At the center of the reshuffle are two questions:
Can Whitehall deliver the change Boris Johnson wants to implement?
And too much power is accumulated in the hands of n. 10?
There are all sorts of other remarks to make about the reshuffle such as the rise of the Tories with leave vote and the tolerance of mediocre talents like Priti Patel and Gavin Williamson, but they are of less importance than the fact that Johnson is creating a dangerous precedent with its grasping power or creating a new government structure that could transform the way power is distributed.
Dominic Cummings has long considered Whitehall unsuitable for the purpose.
If you have the energy and time to waste, you can read his various blogs on the subject which, ironically, for someone interested in efficiency, he could do with a discreet sub editor.
The reshuffle shows his answer to what he considers the intransigence of the civil service is to gather even more power in n. 10.
Sajid Javid walked because he refused to comply with Downing Street’s request that his advisors would report to them.
But it is not only the Treasury that must be an undisputed customer of the Cummings diktats.
All the departmental special advisers have been drawn into its expanding network. This build-up of power can prove justified if the government can show improvements in the way it offers voters.
But it could be expensive.
If you want a job in Johnson’s Cabinet you don’t have to be competent, just compliant.
After the elections we have been promised a popular parliament, instead we are getting an increasingly reluctant presidential leader who is not willing to report any dissent.
Intolerance to any form of opposition is not limited to the toilet table.
The N. 10 has already tried to muzzle political journalists, threaten the BBC and curb the power of the courts.
The Prime Minister may have to learn the hard way good leaders embrace criticism rather than try to ban it.
Yesterday he was informed that Johnson feared that if Sajid Javid remained in his post they would repeat the tensions of the Tee-bee Gee-bee that defined the years of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Veterans of the Blair administration will admit that relationships were often difficult, but Brown’s willingness to challenge n. 10 had its advantages.
Ed Balls likes to point out that if it weren’t for Brown, then we might have joined the euro.
He also stressed that if George Osborne had been more willing to resist David Cameron, the EU referendum would never have taken place.
John Maynard Keynes regarded the treasury as a “bulwark against overwhelming evil”.
With a flexible Chancellor in place and a Poodle Cabinet nodding, which is there to prevent n. 10 of arrogance and pride?
10:00 am – The new cabinet meets for the first time.
20:00 – Rebecca Long-Bailey meets in Glasgow in view of the pressures of the Labor leadership in the city on Saturday.
Midnight – Nominations end in the race for Labor leadership. Will Emily Thornberry make the cut?
What I am reading:
Philip Collins in the Times (£) on how the reshuffle shows weakness in the heart of n. 10.