If you live in the river you should make friends with the crocodile.
Here’s a new game to try while you’re waiting for the train or for that stupidly big file to download or even for the kettle to boil: how many Housing Ministers from the last 20 years can you name off the top of your head, without looking them up?
Here goes (not in any sort of order): Shapps, Javid, Sharma, Beckett, Prisk, Raynsford, Lewis and er…yes, that’s where I get stuck and have to report to Wikipedia.
Talk about a revolving door. The housing portfolio could be seen in many cases as a stepping stone to greater things – Savid Javid, for example, took up the post of Home Secretary yesterday, but some of them have gone on to languish on the backbenches.
The message that the industry has received all through the 16 different names that have topped the Housing department letterhead over the years is that housing really isn’t that far up the priority list for successive governments.
Or is it? Javid was the face of the May government’s renewed focus on housing and its promised extra spend to boost the market. In January, the department he was in charge of even had its name changed from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
May clearly needed to replace Amber Rudd, one of her allies, in a hurry, lest her flimsy majority seem rudderless (see what I did there?) and she needed to do so with someone she can count on. Hence Javid to Home secretary.
In a similar move, the new Communities Secretary is James Brokenshire, a former protegee of May’s at the Home Office as is his replacement, Karen Bradley, at the Northern Ireland Office.
With the political waters likely to get choppier rather than calmer, no wonder Mrs May wants to keep her allies round her.