The Cabinet reshuffle is a cosmetic, PR exercise which indicates the kind of General Election campaign we can expect from the Tories.

While the coalition’s reactionary policies will stay the same, they will dress up in the Union Jack and use their party conference to launch a wide-ranging attack on democratic rights, more specifically on trade unionism and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Demagogic attacks on strikers and the EU will be designed to win votes from UKIP, although the elevation of Michael Fallon (to Defence) and Lord Hill (to the EU Commission) suggest that Cameron has no intention of crossing British and US big business, which is overwhelmingly in favour of continued EU membership.

All of this emphasises the importance of mobilising huge protests at the Tory Party conference and on the TUC’s ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’ demonstration on October 18.

The labour movement, the People’s Assembly and the left must now do everything possible to raise the political temperature and deny the Tories the initiative. In particular, the case for alternative left and progressive policies has to be made forcefully, putting the maximum pressure on Labour to draw up a winnable General Election manifesto for next May.

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