Should they stay or should they go? Cabinet September shuffle analysis – Liberal Article
In September, it seems likely that the PM will shuffle members of his cabinet around once again. He has had two different cabinets within a year and has had a number of key figures leave the cabinet during his tenure. To have another one seems unprecedented, but understandable with his poll ratings plummeting. So, today I will analyse some of the big names in the cabinet and decide whether or not they should stay.
First up is Rishi Sunak. A rather unknown backbencher not long ago, his rise has been impressive. He has done a fantastic job managing the economy in these chaotic times, being one of the few members I think everyone can agree should stay. Cool, calm, collected during this pandemic. Definitely a stay!
I would assume Dominic Raab is the first on the PM’s hitlist. Not the only Dominic that should probably leave Downing Street in September either. Although he has been incredibly busy travelling the eastern hemisphere for post-Brexit trade deals, he has to go. Comparing ‘taking the knee’ to Game of Thrones is shameful, and defending President Donald Trump is embarrassing. The list is long, but I’m sure the PM’s patience is much thinner. He must go.
Priti Patel should join him. I hope we can all understand why. If Boris Johnson wants any hope of increasing his popularity Priti Patel has to leave.
Gove hasn’t shone bright this pandemic. However, he hasn’t faulted as much as others, acting as a surprisingly sensible voice for the Conservative leadership. That’s not to say he is everything he should be, but out of this lot, he is someone who stands out.
Hancock has to go I think. Constantly getting stats wrong, picking fights with footballers during a national crisis and not prepping the NHS well for this pandemic. There are a number of reasons he should even be first on Boris Johnson’s hit list if Priti Patel hadn’t already taken the spot. However, I doubt he will find himself without a position come September. It has been an incredibly difficult task for him to face, and I feel most do have a sense of pitiful admiration for him. This could mean he may be saved despite the need for him to go.
Oliver Dowden, a minor figure in the cabinet, has done an efficient job as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He has communicated well with sports teams across the country and has brought a controlled, all be it possibly quick, return for football. I hope he continues.
Elizabeth Truss has, in my opinion, not been vocal enough as Minister for Equality during the Black Lives Matter protests. She should be at the front of the party supporting minority voices. She should agree with the bringing down of statues, and trying to improve what has become a very backwards image bestowed on the Conservatives once again.
I do want to make one special mention of Alex Chalk. As most of you know, I have huge admiration for the extremely centre-right Conservative. One of the few Conservatives that gives me hope for the Conservative Party. He has risen rather quickly through being offered a junior ministerial position at the start of the year. He is one of the few Conservatives to make front pages for a good reason this year after agreeing to a bipartisan law with Labour and Liberal Democrats announcing that the ‘Rough Sex’ will be banned as a defence for murder. His Senior, Robert Buckland, should remain as well.
Overall, it is very hard to tell what the changes will be. The only Conservative cabinet members to reach the front pages have usually been for the wrong reasons. The rest of the cabinet has barely had time to make their voices heard. All in all, I expect Priti Patel and Dominic Raab to be the first two out the door come September.
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of information
A cabinet rife with incompetence – a Labour response
I must start by warmly backing my Liberal colleague’s praises of the Chancellor’s actions during the pandemic. It is comforting to know that even the most right-wing government of the last couple of decades is aware of the need to support its citizens during a crisis. We only have to look across the pond to see the devastating consequences of a cruelly neglectful state.
Obviously, I personally would like to see a Labour cabinet convening in Number Ten. However, if the Prime Minister were to reshuffle, there are several dangerously incompetent ministers who should have been long gone by now.
Top of the list has to indeed be Priti Patel. The Home Secretary brought an alarmingly Thatcheresque attitude to one of the most important offices of state. She clashed disastrously with Whitehall and enacted some appallingly harmful immigration legislation. One of the most embarrassing of the government’s several recent u-turns – the NHS surcharge for migrant health workers – was the final nail in the coffin for Ms Patel.
Another relic that is itching to be thrown out is Jacob Rees-Mogg. Holding veritably antique positions on social issues, the distasteful toff is an embarrassment to the nation. His latest blunder with the enforced in-person voting in the Commons was disgraceful and shows just how out of touch the man is.
Finally, Matt Hancock’s tracking app saga reveals him to be a politician hopelessly out of his depth. The Health Secretary promised a world-leading app to be finished by mid-May. Then spent nearly £12 million on the project, only to abandon it last week. If that doesn’t reek of incompetence, I don’t know what does.
Written by Labour Writer, Max Ingleby
A reset ahead of the next set of challenges — a Conservative response
During the pandemic, the government has seemed, at times, reactionary rather than in control. Johnson needs a new-ish slate, and to set out a strategy to tackle the next phase of challenges. To create this slate, he needs to roll some heads.
Machiavelli’s The Prince is certainly something Mr Johnson has read. The relevant and stark parable that comes to my mind, is Machiavelli’s account of Cesare Borgia in Romagna.
Borgia had issues with subduing Romagna, and so dispatched a lieutenant (Ramiro) to perform his dirty work. Once pacified, the people were incredibly disgruntled with Ramiro and, by fiat, Borgia. So, one day, the people of Romagna awoke to find Ramiro in the main square, on a block, cut in half. At once, they were stupefied & appeased.
Now, this is obviously hyperbolic. However, Machiavelli’s core message is pertinent: leaders may serve themselves by using scapegoats. In the cabinet, I certainly see a few Ramiro’s.
So, who may find themselves on the block?
Firstly, I must agree with my colleagues that it should not be Rishi Sunak. So far, he has performed very well, making available that which has needed to be. However, his greatest challenge will be the recoup, along with the coming economic downturn.
Hancock, I think, is gone. The most vulnerable, in my view: misquoting statistics, the track-and-trace app, and being made to look somewhat a fool by Marcus Rashford with the school meals fiasco.
Patel may stay. Large parts of the Tory core vote are not wholly in favour of the BLM protests. The optics of removing Patel may be seen as ‘pandering to the left’, a possible own goal for Johnson. Personal opinions aside, it may be an astute political move to keep her.
Raab could join Hancock. He compared the ‘taking the knee’ of BLM, to a fantasy television drama, and has repeatedly caused confusion with conflicting messages on easing the lockdown.
Johnson has a lot of work to do. Appeasing his own party and the electorate, mitigating an economic crash, navigating the exiting of lockdown, and — the cherry on top — finally sorting Brexit. At the moment, the cabinet is starting to run aground; it needs a reset once lockdown has eased and to charter a deliberate course.
Written by Conservative Writer, Alexander Dennis