David Cameron has appointed Grant Shapps co-chairman of the Conservative Party in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
The Tories have an image problem, you could say. George Osborne was booed tonight by 80,000 people at the Paralympic Games. The Conservatives are widely perceived as the party of arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of a hot pasty or a pint of milk, headed by men who went to Eton and were members of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, the government for millionaires by millionaires, the party of tax cuts for the rich and high unemployment, workfare, and lowered wages for everyone else, the coalition of broken promises and NHS privatisation. Indeed, they have an image problem.
The Chairman of the Conservative party is a Cabinet Minister when the Tories are in government, and runs the “party machine”: oversees Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
Grant Shapps is the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield and was Minister of State for Housing & Local Government. Until Monday’s reshuffle. At about one this morning Huffington Post
has learned from senior government sources that Sayeeda Warsi has lost her job as Tory co-chairman and is replaced by Grant Shapps.
We have also been told that Sayeeda Warsi has been offered another seat at the Cabinet table. The role on offer at the time of writing is rumoured to be as a junior Foreign Office minister with a seat at the Cabinet table, a position she has not yet accepted.
Sayeeda Warsi is “not one of us“. She argued last Friday:
“If you look at the demographics, at where we need to be at the next election, we need more people in the North voting for us, more of what they call here ‘blue collar’ workers and I call the white working class. We need more people from urban areas voting for us, more people who are not white and more women.”
But if the Tory party were to believe they need to listen to a woman, who is moreover not white and who comes from a working class, immigrant background, how they have to change to appeal to voters – this would turn the whole ethos of the Tory party upside down.
No, what David Cameron and George Osborne are apt to think they need isn’t some kind of radical policy change: they need a campaign to change their image. They need a marketing man. Grant Shapps has an alternate career: he’s “Michael Green“.
On The Daily Income website, Grant Shapps looks like this: