You’ll have had your reshuffle. It was supposed to be Theresa May putting her stamp of authority on her rebellious party, but instead her rebellious party stamped on her. You might have thought that Jeremy Hunt, who is in charge of the flatlining NHS in England where the only machine that goes beep is the one in his head, would be a prime candidate for a demotion, or at least a sideways shuffle – which would be considerably more movement than the patients waiting in English A&E departments. However Jeremy refused to budge, and Theresa is so politically weak that she couldn’t force him. Instead she expanded his authority. Boris Johnson, who makes bumbling incompetents seem like Japanese railway schedulers, retains his full capacity to embarrass the UK on the world stage. Theresa wouldn’t dare demote him.
Justine Greening decided she’d rather waltz off to the back benches rather than be moved from education to the DWP. Now she’ll join the ranks of those plotting Theresa’s downfall. It tells us all we need to know about Conservative priorities that Theresa May wants to remove the comprehensive supporting and free school sceptic Justine Greening from education, but she was still backing the appointment of Toby Young to the new university watchdog. That’s the Toby who is in favour of eugenics and selective breeding for higher IQs, who doesn’t like accessibility ramps for disabled kids, and who has serially tweeted about the size of women’s breasts. Personally I might be in favour of eugenics if it were possible to selectively breed out dickheads like Toby. Unfortunately the Conservatives seem to possess an unlimited supply of them.
Thankfully, Toby Young has now announced his resignation. We can now look forward to a parade of British nationalist journalists publishing columns telling us how terrible it is that Toby is being silenced for his youthful indiscretions even though he made most of them when he was already a supposedly responsible adult. It’s a dreadful digital inquisition, otherwise known as people accurately quoting his own words back at him. This is the man who wrote a scathing review of the movie I Daniel Blake claiming that it didn’t ring true because the main character wasn’t like any of the people in Channel 5’s poverty porn programmes. Daily Mail journalists were tweeting that “political correctness” was sapping public life of talented people. Which would be true, but only if the talent you had in mind was a talent for being offensive and a bit of an arsepiece. What’s really sapping public life of talented people is the nepotism and cronyism of this government. Toby Young is best pals with Boris Johnson and the foreign secretary’s brother, the newly appointed transport minister Jo Johnson.
It’s a sign of the utter moral bankruptcy of the Conservative party that Toby Young jumped instead of being pushed. His resignation comes after over 200,000 people signed a petition demanding that he be removed from office. Almost 340,000 have signed a petition demanding that Jeremy Hunt be removed from office, but he got a promotion instead. Toby Young has performed one valuable public service though. Just when you thought that Theresa May couldn’t look any weaker or less principled, there comes Toby to prove you wrong. When Toby Young displays a better grasp of ethics than the Conservative party, you know you’ve got a problem.
Incidentally, one of the targets of Toby’s sexist tweets was former Airdrie MP, the Labour party’s Pamela Nash. Pamela is now head of controversial Scotland in Union, an organisation mired in controversy but whose name most of the Scottish papers strangely fail to prefix with “controversial”. It’s only independence supporting bloggers who merit that title. Controversial indy bloggers get sidelined by the media, controversial Conservative journalists get offered lucrative jobs by the government. Compare and contrast.
The new appointments signalled a shift to the right in a party which has already surrendered what passes for its soul to the right. After Justine Greening refused the gig, Esther McVey was appointed as head of the Department of Work and Pensions instead, which is like putting the Child Snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in charge of children’s services. A couple of years ago, Esther justified the proliferation of foodbanks in the UK. She thinks it’s only what you should expect. Eh yeah Esther, it’s only what you should expect when the DWP is leaving people without any means of feeding themselves. It’s only what you should expect when, like Esther, you have consistently voted to reduce benefits and to make life even more difficult for people who are already struggling. She has always voted against raising income tax on people who are paid more than £150,000 though, because it’s only poor people who should shoulder the burden of paying for the bankers’ mistakes. The last time Esther was in charge of the DWP people voted her out of office. We can but hope.
Despite the election of a fitba team’s worth of Tory MPs from Scotland, David Mundell is still the only one of them deemed competent enough to have an official position in the Scotland Office. There are broken shopping trolleys in Morrisons which have a better sense of direction and more autonomy of movement than a Scottish Tory MP. But then a broken shopping trolley in Morrisons also has a better grasp of what’s devolved and what’s reserved to Westminster than your average Scottish Conservative MP. Plus you can put things in a broken shopping trolley and they’ll stay there. Tory MP Ross Thomson has a famously open mind, but that’s only because ideas fall out of his left ear as soon as another one enters his right. If ever another Forth crossing is needed, we can save a fortune on digging a tunnel by simply installing the space between Ross’s ears.
There’s still no agreement with the Scottish government on the Brexit Bill. It’s so bad that even three Conservative MPs have recommended that the Scottish Government rejects the bill in its current form. A constitutional crisis is looming, but all we get from Scottish Tory MPs are complaints that the Scottish government ought to be doing things in areas where the powers are reserved to Westminster.
In a sign of trouble ahead, there are reports that Theresa May is also to appoint a minister for no-deal Brexit. The truth is there’s no need for the Prime Minister to appoint a minister for failure because all her cabinet are already doing that job. It’s the only one that they’re any good at.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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