Cameron’s candidate list is like his cabinet: full of empty suits

David Cameron and Tory election candidate Chris Davies: A suit full of hot air next to a suit full of nothing at all.

David Cameron and Tory election candidate Chris Davies: A suit full of hot air next to a suit full of nothing at all.

Here’s one to file under “missed opportunities”: David Cameron passed within seven miles of Vox Political central and we didn’t know about it.

He made a surprise visit to the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Radnorshire, to talk about some agricultural scheme – but we don’t need to discuss that. Nor do we need to discuss the fact that the bronze bull statue in nearby Builth Wells town centre was found to have had its tail ripped off shortly after the visit; it would be wrong to suggest that the comedy Prime Minister was responsible but if he starts sporting a uniquely-shaped swagger stick, well, you read it here first.

We don’t even need to discuss the fact that Cameron arrived by helicopter, which is an exorbitantly expensive form of travel. Yr Obdt Srvt was watching a documentary about a Doctor Who serial made in 1969 and featuring a helicopter – just starting the rotors cost £70, which was a lot more money then than it is now! Next time you hear that there isn’t enough money around, bear in mind that this government always has the cash to hire out a pricey chopper!

No, Dear Reader – what was really shocking was the fact that Cameron allowed himself to be photographed with Chris Davies, the Tory Potential Parliamentary Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire – a man who this blog has outed as having no ideas of his own, who parrots the party line from Conservative Central Headquarters and who cannot respond to a reasoned argument against the drivel that he reels off. Not only that but the new Secretary of State for Wales was also at the Showground – his name is Stephen Crabb and he is on record as saying that the role is “emptied and somewhat meaningless”.

Bearing this in mind, those who didn’t attend the event, but would like to recreate the spectacle of David Cameron flanked by Messrs Davies and Crabb, can simply fill a few children’s party balloons with hot air, arrange them in a roughly human shape, and put a suit on them – that’s Cameron – then add two more, empty, suits on either side.

Discussion of empty suits brings us inexorably to the dramatic cabinet reshuffle Cameron carried out last week, in which he replaced his team of tired but recognisable old fools with a gaggle of new fools nobody’s ever heard of. The whole situation is reminiscent of a routine that Ben Elton did back in 1990, when he was still a Leftie comedian.

Still topical: Ben Elton's 'cabinet reshuffle' routine from 1990.

Still topical: Ben Elton’s ‘cabinet reshuffle’ routine from 1990.

The parallel with today is so close that the routine may be paraphrased to fit the moment:

These days the cabinet minister is a seriously endangered species, constantly culled by the boss… How stands the team today? All the personalities have been de-teamed, and Mr Cameron was rather left with a rack full of empty suits. So he reshuffled Philip Hammond, a suit full of bugger-all from Defence across to the Foreign Office. Then he reshuffled Nicky Morgan, a skirt-suit full of bugger-all who had been at the Treasury for 13 whole weeks. She was reshuffled to Education and is also now Minister for Women and Equalities. A suit full of bugger-all called Wright, who nobody had heard of that morning, became Attorney General. This is the British cabinet we are dealing with; not the local tea club.

Now Nicky Morgan, come on, be honest, six months ago, who’d heard of her? Hardly anyone. Since then she’s been Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Education Secretary; nobody can say the girl hasn’t done well because she has. She reminds me of Jedward – everyone’s saying, ‘She may be rubbish but at least she’s trying!’

Who the hell is Jeremy Wright? He’s the Attorney General, that’s who. When he leaves home for work in the morning, even his wife doesn’t recognise him! ‘Bye bye darling – who the hell are you?’ … I confidently expect to see Keith Lemon elevated to cabinet status, with Gary Lineker becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer due to his amazing powers of prediction (“The Germans really fancy their chances, but I don’t see that”). He’ll be joined at the Treasury by financial wizard Jimmy Carr. Katie Hopkins takes over as Iain Duncan Smith so no change there.

