The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 12th January 2018

Night of the plastic knives

by Daphne Liddle

YET AGAIN Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to stamp her authority over her own party have resulted in the opposite of her intentions.

Earlier this week she announced a reshuffle that would mark a fresh start, but there were few changes and two of her ministers refused to accept their new positions.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, whose policies have led to crisis, chaos and disaster in the NHS so far this winter, refused to be moved from his post and demanded that as well as health he should also be put in charge of social care. He got his way.

And Justine Greening refused to be moved from her position as Education Secretary to being put in charge of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). She resigned from the Cabinet rather than take on that poisoned chalice and headed for the back benches.

Hunt’s refusal to budge had ‘knock-on’ effects on the rest of the planned shuffle. If May was really in charge she would have sacked him on the spot.

Toby Young, who was exposed as having sent vile racist, sexist and disablist comments on social media, resigned his new appointment to the board of the new Office for Students before the main reshuffle, when he should never have been appointed and should certainly have been removed from the post before he could resign.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities, said that Toby Young’s appointment to the board of the Office for students has left the university regulator with its “credibility in tatters.” She told the House of Commons that she was “flabbergasted” by Young’s comments, which she said “makes a mockery” of any commitment to equality.

Jo Johnson, brother of Boris Johnson, was appointed the new Universities Minister. But his continued support for Toby Young led to Johnson being moved this week to being Minister for London — a go-between linking the Cabinet with the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan commented that “at least Jo Johnson will be familiar with the problems facing London, his brother caused them.”

His big brother Boris continues in his post as Foreign Secretary in spite of endangering the life of an Anglo-Iranian woman charged with spying for Britain. He also quoted Rudyard Kipling’s poem Mandalay to the monks in a Buddhist temple in Myanmar — including the lines “...and the temple bells they say / Come you back you British soldier...” — before he was stopped by the British ambassador.

The major positions in the Cabinet now are: Prime Minister: Theresa May; Chancellor: Philip Hammond; Home Secretary: Amber Rudd; Foreign Secretary: Boris Johnson; Brexit Secretary: David Davis; Defence Secretary: Gavin Williamson; Northern Ireland Secretary: Karen Bradley; Justice Secretary: David Gauke; Health and Social Care Secretary: Jeremy Hunt; Business and Energy Secretary: Greg Clark; Housing and Communities Secretary: Sajid Javid; Culture, Media and Sports Secretary: Matt Hancock.

The new party chair is Brandon Lewis — but not before Number Ten had erroneously announced Chris Grayling for that spot.

Esther McVey is now the Secretary for Work and Pensions. In her former job as Minister for the Disabled she introduced changes that have led to destitution, suicides and deaths, as well as making the lives of poor children colder and hungrier.

A couple of years ago she said: “In the UK it is right that more people are.... going to food banks because as times are tough, we are all having to pay back this £1.5 trillion debt personally.”

When she frequently boasted the ‘claimant count’ was coming down all over the country, she forgot to mention that was because millions of deserving people had been kicked off benefits under her department’s reforms and were now destitute and having to use foodbanks.

The Liberal Democrat spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “The reshuffle is far from over but it is already being variously dismissed as ‘the night of the plastic knives’ and the ‘nothing has changed’ shake-up.”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell commented: “Reshuffle degenerating into farce. Jeremy Hunt creates worst NHS crisis in living memory and refuses to move jobs so gets rewarded with opportunity to screw up social care as well.”

The more the Tory leadership tries to climb out of the mire it has fallen into, the deeper it falls in. This is not a competent government and its authority to speak abroad for the people of Britain is zero. It must resign and call a new general election and allow Labour into office.