by Ray Fleming

hat the quartet of Osborne, Hague, May and Cable were not for turning David Cameron's much-awaited ministerial shuffle was always likely to be a relatively routine event. Yesterday's comings and goings at No 10 did not introduce a single newcomer able to give the government the fresh intellectual and administrative energy it so evidently needs. At the same time, however, Mr Cameron has been quite clever. By painlessly removing two old stagers -- Sir George Young as Leader of the Commons and Kenneth Clarke as Justice Secretary -- he created vacancies which made it possible for the wheel of change to begin turning. And in making Mr Clarke a minister without portfolio in the Cabinet he gained access to independent advice accumulated over many years on the economy and also on Europe. For the rest there is a noticeable but not violent move to the right in ministerial outlook. The only controversial change is the move of Justine Greening from Transport to International Development after less than a year in the job. Boris Johnson was right to recognise it as a bare-faced acceptance by the prime minister that a third runway at Heathrow may be unavoidable. Ms Greening's constituency is directly beneath Heathrow's flight paths and she could never have agreed to allow another runway back on the agenda. The issue has been evaded.

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