The reshuffle phoney war

Day after the handover of power and that means reshuffle time. There’s always an air of excitement and anticipation waiting to see if we’ll find out first from our contacts or via the news bulletins (its always the latter) who our new minister is.

But the reality is never as much fun as the preparation. Each reshuffle I’ve observed from inside the civil service has followed the same formula:

  • Lots of ‘planning’ in anticipation of the changes
  • Plenty of energy expended by people running around being busy
  • A few cagey fellows intimating that they are ‘in’ on the impending announcement (they aren’t, ever)
  • Staff asked to stay late/come in early to provide cover for the announcement so it can be published onto the website at a millisecond’s notice


  • People sitting around waiting for something to happen, wondering why they were kept from their evening out/dragged from their bed at first light
  • Dawning realisation that the announcement will be made at a reasonable hour (what a surprise)
  • Still plenty of nervous energy being expended around us, ‘getting things ready’

In the middle of this maelstrom, sitting serenely, are the webbies. Their fingers poised above the keyboard ready to unleash one of a few biographies prepared earlier. Suddenly, the BBC confirms the cabinet, and we publish.

Much later, of course, somebody always asks us if we are going to publish the announcement on the website. Today was no exception (wish they would actually check the site once in a while).

If that all sounds rather dull, it isn’t. A change at the top is an exciting time. Today was no exception.

Many of the staff popped down to see Lord Falconer off at midday. He’s been popular with the staff and it showed today when he got a rousing round of applause (even my Dad likes him and he’s a dyed in the wool Tory) . He looked touched by the send off and for once was lost for words.

So one Lord Chancellor exits, another enters. Tomorrow we’ll be once again poised to scramble up announcements about the rest of our new ministerial team as we find out.

Who knows what ideas they might have that affect my work. Perhaps one of them will want to start blogging?

  1. I must admit, I always enjoyed reshuffle day. A rare opportunity to show just how serious you were (or weren’t) about your web activity. And for me, that meant an opportunity to stamp some authority on the Whitehall scene. Several times, I remember gathering up PR photos of *all* potential candidates, having them all cropped and ready to publish.

    Admittedly we’re talking a good few years ago now; but I don’t remember many others taking it quite so seriously. Glad, although slightly ashamed, to see everyone else doing so now…

  2. We feel your pain, and have blogged accordingly…

  3. You’re right Simon, its one of the few times we can so visibly demonstrate leadership.

    Good effort Gez for a team no doubt running completely blind. As for the pdfs, you’ll…. have…. to …. prise… them…. from…. my….. cold hands…… Be interesting to see how that one develops.

  4. Oh, indeed it is, hence the title of the blog, a joke comment to characterise a client who doesn’t really know exactly what they want.

    Boo hiss on the pdfs! Go digital!

  1. July 4th, 2007

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: