John Penrose MP...

One of the biggest obstacles to getting anything done in Westminster is Government reshuffles. The moment there's a whiff of one, Ministers

One of the biggest obstacles to getting anything done in Westminster is Government reshuffles. The moment there's a whiff of one, Ministers stop thinking about their current jobs and start wondering about their next one.Civil servants don't help either. They know that their current Minister might lose his or her job, and that the new broom will probably want to make changes. So, very sensibly, they decide there's not much point slaving away on something that will probably get dumped as soon as their new Minister's feet are under the table. The result is paralysis. The entire machinery of Government freezes like a rabbit in the headlights until the reshuffle is over, and nothing gets done until everyone knows who's survived and who's roadkill.So I was a bit nervous when I went to see the new Government Minister in charge of drugs policy. This was my second meeting, and I'd badgered them into speaking to me the first time by making a serious fuss about Weston's problems with addicts and rehabs and asking the Government what they were going to do about it. But this was a new Minister and, although the first meeting had gone well, there was no telling whether this one would be good or bad. Would we pick up where the previous meeting had left off? Or would it be back to square one?In the end, it was a bit of both. The Minister was very interested in what Weston's doing to beat the drugs problem, and accepted the ideas behind the Cleaner Weston Campaign too. But she wants more facts. So I'm spending the summer gathering evidence, and the Autumn making sure she can't ignore it. We can't let a little thing like a Government reshuffle derail Weston's progress. Ever forward!

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter