February 26, 2012 · Politics Etc...

Friday’s Today programme featured an interview where Chris Grayling lost it while he was talking to Evan Davies about the Work Experience programme. Leaving aside arguments about the programme itself, wouldn’t it make more sense for Iain Duncan Smith to do the interview? He is the Secretary of State for work & pensions and Chris Grayling is a more junior employment minister

I think I know what’s going on. David Cameron has a tendency to take a backseat role and allow other people to fail while taking credit for their success. You just have to look at how the Lib Dems are being treated to see what I mean. Andrew Lansley is already tainted because of the NHS bill, but IDS isn’t (yet). Grayling’s rants about the SWP hacking his email by someone CCing him in an email sent to Tesco are a classic way of diverting people’s attention. I think whoever put Grayling up to do this interview knew that he was probably likely to react like that. People are less likely to argue with an irrational person, which works quite nicely when you’ve got something controversial to push through.

By making Lansley and Grayling the personification of these schemes Cameron is diverting attention away from himself, so he can reshuffle them out of the way and continue with them when the fuss has died down a bit. It may well be that they believe in these halfwitted ideas, but prime ministers have ways of making sure people tread the party line and no one in cabinet is indispensable. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Chris Grayling’s next ministerial post involves overseeing fishing quotas, or working in the Northern Ireland office.

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