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Substance or those Titanic deck chairs?

By Jim Hancock

By Jim Hancock

Jim asks if this week's government reshuffle is good for business or just amounts to moving those Titanic deck chairs. He also thinks there's a once in a blue moon chance of City being expelled from the Premiership in the near future.

The Prime Minister conducted a mini reshuffle this week. One of its aims was to sharpen the government’s game in growing the economy.

So, we have Grant Shapps focusing on the increasingly important issue of energy. He is the great survivor, having been in ministerial posts since the Tories came to power in 2010. I have never been able to see the attraction, but Sunak is the latest Prime Minister to put his faith in him.

The other appointments are all in keeping with this government’s excellent record of promoting diversity. Michelle Donelan takes on the newly created cabinet post of Science, Innovation and Technology. Most politicians lack knowledge about these subjects which are essential for the new jobs we need.

Kemi Badenoch who is thought of by some as future Prime Ministerial material heads up business and trade. Let’s see if she can realise the global Britain that Brexiteers envisaged. Finally the bright Lucy Frazer takes on Culture, Media and Sport.

Some hoped a Minister for the North would be appointed. I’m glad the Prime Minister avoided such tokenism. Such a person would have no rooted department and would be ignored by the big beasts of Whitehall. However there is a lack of ministers from the North West. The nearest nod to the Red Wall is Lee Anderson. The Nottinghamshire MP has been appointed Deputy Chairman of the Party. Opinion is divided on whether his opinion that poor people wouldn’t need food banks if they could learn to cook will go down with the new Tory working class in the North.

This reshuffle is unlikely to repair the reputational damage done in the Prime Minister in his first 100 days. There has been little sign of the ethical cleansing Sunak promised after the Johnson sleaze and the Truss chaos. The resignation of Gavin Williamson, the sacking of party chairman Nadhim Zahawi is followed by continued doubt about the suitability of the Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to remain in post over bullying allegations. The investigation is taking far too long.

The reshuffle has some good points and if it is motivated by trying to get ministers and business in better alignment to create growth, then good. If it is a bit of displacement activity from a government in an economic hole battling public service workers, then it is unlikely to work.


The Premier League have thrown down the gauntlet against Manchester City over alleged financial irregularities that I am in no position to comment on.

However I did want to make some observations about the wild speculation that City will be expelled from the Premier League and even not accepted into the EFL!.

On the first point, don’t hold your breath on City being thrown out of the big boys club. Years of legal wrangling lie before us and City have already reversed a UEFA attempt to ban them from Europe.

On the point that City couldn’t ply its trade in the EFL, it is claimed the size of the lower leagues can’t be increased. That could be dealt with by just relegating two clubs plus City from the Premier League. Also the idea that Hull, Preston and Blackburn wouldn’t want the huge gates that City would bring to their stay in the Championship is fanciful.

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