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Poor Ming, he really is becoming a joke now, he's so out of his depth. Blair seemed to pity him, which given the state Blair is in at the moment is particularly humiliating.

On the subject of Blair not knowing whether Ministers have resigned or not, here's a heartening story from today's Times News in Brief. Baronness Ashton, who has a good deal on her plate implementing the Mental Capacity Act at the DCA, was also asked to spend part of her time sorting out the mess at DEFRA. All credit to her - she refused. Definitely Minister of the Day, but unusually, for a good reason.

Reshuffle blunder

Tony Blair suffered an unexpected backlash from his reshuffle yesterday when a minister flatly refused her new post (Valerie Elliott writes).

Baroness Ashton of Upholland, already a minister responsible for human rights and civil justice policy at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, had not been officially told she was also to be the part-time Minister for Farming. The mix-up led to Lord Rooker being called back from his new post in Northern Ireland to become a full-time Minister of State for Farming, leading to accusations that Ulster had been insulted.

Downing Street had announced on its website that Lady Ashton was to divide her time between the DCA and Defra.

Blair looked clearly like yesterday's man at PMQ's today. The authority is gone, half his party want him gone sooner rather than later. Cameron was on fine form, particularly like the Gordon of Khartoum joke. Blairs desperate evasions on questions is becoming laughable. His is an increasingly factional government relying on an increasingly fictional record.

I genuinely expect to start hearing stories of "senior Lib Dems taking soundings on defection" any time soon.
We are getting very close to the moment when Cameron et al have done enough to enable a few key figures on the right of their party to join the Tories and bring some very valuable and election winning votes and parliamentary seats with them.
Clegg and Laws are young politicians who are unlikely to sit and watch other young politicians become winners.

They're equally unlikely to defect. I think its Lib Dem inexperience and lack of confidence that put Ming in.

Now they need to farm out as much of the work as possible to Clegg, Laws, Huhne and Davey. Make them the public faces, not Ming.

If you look at what a mess they made out of deposing an alcoholic - they'd never be able to ditch someone just for being old & rubbish.

If we want to bury the Lib Dems completely all we have to do is to publicise their policies to their own supporters, who have no idea what they are. When they do find out, they are completely shocked!! (Follow the John Redwood Liberal Demolition Strategy)

William's right, the John Redwood policy of explaining LD policies is guaranteed to stop most people voting LD.

As for defections; it makes for good parliamentary sport and is a signal that things are going our way, but most defectors don't really add anything (except Churchill of course).

Laws, Clegg and co are over-rated in my opinion. They just look better than the pygmies they're surrounded by. The only MP of theirs who accidentally joined the wrong party is Vince Cable, who is probably up to being a decent backbencher.

Most of them though would rather be swimming in a tiny muddy orange pond than risk the giant lake of turquoise blue next door.

Don't agree with any of you!
No Party is going to spend / waste time explaining other people's policies.
I have personally achieved a 40% swing against the Lib Dems over two years and two elections, by being positive about my own message rather than negative about my opponent's. I rarely agree with John Redwood and that holds true here.

The impact of a senior, young Lib Dem defection (no matter how high or low you rate them) will be vastly more powerful than wandering about trying to explain why the Lib Dem policies are ludicrous. Most people know that already and they are just waiting for a moderate, reasonable, positive and confident alternative.

Fabulously stage-managed "Prince Charles" moment by Cameron.
There is no question that he knew his comments at the photocall could and would be overheard by the media.

lib dems are unlikely to defect. It is not as if they have elected Hughes, with the expectation that he would serve 2 terms as leader.

'Fabulously stage-managed "Prince Charles" moment by Cameron.'

Can you elaborate please Richard ?

Just watched PMQs on the BBC website. I was laughing away, what fun. Surely the antiCameroons are getting more than enough attack politics now? Yet so sweetly and reasonably expressed. How Labour must be growing to loathe the Tory leader.

Yes, Please do as I have been out until now!
Richard.

I like the story in the TImes that the Lib Dem members have unlimited liability for debts of their party. I can't see many new members joining now.

just seen the clip on sky news now

he is talking to his new women councillors at the photo shoot saying how Blair was having a bad PMQ and joking that a sketch writer could not have done better than to have Labour MPs talk about St Helena, not knowing his health minister had resigned etc.

priceless

"Blair said that he had presided over more electoral success than Heseltine, the last Conservative DPM (not supposed to be the purpose of the ODPM, but never mind), and executed his pre-prepared line badly - "I prefer Prezza to Hezza"."

That doesn't make him fit to run a government department. He is a buffoon and everyone can see that. I expect Blair can as well but can't say so for political reasons.

I have to say I liked the picture on Guido's blog regarding Ming at PMQs.

David Cameron wiped the floor with Tony Blair at PMQs today, although I suspect the chap sitting next to him provided some of the jokes (judging by the expectant look on his face).

Minguselah was, yet again, pathetic, although that is about as surprising as John Reid being moved in a Cabinet reshuffle.

If you watched the whole of the politics show, you would have observed our Editor in close proximity to Andrew Neil. Well done Tim! Fame at last!!

"If you watched the whole of the politics show, you would have observed our Editor in close proximity to Andrew Neil."

Looking distinctly uncomfortable alongside Michael Heseltine and shooting the occasional withering glance at Clare Short as well!

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