- About Us
- Join Us
- Contact Us
The defining moment in the pantomime called a Cabinet reshuffle was not the picture of the new gesticulating Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, photographed on the steps of 10, Downing Street but the decision to allow the media cameras to linger longer than usual at the first meeting of the PM’s adoring disciples.
“You are all responsible for the economy” announced the leader which came as some surprise to the Welsh Secretary David Jones who, knowing the dire state of the Cymru people, was wondering whether his first beating up would come from the impressive Welsh Government boss Carwyn Jones (who is managing a reduced budget with great effectiveness) or by shadow Labour minister Peter Hain elated from getting rid of Cheryl Gillan.
The Chancellor and the Home Secretary, fresh from the boos at the Paralympics, had heard it all before and the Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable was occupied with his planning of how to get rid of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Meantime the Prime Minister was snuffing out any backbench problems (Nadine Dorries is merely an irrelevant embarrassment) by his continued use of the Honours systems. It is understood that knighthoods are to be given to former agriculture minister James Paice, ex-Solicitor General Edward Garnier and former defence ministers Nick Harvey and Gerald Howarth. Sir George Younger is being recommended for an appointment to the Order of the Companions of Honour.
The Prime Minister has continually used the Honours system to enhance his personal popularity and has made a number of contentious appointments to the House of Lords. In November 2010 he attracted comment with peerages for the Conservatives chief fundraisers Andrew Feldman and Stanley Fink. In January 2012 further controversy arose over the knighthood for Paul Ruddock who had given half a million pounds to the Conservative Party: he made a fortune as a Hedge Fund manager short-selling shares in Northern Rock.
The appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary is bewildering. The PM made 20 pledges when he launched the Tories 2010 General Election campaign including:
People allowed to choose where they are treated
Cut cost of NHS administration by a third
Independent NHS Boards to manage the health service
New maternity system giving mothers more choice
New drive to help the mentally-ill
What Mr. Cameron did not say was that he would allow Andrew Lansley to speak to a few doctors and, based on these conversations, he would hand doctors £80bn to manage things (and become even richer in the process). I yesterday had breakfast at the Royal Society of Medicine and suggested to a senior former neurosurgeon that my estimate is that the Lansley reforms will cost the UK a minimum of £20bn. He nodded his head in agreement.
At the heart of this theatre is the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. David Cameron is safe until the May 2015 General Election.
A City friend said to me last week:
Cameron doesn’t care. All he wants is ‘Prime Minister of the United Kingdom’ on his CV so that he can ape Tony Blair and make a fortune.
I apologise for my cynicism but I am a corporate financier working with Britain’s hard pressed, lonely and abandoned four million SMEs.
It really is tough out there and a leading City broker yesterday said to me
Tony, it is going to get worse and worse over the winter months
That will not include the self satisfied members of the Coalition Government. The new entrants are probably queuing to discuss with Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell how to shelter their new found wealth in off-shore trusts.
The author is Tony Drury. He tweets @mrtonydrury.
- Freedom in the City on 22nd May with JP Floru on May 22, 2013 12:30 pm
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
Join the Mailing List