Seriously, is there any political commentary more tedious than the constant speculation regarding who is on the way up and who is on the way down in the looming reshuffle? It’s one of those Westminster village, navel-gazing issues which sends politicians and journalists into frenzies of anticipation and expectation.
Whilst today, you enjoy the normal Sunday activities that most do, spare a thought for every ambitious Conservative MP (and that’s the vast majority) who will spend this weekend in a state of high agitation.
One manifestation of this agitation will be the constant checking of the mobile phone – to make sure it is in good working order – just in case something terminal happened in the five minutes since it was last checked, with the volume on very high and connected to the Bang and Olufsen speaker system.
God forbid that one should miss a call from No10 the second it comes through. Who knows, fail to answer and the Prime Minister may forget to call back or worse still, decide move on to plan b) phone an MP he had in reserve and, given the slightest opportunity to think about his decision a little longer may decide he prefers.
It’s not hard to guess exactly who will be standing in front of the mirror repeatedly rehearsing the line, with feeling, ‘why, Prime Minister, what a complete surprise, of course, I would be absolutely delighted to accept the position as junior under-minister with responsibility for closing down children’s playgrounds across Britain, thank you so much’.
And while you are tucking into your Sunday lunch, spare a thought for the wives, husbands, children, dogs of Conservative MPs who have been banished to the shed for the entire weekend, replete with food, drink and a litter tray, with instructions to lie low and not to re-enter the house until the all clear is given.
One can’t possibly have the un-professional sound of a dog barking or a child crying, just as one picks up the phone, can one?
Some MPs, will find sleep difficult this weekend as they lie in bed imagining how it sounds when they hear for the very first time the words ‘yes Minister’.
In the dark hours, when no one can see the proud and smug grin – which they fail to prevent creeping from ear to ear – they will visualise the crowds on the street stepping aside as they make their way from Westminster Station to Whitehall, for their first ministerial day.
As sleep tries to calm and claim them, they will hear the whirring click, click and see the flashing light from the paparazzi’s cameras, catching them as they look earnest and walk with important purpose, in through the door of No.10.
In sudden annoyance, Michael may even fly out of bed at 3am and dash into the garage and fire up the lawn mower, as he suddenly remembers he stupidly forgot to mow the front lawn. How awful that will look when Sky inevitably sends the helicopter over as they announce his promotion on prime time news.
Yes, life in almost every Conservative MPs house this week will be in turmoil. It’s the kids I feel sorry for.
Of course, the reality is, the re-shuffle will make very little, if any difference whatsoever to any area of Government policy, in fact, following a re-shuffle, the progression of policy, good and bad will be disrupted for some considerable time.
On Monday morning, once the decisions have been taken, the Prime Minister will be acutely aware that having made a few new friends, those he promoted, he will have made many, many more enemies – those he demoted, and those he overlooked.
Hugo will fall asleep tonight, with his little phone clasped in his little hand, making sure it doesn’t slip off the pillow. Just in case the PM works into the wee small hours, slaving over his hot desk, agonisingly deliberating which pieces he should move on the chess board. Hugo thinks the Prime Minister burns the midnight oil. Dream on Hugo.