Sunday, September 02, 2012

Reshuffles, Rebellions and Coalition Tensions

Back to the politics of Westminster tomorrow. Warming up on Post Cynta from the Newtown studio at 8.10 in the morning. Don't know what its about except that its a sort of 'first day back' interview. So expect to hear stuff about 'reshuffle', rebellious backbenches and coalition tensions. I'll be doing my best to sound as if everything is under control. Which it is - or is that me practising!

Lets take these issues in turn. I am so sick of reshuffle talk - especially when its focused on individuals I like. No point in thinking about the big guns, who I would be shocked to see moved. And already made my support for Cheryl Gillan known in a recent blog. She's been good to me.  And I have huge admiration for Sir George Young, Patrick McLoughlin and Ken Clarke, who are often included in the gossip. But the PM will have to make some room for new faces - and the two I'd really like to see in the cabinet are Chris Grayling and David Laws. But I've never seen the point in reshuffling for its own sake.

The media is really trying to make a big issue of Tory backbench rebellion - and yet all the newspapers today can do is repeat the same few names of a disloyal half dozen. In any case, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with the 'party line'. We all do that sometimes. The disloyalty comes from the 'where, when and how' its done - if its a genuine conscience disagreement, or a desire to undermine. They know who they are. Personally, I reckon the Conservative Party is as united as its reasonable to expect.

And then there's coalition tensions. No point in arguing that our coalition partners are not under pressure. The Lib Dem opinion poll indicators are dire. It would be very surprising if Nick Clegg wasn't making a few noises off to establish his 'independence' and 'distinctiveness'. In a few weeks time he has to face his activists at the Lib Dem party conference. I'm keen for the coalition to stand together, so want the DPM to stay - and feel sure he will.

All in all, I'm feeling quite relaxed about the politics - even if I cannot say the same for our public finances. Perhaps Gary Owen will want to talk about something else altogether in the morning. One of the joys of the 2010-2015 Parliament is that I have no real idea of what's going to happen tomorrow - which is why there is so much scope for us to gossip.

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