Political hacks make a crystal balls-up over Brown's cabinet

The political hacks who toil away in the lobby at Westminster prided themselves on predicting exactly who would be in Gordon Brown’s government.

The new PM completed his first reshuffle last Friday. Now, Axegrinder feels duty-bound to remind the ladies and gentlemen of the press at Westminster some of the forecasts they would rather forget.

20 June: The Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire reckons Jack Straw would be “wise to ask a policeman for directions to the Home Office”. Straw would have been wiser still to ask the way to the Ministry of Justice.

24 June: The Mail on Sunday’s Simon Walters warns that Tessa Jowell is “on the way out for failing to control the runaway costs” of the Olympics. Brown decides to put Jowell in charge of… the Olympics.

25 June: The Sun’s political editor George Pascoe Watson remains true to form with his firm prediction: “Ulster Secretary Peter Hain will be sacked altogether.” Hain’s brutal “sacking” sees him promoted to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, as well as holding on to his job as Welsh Secretary.

25 June: The Times’s political editor Phil Webster hedges his bets with Alan Johnson who “could remain Education Secretary or even become Home Secretary”. Wrong on both counts.

26 June: The Daily Mirror’s political trio of Oonagh Blackman, Bob Roberts and Rosa Prince reveal “speculation that Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton could replace Patricia Hewitt as Health Secretary”. In fact, the job was filled by Alan Johnson.

28 June: The Daily Telegraph’s Toby Helm and George Jones are confident that Jack Straw will bag the “prized title of Deputy Prime Minister”. He didn’t. Worse still, no such job exists under Brown. The pair also picked out Ed Balls as the new “City and Enterprise Secretary” ‒ not his actual portfolio of Children, Schools and Families.

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