Political Snippet: Soft-shoe shuffle
Zen is unexpectedly in the news this week after Labour leader, Ed Miliband disclosed he uses Zenlike techniques to keep his cool in his highly taxing job (no pun intended).
It’s an interesting choice. Zen can be done anywhere, even at PMQs where over-excitement is endemic. Facing the wrath and scorn of “the party opposite” with a Buddhalike insouciance will add much to his lustre.
It certainly puts him ahead of Dave as an homme serieux with an interesting hinterland.
By contrast the PM was apparently spotted downing a bottle of red wine during his government reshuffle this week. Boozing at one’s desk while working is strictly verboten in most establishments, except Fleet Street.
Maybe Old Etonians do it as a sign of effortless superiority. I do hope it was a good clawet.
Perhaps it was a rush of the red stuff to the head that led him to appoint lightweight Jeremy Hunt to Health. Here’s a man who can’t even ring a bell without nearly killing someone.
Double lambadas all round, then?
Keeping George Osborne next door was another mistake. He’s obviously done all he can at the Treasury now. Recent decisions, including the Budget, have smacked of desperation.
Then there’s the excellent Philip Hammond at Defence. Not the soldiering type, he’s wasted at the MoD and has surely sorted out its deficit by now. A swap with George would have seen him return to the swamp he shadowed so well in opposition. An opportunity missed?
As for the rest, David Laws to Education has a clunky feel to it. Surely Dave isn’t having doubts about the redoubtable Govester, reportedly his best buddy?
Couldn’t Laws have been given a Treasury role? Better still, replacing Vince Cable at Biz would have been a real cork popping moment. It’s time Vince put on his dancing shoes and waltzed out of Whitehall.
Vince’s earlier Les Ebdon appointment for university entrance was utterly inexplicable. He is now demanding that half of places at the elite universities of the Russell Group be allotted according to parental income.
Given that most colleges take large numbers of overseas students to balance the books, many of Britain’s most talented youngsters will be struggling to find a decent berth in higher education if this is acted upon. Cameron could have effortlessly moved tertiary education over to David Laws in his new job, giving him something meaty to chew on.
Dave clearly needs to follow Master Miliband’s lead and take up Zen. A period of masterly inactivity would be welcome.
So that was the reshuffle that was. Was what, I’m not sure, but it didn’t tickle the ivories for me.