The real meaning of 'omnishambles'

An air of extreme incompetence has attached itself to this government

Since the word ‘omnishambles' was invented, we have known that we have an incompetent government. But the reshuffle demonstrated that this this comes from the top, from David Cameron himself. For the prime minister is solely responsible for the re-structuring of his government.

Contemplate the photograph of the new Cabinet meeting for the first time. That is itself tells the story. For little business can be done effectively in such a large group. Moreover some of those attending, such as the Lib Dem, David Laws, and the former Tory party chair, Lady Warsi, neither of whom are members of the Cabinet, have been given a place at the table as a sort of consolation prize.

Then consider a specific appointment. It turns out that the newly appointed Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has immediate conflicts of interest. Because he has been linked with a campaign to support Bombardier, the Derby based train manufacturer, and because High Speed 2 is routed to go through his constituency, he may have to withdraw from consideration of railway questions and let a more junior minister take the relevant decisions. It seems nobody did any sort of due diligence on the new appointment before it was announced. That’s incompetence.