With the reshuffle widely touted to happen on Monday, we thought it would useful to give any first-timers a simply guide to proceedings, in order to be sure everyone plays their part as they should:

1) Cabinet Ministers/Junior Ministers/Would-be Ministers: No-one ever gets promoted if the incumbents are doing a good job. Dig out those diaries you’ve been keeping, copy out the most embarrassing, unfortunate or disastrous stories about someone who looks like they might vulnerable and whisper them to a friendly journalist.

2) Journalists: Has someone whispered a damaging story to you suggesting a Minister ought to be sacked? If so, rest easy. If not, don’t panic – generate lists of people “tipped for promotion” by either listing every backbencher whom you would be just about content to introduce to your mum, or report on “favourable whispering campaigns” you’ve discovered by reading this morning’s lists of people “tipped for promotion” in other newspapers.

3) Number 10: Tell everyone that you will under no circumstances pre-brief any element of the reshuffle, saying indignantly when asked “that would be tantamount to treason”. Then pre-pre-brief the whole thing to either the BBC or a Sunday paper.

4) George Osborne: Appoint or promote a host of allies, former staff and junior ministers who owe their existence to you. Act surprised when Nick Robinson suggests you did so.

5) The Prime Minister: Once steps 1-4 are completed, you are in the perfect position to carry out a classic reshuffle. Therefore, this is your moment to postpone it. Do so, without explanation.

Repeat as required.