What a reshuffle it was, too. Despite all the pre-election expectations management (it'll only be serious if it's a loss of 400), it looks like the local elections really perturbed Blair's systems. Take a look. So, after all the stand-by-your-man stuff, it's the Angolan option after all, as Alan Clark would have put it.
The safety elephant is meat for the poor, at last. Although I'd quite like some of the ivory. Despite my own Home Office elimination plan seeming to get quite a bit of traction lately - I've seen several national newspaper leaders, plus Ming Campbell and even "sources close to" New Labour suggesting it wants breaking up - the institution survives, for now. DefSec John Reid moves over, continuing a career marked by incredibly short tenures.
Justin of Chicken Yoghurt fame thinks this is the end of the world, but I'm actually rather encouraged. At the MOD, Reid actually changed his policy in response to criticism more than once. I doubt it's possible at the Home Office, but it's worth a try. More cynically, I wonder whether he'll stay more than six months? From here, he can realistically go either to No.11, No.10, or obscurity. We shall see.
It's the rest that are weird. Margaret Beckett to be Foreign Secretary? One of the very few of them I have any residual respect for, but this is weird. Jack Straw as leader of the House? Geoff Hoon as minister for Europe? That's simply sick. (Has anyone else noticed his ever-sinking status? That's not even a real cabinet post.) What's very marked is that Gordon Brown's men are showing up everywhere. Douglas Alexander into the cabinet, Des Browne to Defence, Darling to DTI, Alan Johnson to Education. With the exception of the Balkanised ODPM, now chopped into bite-size chunks, there aren't really any Blairites left.
And John Prescott's political castration is painfully symbolic. He stays as DPM but has his department lopped off.