Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The reshuffle..

"Hague out in cull of middle-aged white men" is the Telegraph's splash this morning. "Purge of the middle-aged men" says the Mail. The Indy goes one further: "Cameron's massacre of the men in suits""Hague Out in Cameron Bloodbath" roars the Mirror. "Hague resigns in dramatic Tory reshuffle" is the Guardian's somewhat more measured headline. "You're his-tory" quips the Sun. 
"The massacre of the moderates" is Labour's line. Ken Clarke, the last great Europhile, is gone. Dominic Grieve is gone - and with him, any real obstacle to a Tory commitment to withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights at the next election. But hang on a moment. Owen Paterson, moderate? David Jones, moderate?  Alan Duncan, moderate? Pull the other one. Even if Liam Fox does make a return to the Cabinet, it looks incredibly likely that the Right will be one down at the Cabinet table when the dust settles. 
The truth it is that it was a bad night for almost anyone who could have plausibly served as an extra in the original version of House of Cards, whether they came from the Tory Left or the Right. As I wrote yesterday, this reshuffle was always going to be dominated by David Cameron's preparations for the battle to come. William Hague's earlier-than-expected exit from the Foreign Office retirement leaves one of the Conservatives' best assets with more time on his hands to make the Tory case on the airwaves and the pavements. The clearing of the old guard, meanwhile, leaves the way free for the new generation to make the case to the country next year. 
Also glimpsed being summoned to the PM's side last night was Grant Shapps. But it wasn't a resignation, but a reception for more than a hundred Conservative volunteers, thanking them for their efforts so far and firing them up for what's still to come. Yesterday was about the sackings. Today is about reinforcements. 

Charles Clarke has a new book out and he's given an interview with the Huffington Post. He's not convinced by Labour's message at the last election or next: "We simply said 'Don't vote Conservative!' and, in my opinion, that wasn't enough and we're coming to a position in 2015 where we're basically saying the same again." The party has "no narrative", he says, but "an assembly of odd policies like the electricity freeze or whatever". There's still a small chance Ed Miliband can turn it around, but "the most likely outcome [in 2015] is a Tory overall majority". Read Steven Swinford's take here.
The cross-party truce on passing the emergency surveillance bill, Drip, has broken down, Patrick Wintour and Alan Travis report in the Guardian. Yvette Cooper has tabled two amendments that do not change the powers in the law but introducing mandatory six-month reviews of the power and a commitment to hold an overarching review of surveillance legislation by the end of 2016. Ms Cooper criticised the government for leaving Drip "until the last minute". MAYDAY! MAYDAY! 
Baroness Butler-Sloss has stepped down as chairman of the inquiry into child abuse claims following criticism of her links to the establishment. Her resignation - just six days after her appointment - is an embarrassment for the government and led to an uncomfortable grilling for Theresa May in the House of Commons. She appeared "in control of her facial functions, if not her department," reports Ann TrenemanNOT A BAD COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, ACTUALLY
Pensioners are enjoying a bigger income than those of working-age for the first time, while the young have "borne the brunt of the recession", the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found. The proportion of young people who own homes has more than halved in the past two decades, falling from 45% to 21% today. It's age, not region or class, that has made the biggest difference to incomes after the crisis, the IFS says.
Jean-Claude Juncker will be confirmed as the new President of the European Commission later today, amid fears that Dave will pay a heavy price for trying to block his appointment. Diplomatic sources have told the Telegraph that M Juncker intends to seek retribution for the campaign against him (Peter Dominiczak and Bruno Waterfield have the story).  The Internal Markets post that Mr Cameron covets for his chosen Commissioner is a no-go, apparently, and the roles of Competition and Energy are both unlikely to fall into British hands.
DARLING WARNS OF POISONED DEBATEAlistair Darling has an interview with the FT. He warns that the vitriol being hurled by both sides is putting people off from getting involved. It's worse than "any other campaign I have been involved in", which, coming from a veteran of Scottish Labour, student politics and the Blair-Brown era, is a pretty damning verdict on the state of the referendum battle. "We all have to live together" after the referendum, Mr Darling reminded both Scottish Unionists and Nationalists.
Britain will enter the space race! The Government will unveil eight potential sites for Britain's first "spaceport", from which rockets would carry satellites, astronauts and tourists by 2018. The spaceport will be the only one of its kind outside America, and will be a potential launchpad for commercial companies such as Virgin Galactic. Dan Lewis of the IoD has described Britain's space industry - worth about £11 billion - as an "unsung success story".
Women are to become bishops in the Church of England after a vote in the General Synod, bringing to an end four decades of debate over ordination in the Anglican Communion. 
"Reshuffles are for Prime Ministers," Ken Clarke told the Today programme when explaining why he didn't inquire as to the shape of the new Cabinet. (He also came out for all-women-shortlists. One last cat among the pigeons....) More forthcoming about what's to come is Georgia Graham, who will be bringing you the latest developments throughout the day
After a (mostly) positive response we will be keeping the larger font size; I am working on a fix for the teething problems that a few readers encountered yesterday. 
The Morning Briefing is written by Stephen Bush, who tweets as@stephenkb. Our cartoon is the work of the Telegraph's excellent cartoonist Christian Adams; you can view sketches and recent Telegraph cartoons on his InstagramPOLL OF POLLS
Poll of polls 8th to 15th July (Populus-ICM-YouGov) Labour lead by four points

@tessamunt: Hope new Defra Secretary has a grip on rural issues. I'll be happy to brief on floods and what's needed but hope I don't have to! #reshuffle
In the Telegraph

Isabel Hardman - Women are on the march but one major obstacle remains

James Kirkup - David Cameron's front bench is no country for old men

Iain Martin - Farewell Ken Clarke, you were great
Stephen Bush - Do we want justice, or just an execution?
Best of the Rest

Janan Ganesh - Overhaul will not reveal much about the intellectual direction of the Conservative Party
Alex Massie - Farewell Ken Clarke, last of the Tory big beasts
Rachel Sylvester - A token reshuffle does nothing for women
James Bloodworth - The Middle East debate has more to do with revolutionary tourism than reality
0930 YORK: General Synod of Church of England meets.0930 LONDON: IFS briefing on report on living standards, poverty and inequality.
0930 LONDON: Inflation figures for June are published by the Office for National Statistics.
1000 LONDON: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney gives evidence to Treasury Select Committee.
1030 LONDON: Commons Culture Committee takes evidence on the future of the BBC from witnesses including director general Lord Hall. Witnesses include Dame Tessa Jowell, Lord Hall, Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, and James Purnell, the director of strategy and digital for the BBC.
1400 LONDON: Launch of OECD report on UK labour market.
1415 LONDON: HMRC chief executive Lin Homer gives evidence to Commons Public Accounts Committee. 
1430 LONDON: Former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy gives evidence to Commons Northern Ireland Committee on on-the-runs.