Rumour and counter-rumour is rife on the survivability of the current leader. A Bookie would probably give evens on any bets placed on the leader surviving. If any of the rumours are to be believed, the current demand is for a certain number of Cabinet Members to be replaced. The talk is of between 2 and 4 who could be thrown out of the executive club. This is backed up with talk of ‘soft landing’ positions for those who could be disposed with.
A sceptic could say it is with unbelievable coincidence that the new role of Cabinet Support Member has been born. No doubt those party loyalists will say it has always been on the cards, but for those outside of the inner-sanctum of the Cabinet will most likely come to the conclusion that it is a massive incentive, or what mere morals would call a bribe to keep the rebels quiet.
At present there are no Terms of Reference for this new ‘award’ and my feeling is it will have no real decision making powers. Along with the title and bragging rights a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) will come with the role. This SRA has the potential to be rather generous as my current feeling it will be around £8k per year. I come to that conclusion because it is near half what a Cabinet Member receives (£18k) and about the same as a Scrutiny Chairman also receives.
To add to my suspicious nature it turns out this award is solely in the gift of the leader, and not as you would think the Cabinet Member, this adds to my belief of a pay off. This all reminds me of a long forgotten feudal king who rewards his favourites and troublesome Barons with titles and positions hoping these are enough to stop them thinking “I would really like to wear that crown”.
If my theories are indeed true will those usurpers realise this is nothing more than a bribe and reject the wooing and go for the crown? Or is the lure of gold and power just too much to resist?