This article is from the April issue of Total Politics
That earthy whiff hovering over Westminster is a by-product of ministers filling their boxers at the prospect of a reshuffle. The political rutting season – politicians fighting for their territory, manoeuvring for promotion, praying for deliverance – has begun. And when it’s all over, Cameron will need a team of sniffer dogs to remove the heads stuffed up his backside.
This is the time when journalists persuade editors that they’re on the inside track, when all they’re doing is having lunch with the odd SpAd, desperate to protect his boss and rubbish his rivals.
But nobody has a clue. The press are like meercats sniffing the wind, huddling in bars for protection and printing mindless speculation from “well-placed sources”, “No 10 insiders” and “people close to the prime minister”, who are just as clueless as they are. Prepare yourself for endless grassroots polls from ConservativeHome, demanding promotion for every green-inking, swivel-eyed, carpet-biting Little Englander who passionately believes that the only issue that people care passionately about is a referendum on the EU.
The truth is that only Cameron, Clegg and Patrick McLoughlin will decide, and I doubt whether they’ve given much thought to a reshuffle just yet.
Prepare yourself for some shameless self-promotion by desperate backbenchers who would murder their grannies and strangle the Andrex puppy to get their plump bottoms onto the back seat of whatever ghastly mid-range family saloon passes for a ministerial limousine.
And what will I do? Why, behave as responsibly as everyone else and publish any bits of tat, gossip and self-serving speculation that’s spoon-fed to me over a three-bottle lunch. For ‘tis the season when Our Man At The Minibar walks tall.
Former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes blogs at Dale & Co.