140724cabinet3

This isn’t a party political thing. There have been lots of towering figures in cabinet before. Tebbit! Heseltine! … Lawson! You may not have liked them but at least you’d heard of them! These days, what have you got? The only reason a ‘dramatic’ reshuffle is ‘dramatic’ is because it takes so long to prise all their faces off the team leader’s backside, that’s why! They’re all stuck down there like limpets; they’re clinging on to the mother ship! If they all breathed in at once, they’d turn him inside-out.

That’s why they all speak so strangely – their tongues are all bruised and knotted from the team leader trying to untangle the top Tory tagliatelli flapping about behind.

Cabinet government is one of the safeguards of our precious democracy. It involves discussion, consensus, and it has produced great cabinets on both sides of the House. Churchill – the largest, perhaps the greatest political figure in the last century – a Tory, he was a constant thorn in the side of his boss, Baldwin. Wilson included Tony Benn, even though they were never friends, let’s face it. Heath employed Mrs Thatcher. They all understood that cabinet is a microcosm of democracy – but these days, it’s different. Nobody must dissent in cabinet. And nobodies are exactly what we’ve got.

There was more talent and personality in JLS – and at least they knew when to quit.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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3 thoughts on “Cameron’s candidate list is like his cabinet: full of empty suits

  1. John

    There is one worrying aspect to some of the new appointments. Morgan, for example, is a religious lunatic – and she is in charge of all the country’s schools, where she can proselytise her christian fundamentalism to an extraordinary degree.
    Cameron and his talk of our “christian” heritage – when the country is becoming increasingly secularised – is a true indicator of a “conservative” mindset.
    Why is anyone surprised that Operation Trojan Horse turned out to have a large element of truth in its accusations? I do not blame the schools, parents or governors involved; they were simply following the governmental line of shoving religion down everyone else’s throats – whether they wanted it or not.
    Warsi – the so-called Minister of Faith in the Cabinet – pushed religion anywhere and everywhere for the last 4 years – so why is anyone surprised by the outcome?
    The Tories are unlike former ones in that they are ideologically motivated in a particular way which former Tories were not; they were usually pragmatic.
    The REAL let-down is the Liberals without whose uncritical support the Tories could not get away with half of what thery have inflicted on the people of our country.
    I look forward to the whole ConDem mess being chucked out next year.

  2. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Mike uses Cameron’s visit to the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelweidd, Radnorshire, to show just what a bunch of walking vacuities he has promoted into the cabinet. He contrasts this with the governmental style of Baldwin, Ted Heath, and Harold Wilson, all of whom were not afraid to include powerful dissenting figures in their cabinets. He even points out how memorable Thatcher’s cabinet were, with powerful personalities like Tebbit, Heseltine, and Lawson. Although Roy Hattersley did say that being attacked by Geoffrey Howe was like being savaged by a dead sheep.
    The days when prime ministers dared to include figures in their cabinet, who just might challenge them are long gone. Matthew Paris, in his book on political scandals, states that he found the experience of being a cabinet minister entirely dispiriting. You were there to vote and do whatever the prime minister wanted you to do, and although to others outside parliament you were a powerful figure of authority, in the House itself you were acutely aware of your powerlessness. In his experience, your vanity and ego grew as your real power and sense of self-worth shrank. He illustrated this further with an anecdote about his part in a march by the Longbridge workers in Birmingham to persuade the government to keep the car plant and its jobs open. He was there with his opposite number from the Labour party. As he was walking, one of the ladies said to him, ‘Mr. Paris, I’m so glad you’re here with us. I feel really confident that with you here, we’ll win and get the prime minister to reverse the decision’. When he heard that, write Paris, he felt utterly wretched, as he knew that despite his presence with the marchers, the decision to close it had already been taken, and nothing he could do would reverse that.
    Of course, Major faced a leadership challenge from his cabinet, most notably from Heseltine, and then John Redwood and the ‘B*stards’, who, according to Private Eye, he called ‘Ward 8 from Broadmoor’. But politics has become increasingly micromanaged. This was particularly true of Tony Blair, who, like Cameron, was also accused of promoting young, attractive women, who had no obvious talents except that they supported him. They were called ‘the Blair babes’. Cameron’s done exactly the same, along with promoting a similar number of male nonentities to power.

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