The mini reshuffle earlier this morning is significant. David Cameron has moved Tory ‘greybeards’ to address problem areas. Cameron’s twitter feed has announced:
‘Delighted John Hayes joining me as a Senior Parliamentary adviser – and Michael Fallon adding a key energy role to his brief.’
Benedict Brogan and Tim Montgomerie have good analyses of what this means. In summary it appears that Hayes, a self-confessed ‘blue collar’ Tory and popular MP, is going briefless to the Cabinet Office to help the PM communicate government policy to the backbenches and the working classes. Hayes speaks in plain language. He has been pushing the energy bill through parliament, and has clashed openly with Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary. Fallon has been working at the business department. He is a highly respected figure, with a keen eye for deregulation and efficiency, which will be vital if the government is going to control energy costs and get a grip on the rising cost of living, a key part of their present strategy. Fallon is also a smoother operator than Hayes; and he should ease tensions within the coalition on energy policy.
These moves are being described as ‘promotions’ by aides; a sign that Cameron wants to be seen taking action, as well as keeping everyone involved happy (because Hayes would appear to have been demoted).