradesmen and the emergency services.

It was reported last week that plans are well advanced for the launch of a range of flying cars in 2024. No doubt Shapps is already working on ways of installing LTNs, bike lanes and speed cameras in the ozone layer and the lunatics who blocked the M25 this week are probably investing in hot air balloons so they can shut down the superhighways in the sky.

I know I am no longer a youngster but I do feel desperately sorry for future generations with these hapless turnips in charge.

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