Peter Divey postulates on the anticipated Cabinet reshuffle and offers his thoughts on who should stay and who should go.
The last time the PM went for a stroll she returned sufficiently invigorated to make a momentous decision… we all know how that went. All eyes will be on the Prime Minister now that she has returned and although she will surely not be as invigorated this time a modest re-shuffle must await. The bickering, briefing, counter-briefing and jockeying has been as unedifying as it was inevitable. Whitehall mandarins to whom Brexit is anathema have been able to manipulate the Cabinet into public posturing. This is nothing less than succour to a watching and gleeful EU. The public are being prepared to expect an implementation period as well as a more controversial Brexit bill.
The usual tactics are being employed: lets get a figure out there and see what is politically and publicly acceptable. £60 billion, nope, too much kickback… £50 billion, nope, what about £36 billion, surely that will wash? No, still too much noise… £10 billion, ah, that is quieter. Same process for the transition period… but look, says the Chancellor, my Treasury mandarins have been insisting that a grace period of ten years is a necessity…haven’t I done well getting it down to only three years, are you not relieved? It is nothing more than a de-sensitisation programme. We are being coaxed into something so that we no longer recognise what it is, a bribe. Pay-up or we won’t play says the EU. Some argue that a financial payment is worthwhile if the deal is right. Some compromises have never been acceptable.
The Prime Minister will not be short of advice, most well meaning, some ill-judged and some deliberately misleading or even injurious. Into this maelstrom I now add my two-penneth worth. I have lost confidence in the Chancellor and would replace him with John Redwood. I like Boris but diplomacy is not his forte, this is the perfect position for one J R Mogg. I would offer Boris Amber Rudd’s role, but not in expectation… and surely Boris would be better suited away from ministerial constraints where he could once again be fully himself. It all depends on the sweetness of that Alpine air….