Euro wars, Tory wars and Whitehall wars
What is David Cameron up to warning of eurozone “break up?” No 10 says that it will be read in the chancelleries of Europe. Well, maybe, but there isn’t a great track record for Europe thanking London for megaphone diplomacy like this.
Truth is, London is readying itself for some truly horrible economic times if things get rougher still in the eurozone. There has been some gruesome gaming of the scenarios in the treasury for some time. If the worst happens, No 10 must look like it knew it might and wasn’t asleep at the bridge. So the warning is stark.
And the “I told you so” and “why didn’t you listen to our advice” lines are being polished up and readied for action. On top of this, David Cameron, in a speech tomorrow on the economy, and whenever else the opportunity presents itself, can be expected to attack the argument gaining ground in European political dialogue that there is a “growth versus austerity” choice.
Committee executive ballot
Meanwhile Davie’s troops are restless. Voting has just closed in the main commons committee room for the 1922 committee executive ballot. Results should come around 7.30pm or so. Both Chris Chope and Peter Bone look like getting the chop. One former minister just said to me it was a victory for “spineless stooges of the executive” and another MP said he thought that a new successor organisation to the 1922 committee would soon emerge from a meeting at a private address.
The truth is that the result could well be in the “grey area.” The 301 group – labelled by their opponents as loyalists and sycophants, defining themselves as young bloods – didn’t challenge for all the posts available so there was never going to be “clear-out” of the old 1922 team.
The opponents of what they see as the old crusties will be able to claim an advance, but they won’t have wiped out some Cameron-sceptics – both Graham Brady and Brian Binley were not been challenged.
Departure of Ian Whatmore
Elsewhere … not sure the perm sec at the Cabinet Office, Ian Watmore, is necessarily leaving to spend more time with his vicar wife. I hear that this is fall-out from the sustained attack some top mandarins feel there’s been from Steve Hilton backed by Francis Maude.
One particular part of the agenda, putting senior civil servants on short-term contracts, some top civil servants feel would seriously undermine their independence and make them too dependent on the favour of senior ministers. Mr Watmore, I hear, may not be the only departure.