Martin Bright

Why the Reshuffle is a Nightmare for Brown

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There are a number of peculiar aspects of the political moment through which we are living: the fact that the Prime Minister has no mandate from the country or his own party, the collapse of the economy, the meltdown at Westminster.

But never before have we had a political moment where junior ministers will be praying not to be promoted and Cabinet ministers will be relieved to be leaving the government. When they are reshuffled, Jacqui Smith and Alistair Darling will be delighted to join the backbenches (although in Darling's case the torture may continue if he gets the Home Secretary job). Who in their right mind would want to work in this government now?

Has there ever been a time when the attractions of power have simply drained away like this?