The government’s achieved a great deal over the last few years – 1.8 million new jobs, an explosion of free schools in some of the most deprived areas of the country and the most radical overhaul of the welfare system since its inception.
The promotion of articulate and energetic people in the reshuffle shows Cameron rightly intends to campaign in the runup to the next election on the government’s record. Ministers such as Michael Fallon and Liz Truss are adept media performers and can authentically claim to be focused on how to improve Britain’s standing in the world.
But governments don’t win just on what they’ve delivered. Cameron will also be focusing on how fixing the economy is a two-term project. The recovery is still fragile. The deficit still won’t be closed until 2018-19, and this year we will be spending almost as much on debt interest as on the education budget. The next government is going to have to make tough decisions about spending and tax. It’s going to need to be economically credible. That’s why George Osborne has been left as chancellor and why it’s significant to see people such as Priti Patel, who understand the importance of free enterprise and economic growth, being promoted. Expect more on fiscal rules, further savings in welfare and a focus on how to ensure that growing prosperity benefits people all over the country, not just those in London and the South East.
This blog originally appeared on the Observer’s website.