Wednesday 9 November 2022

Rewarding a rare achievement


Very few government ministers ever get sacked; they invariably ‘resign’, and almost never entirely of their own accord. Nods, winks, and outright threats combine to make it entirely clear when a letter of resignation is expected, and it would not be at all surprising to find that letters are sometimes written for doomed ministers and handed to them for them to append their signature. Gavin Williamson’s departure yesterday has been presented to the world as a resignation, but it is clear that the ‘resignation’ was preceded by a decision in Downing Street to withdraw the proposed defence of the Minister, making it clear what action was required of him.

Having been given a knighthood to reward his previous failures, this is a superb opportunity for another award of some sort. A lifetime achievement award is surely in order for a man who has succeeded – uniquely, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain – in getting sacked from three different cabinet jobs by three different Prime Ministers, and all in the space of less than four years. Perhaps Sunak’s successor, due to be appointed within the next few months, will give him an opportunity to add to his score. One might think that no PM could ever be so stupid as to appoint him again, but there were those who thought the same thing after his last two sackings. The previous peak of his career – before being elected to parliament in 2010 – was, apparently, to win Fireplace Salesman of the Year in two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007. A third award would look good on his mantlepiece, positioned nicely between the two of them.

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