Sunak’s reshuffle shows he’s out of ideas
Well that was exciting wasn’t it? Not. Rishi Sunak has confirmed his reputation as a political leader who is much more interested in detail than in vision. There is nothing here to suggest that his government has a dream: a conception of the future for the country that might inspire or even vaguely interest anyone who sees politics as potentially life-changing. But never mind, that idea is gone on all sides of the electoral divide (if, indeed, there is an electoral divide anymore). What we have here is a small scale re-arrangement not only of people but of departmental responsibilities. There may be some significance in the new nomenclature.
The old Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which had always sounded like a bit of a catch-all, has been broken up. There is now a separate Whitehall establishment called Energy Security to be headed by Grant Shapps - presumably because the matter of secure energy supply has recently become a major political theme. But something quite new has been slipped in too. There is to be an official department of Net Zero - also headed by Mr Shapps. What this must mean is that Net Zero is being installed as a permanent fixture in government policy. What this will amount to precisely remains to be seen but it is clearly intended to suggest that there will be no withdrawing from the commitment to making the UK carbon neutral (but not necessarily by the current deadline).
Greg Hands as party chairman is a sensible, if rather uninspiring, choice. Penny Mordaunt’s wit and charm would probably have achieved more magic with Tory supporters. The promotion of Kemi Badenoch is excellent. She should get much more public exposure as the face of truly progressive politics.
It is difficult to say precisely what moving Digital away from what was the DCMS (now presumably just CMS) is intended to imply. Perhaps just that the word Digital has now become very prominent in public discourse. So much of this is about semantics and emphasis. If there is an overall impression, it is one of caution and unadventurous technical fiddling. But I suppose that is what the Sunak government is all about.