The Prime Minister has done nothing more than surround himself with lots of people skilled at making the unpalatable palatable. That is largely his mission statement at the moment
Each year, as a brutal reminder of the inexorable passage of time, I look at the Strictly line-up and realise I don’t know who anyone is any more.
This year it’s down to two – Sinead from Corrie and the tall bloke from breakfast TV whose name escapes me. Next year it will be one. Then none.
Then, alas, it will all be over.
Same thing with this week’s Tory reshuffle. I have to study this carnival of anonymity for a living, to scratch out my meagre existence and, more importantly, so you lot don’t have to.
Suffice it to say, little has changed. One interesting thing – and I use that word in its loosest definition – is there was a drop in the number of Cabinet members who went to public school.
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It’s now down to just 60% of them, compared with 65% in 2020.
To put that into perspective, just 7% of the rest of the population went to public school, so it is progress of a kind, but not that much.
It was strange timing for a reshuffle. Not so much designed to do anything except kick the Universal Credit scandal off the front pages.
Which, to be fair, worked.
My colleague on the Financial Times sussed out that the people Mr Johnson got rid of also happen to be the people who are least popular with Tory membership. Therefore, your current Cabinet is not a matter of competency – it’s a matter of popularity.
The weird move is keeping Dominic Raab around and just moving him to Justice. Even the Tory membership hate him. Strange how it works. I don’t know much about the cruise liner industry but I don’t reckon the bloke who crashed the Costa Concordia even gets an email back when he’s applying for jobs with P&O.
Different in politics. You can go on holiday as Kabul falls and they put you in charge of the criminal justice system. Mr Raab is not even a “senior lawyer” as billed. He is no more qualified for this vital role than I am qualified to work for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office just because I saw every episode of Quincy. The rest of them don’t look great either. There was a warm welcome for Nadhim Zahawi at education but largely because he’s not Gavin Williamson.
There was also the incredible news of Nadine Dorries getting Culture. Feel free to do your own King Herod/babysitting joke here – or variant of it.
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This is a line-up that has nothing to do with skill. The Prime Minister has done nothing more than surround himself with lots of people skilled at making the unpalatable palatable. That is largely his mission statement at the moment and we all have to get on with it.
Universal Credit is a mess, social care is a mess and people are starting to worry that we might be going to war with China. Quite a week.
Still, in brighter news, they brought imperial weights and measures back, in a stunning triumph for Brexit. Good stuff. It means that if you choose to blot out the horror of this whole thing by drinking yourself into oblivion, you can do it safe in the knowledge your pint glass has a little crown on it. Cheers.