Tag Archives: Reshuffle

Former Shell employee appointed as new Environment Secretary

Today’s cabinet reshuffle has seen a number of high profile changes that have gripped the Westminster bubble (and let’s be honest, no one else).

One of the smaller changes that was pushed through was the departure of Owen Patterson from the post of Environment Secretary. Hynd’s Blog has reported before about how he doesn’t ‘believe’ in man-made climate change including the time when he managed to recite 10 separate climate change myths on national radio in as many seconds.

It is with considerable pleasure then that we see the back of him as he disappears back to the backbenches.

Replacing Patterson is the Conservative MP Liz Truss. Or perhaps a better prefix to her name might be ‘former Commercial Manager for Shell’ Liz Truss.

This employment history comes from her Wikipedia page which in turn references her own website biography. Interestingly though there is no mention of Shell on biography now….I’ll let you decide why she, or a government press spinner, might have taken this bit of information down before she is announced as the new Environment Secretary.

In case you are wondering about my use of Wikipedia, don’t worry, I cross checked it. We know that her employment history is true as she mentions it quite openly in a 2012 interview in the New Statesman.

All this said, we know very little about her views on the environment in general. We know that she pushed for solar panels to be put on school roofs but opposed ‘solar farms’ in her own Norfolk constituency…and that is about it.

Perhaps a more pertinent question for number 10 might be, what qualifications does she have to take up this role in the first place?

But hey, as we know, actually knowing anything about a cabinet brief is a side issue. The main criteria for promotion in this reshuffle seems to be to not be posh and/or male with the focus on being what is right for the Tory 2015 election strategy not what is right for Britain.

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Filed under Climate Change, Politics

‘The greenest government yet’ claim is melting – a bit like our arctic sea ice

I blogged earlier about the irony of having a Justice Secretary who had backed a B&Bs owner discriminatory policy against a gay couple. I worry though that these concerns pale into insignificance in comparison to the new Environment Secretary.

Let me introduce Owen Paterson. He has quite a track record…

Just two weeks ago he called for an ‘ending to all energy subsidies’ and a ‘fast track exploration of shale gas’. Damien Carrington reported in the Guardian that Paterson has ‘spoken against wind farms’ and ‘supported aviation expansion’.

Sam Coates at the Times however went one step further saying

It doesn’t look good that he is an anti renewable, pro shale gas, pro aviation expansion sort of guy – but is it possible that David ‘I want the Greenest government ever’ Cameron has appointed a ‘sceptic on Climate Change’ to DEFRA?

This move comes just days after it was reported that climate change was occurring much faster than any of us had anticipated.

As Sam Coates at the Times commented though he has been welcomed by the one and only Lord Lawson  who commented:

I am very pleased to see in this reshuffle the promotion of Owen Paterson. Owen Paterson is little known to the British public because he has been Northern Ireland Secretary, so he is well known there, but really little known elsewhere. He is in fact one of the most able and promising young men or women around the Cabinet and therefore his promotion to Environment is extremely welcome….he is a man of reason and sense.”

This would be the same Lord Lawson who is the Chair of the think tank ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’ and author of the book ‘An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming’.

Any hint that this government is/was or is going to be, ‘the greenest government yet’ is melting away – a bit like our arctic sea ice!


Filed under Climate Change, Politics

Chris “there is no room in the inn for gays” Grayling becomes Justice Secretary

Remember these comments:

if you look at the case of ‘Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel?’ I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home”. The words of Chris Grayling MP.

In other words he suggested that a gay couple should allowed to be turned away if the B&B owner’s didn’t want these ‘gays’ in their house. Hmm…

Douglas Murray writing in the Telegraph highlights one problem with this assertion:

“A man owns a B&B. He is also a Christian. In common with many Christians he believes that the Bible is the inspiration for living, but not a textbook….He also recognises that an obsession with gays is something which a particularly intolerant, unchristian and backward sub-set of Christianity, largely comprising black Africans, holds dear. Therefore he decides it is against his religious beliefs to entertain black African Christians at his guesthouse because he does not like their beliefs, attitudes or practices. There is no reason, in Grayling’s analysis, why this should not happen”

Discrimination, as Murray goes to length to point out, can apply to sexuality, ethnicity, class or any other form of prejudice. If we let the standards slip on one there is little theoretical reason to protect the others.

Equally, Grayling’s comments also puts him on the wrong side of the law. Under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 no-one should be refused goods or services on the grounds of their sexuality. Grayling’s comments stand in stark contrast to this regulation.

It with just a little alarm then that Grayling has been appointed as the new Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice replacing Ken Clarke. Not only does he hold these discriminatory views but as Michael Crick points out:

A non-lawyer with a healthy dose of prejudice…was there really no one better? Apparently there was:

So, is there any good news in this reshuffle? Well, perhaps it is best summed up by the following tweet:

The full cabinet is:

Prime Minister: David Cameron

Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg

Chancellor of the Exchequer: George Osborne

Foreign Secretary: William Hague

Home Secretary: Theresa May

Justice Secretary: Chris Grayling

Work and Pensions Secretary: Iain Duncan Smith

Education Secretary: Michael Gove

Health Secretary: Jeremy Hunt

Transport Secretary: Patrick McLoughlin

Environment Secretary: Owen Paterson

Northern Ireland Secretary: Theresa Villiers

Minister without Portfolio: Ken Clarke

Leader of the House: Andrew Lansley

Chief Whip: Andrew Mitchell

Only two and half years until the general election…


Filed under Politics