Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The night of the blunt knives

It has been variously characterised as the night of the blunt knives or the night of the long plastic knives, but Theresa May's reshuffle was another presentational disaster, emphasising once again the limits of her authority.

The problems started with Chris Grayling being named as party chairman (he apparently was in the frame) only for this to be corrected some time later. Jeremy Hunt was then able to resist being moved from Health and ended up with an expanded portfolio. An attempt to shift Justine Greening to Work and Pensions ended up with her leaving the government.

If anything demonstrates the limits of Mrs May's authority, it is the grinning visage of Andrea Leadsom on Twitter this morning celebrating her continuation in office as Leader of the House. Her departure was widely anticipated, but although Mrs May is said to have a low opinion of her, she remained in place.

Apparently Downing Street cat Larry has been rebranded as Minister for Rodent Control. One thing is clear: Mrs May isn't in control. But this does not mean she is in any real danger, as there is no clear successor.

Not surprisingly, George Osborne's Evening Standard is critical, praising her for the hat trick of the worst manifesto, the worst conference speech and the worst reshuffle: Prime minister's essential weakness

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