"new" Prime Minister yesterday. In the most extraordinarily convoluted language yet - far exceeding anything that Sir Humphrey Appleby could have managed - I think he said that it would be much more difficult to remove any future Labor Prime Minister. This announcement was so fenced about by words it was difficult to be sure what he was saying or what the conditions for removal would be.
Oh yes, it has to be possible to remove a Prime Minister - and not just through the ballot box. There could be any number of reasons for needing to remove a Prime Minister.
I am sufficiently cynical to believe that the announcement has more to do with securing the position of the present incumbent than the good of the party. After all he was deposed - and spent the last three years undermining the leadership of the party he supposedly thinks so much of. He knows his own position is not secure at present. He has to win an election - and he might - so he is on his best behaviour for now.
It won't last. I am told that there are already tensions in the corridors of power. Everyone is being very, very careful not to do or say anything that might upset him. This is understandable. Winning the election (and their own jobs) depend on it. They will do or say anything in order to retain their pay packets. Who can blame them? Most of us would probably do the same thing - even though we might like to think our moral and ethical standards are higher than that.
What puzzles me however is how the general public appears to believe the leopard has changed his spots. At present it seems he can do no wrong. The opinion polls have given his party a winning lead. I have no doubt he believes he knows precisely when to pounce and grab the election. He does not doubt his new, and largely untested, team can perform brilliantly. It is, after all, why he has chosen them.
And that brings us to an interesting point. His announcement yesterday appeared to be about securing the position of the Prime Minister - at least on that side of politics - but does it secure the positions of those under him. If someone is appointed Minister for the Environment, Defence, Education - or even Political Gymnastics - can the Prime Minister, secure in his or her own position, just remove them? Underperforming Ministers do get removed. Front benches get shuffled around. People drop in and out of favour. It is always possible to find some reason to remove someone - just leak a negative to the media and watch them blow the story out of all proportion until it seems only reasonable to remove the individual (or have them fall on their sword).
I would be a great deal more impressed with the apparent moves being made yesterday if it included the members of the Cabinet. If, having chosen your team, you had to work with them and could not discard them at will.
Should the present Prime Minister win the election however he will have a largely young and inexperienced team. It will suit him. He will, secure in his own position, be able to dictate to them at will. They will do as they are told. The few experienced people who are left may not like it but they will do the same.
No, we do not elect our Prime Minister and the changes that the present Prime Minister now hopes will be made will just make it more difficult to remove one who likes power a little too much.
I found a piece of paper the other day. On it I had written something that obviously amused me at the time. I do not know where it came from but it reads "Humpty Dumpty Theorem"
"If it ain't broke don't fix it.
If it is broke don't fix it either.
You may better off leaving things as they are than constructing something you can't be certain will work."