Good news, bad news and jobs for the boys

First published in Skipper

This week it's good news and bad news week.

The good news is that two of Cornwall's MPs have been promoted in this week's ministerial reshuffle.

The bad news is that it's to the same department, Defra, Whitehall's equivalent of a pantomime horse, and the net practical effect will be absolutely zero.

North Cornwall's Liberal Democrat MP, Dan Rogerson, takes over from David Heath as agriculture minister. So one Lib Dem for another, no change there - and as there are so few Lib Dem MPs (we tend to forget that they came a poor third in the general election) the merry-go-round has to spin quite fast to make sure that they all get a turn, before the voters take their revenge in just 18 months time.

Camborne, Redruth and Hayle's Conservative MP, George Eustice, also joins Defra as a junior minister. The opportunity to join in some high-profile Euro-bashing will come naturally to him and Skipper forecasts that having got his foot on the first rung of the ladder, George could be in for quite a long ministerial career, although not necessarily in this Parliament.

Dan and George will have no trouble being nice to the National Farmers Union, which is all that the job really boils down to. And some time in the next few months, one of them will have the delightful task of revealing how many badgers have been shot in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

How surprised are we that Falmouth and Truro MP Sarah Newton didn't make it to the front bench? David Cameron was said to have been desperate to promote women - but Sarah's phone didn't ring. Better luck next time.


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