Sanctus – Prime Minister Mark Kindle’s mid-term reshuffle yesterday has done more than retire a couple of Ministers – it’s completely overhauled how the government has worked. The changes, which were announced yesterday evening, will come into effect on Monday morning, but it will likely take weeks for the changes to be pushed through legislatively. The change of ministers, detailed below, will come easy enough, but the changes in department names and functions, called “unnecessary” by the Opposition, will take weeks to come into force due to hundreds of pieces of legislation needing changing.
Kindle’s aggressive reshuffle may be taken as a sign that he has no intention of slowing down his progressive agenda, mainly focused on domestic policies, and sources close to the Prime Minister say this reshuffle should be taken to be seen as the start of the general election and Kindle re-election campaign – even if they are still two years away. Ministerial personnel come and go, but many of these changes will be hard to undo, and so will be very long-lasting.
The first change is that the Department of Finance, long the most important department in all of the government, and only ever given to the Prime Minister’s most trusted and able ally, is to be changed to Department of the Treasury. Kindle’s reasoning for this is not known, but it’s likely due to international norm, where Treasury Minister is becoming much more used to refer to the person in charge of the nation’s finances. Its functions are to remain the same, with no changes announced, and will still be the department responsible for the government purse-strings, as well as being in charge of Revenue.
The Department of Agriculture has also undergone a revamp, with Kindle announcing that it will be renamed the Department of Land Affairs, to better reflect its status of being the department also responsible for the environment. He also announced that the Department of Land Affairs would be responsible for all things energy and natural resource related.
The Department of Communications & Infrastructure has been renamed to simply the Department of Infrastructure and, although it has lost the energy remit, it has gained the science, space, and information technology portfolios – a sign that Kindle is keen to see the new digital age ushered in as soon as possible. Removing energy from this brief and transferring it to Land Affairs was surprising, but the Prime Minister insisted it was for better efficiency and focus of his Secretaries of State.
The Department of Culture, the Arts, & Tourism has undergone a massive overhaul and has been renamed the Department of Communities. In an effort to remove the stigma of it being a hands-off department (currently dubbed the Department of Fun by political commentators), Kindle has not only added responsibility for Rural Affairs to this department, but also Local Government, meaning the new Department of Communities is also now responsible for the running of elections, and nominal oversight of borough and city councils that do not have a directly elected mayor.
Without a doubt, though, the biggest change is in the Department of Defence. Previously known as a dumping ground for favourite department for demoting Secretaries to, due to the relatively low importance a neutral nation like Sanctaria has for the armed forces, the new Department of Homeland Security is now responsible for immigration, border control, as well as the nation’s intelligence agencies, all of which previously came under the purview of either Foreign or Home Affairs. This in conjunction with the added duties to the Department of Communities is a signal that Prime Minister Kindle is tired of political apathy and do-nothing politicians. The fact he’s beefing up Homeland Security could also be a nod to the ever increasing threats faced by the region – Kindle is also known to be opposed to Sanctarian neturality, but has made no moves as of yet to change it.
The Department of Education & Science has been renamed to simply the Department of Education following its loss of the science and technology portfolios. All other functions remain the same.
The Department of Enterprise & Commerce has also had minimal changes made, with it being renamed to simply the Department of Commerce as well as gaining the Labour/Employment portfolio. Kindle is keen for the department most concerned with business to concentrate on creating jobs.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has suffered no changes, although the head of the SIS will no longer report to the Secretary of this Department, instead having been transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. Similarly the Department of Health has had zero changes made.
The Department of Home Affairs has been slimmed down considerable, having lost the jurisdiction for local government, border control, and immigration. It’s been renamed to the Department of Justice, and will still retain responsibility for the police force, prisons, criminal justice, the court service, as well as a myriad of other administrative and legal functions.
The Department of Social Welfare & Family Affairs has also been effected by Kindle’s re-branding, resulting in the new name of the Department of Human Services. No big change here, but it has lost responsibility for Labour with that going to the Department of Commerce.
Secretaries of State
As well as the major re-branding, Kindle also instituted a reshuffle, which was the catalyst for the big changes. Kindle went for a small shuffle of the chairs, with no big promotions or demotions to cabinet. He’s clearly happy with his team going into the latter half of his term and into the election.
Deputy Prime Minister/Secretary of State for the Treasury – Deputy Leader of the Sanctarian Conservative Party, Jason Reid, continues in this role, albeit with a different title. The Treasury Secretary has had a good two-and-a-half years with no major shakes to the economy, although the stagnation in growth a number of months back is likely to cause concern if it continues for any longer. Kindle is confident that Reid will be able to re-start the economy on it’s upward growth trend.
Secretary of State for Commerce – Secretary Julie Chrisintim gets a promotion here from her previous role as Agriculture Secretary, likely as a nod to her stellar performance in that Department. With agriculture exports on the up thanks to her handling of a regional Sanctarian beef-export treaty, Chrisintim has shown she has a head for business.
Secretary of State for Communities – Secretary Dorian Gallows is moved from Infrastructure to the newly expanded Department of Communities. Gallows was appointed to his last role with a view to boost his profile, something that hasn’t really worked as well as had hoped. Kindle would expect his new Communities Secretary to get his face out there – being responsible for culture, sport, rural affairs, as well as community funding and local government should do the trick. Gallows is a good worker and should do well here.
Secretary of State for Education – Former Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Silk has been moved to this position from the Department of Home Affairs, or Justice as it’s now known. Silk and Prime Minister Kindle have a notoriously frosty relationship, and this is most definitely a demotion for the former Foreign Secretary too. Silk is popular among the eastern bloc of SCP members, however, so keeping him in the cabinet is vital to party unity.
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs – No change in this brief as Secretary Dr. Yasminé Pontif remains in the post. The removal of the SIS from the brief, however, could be seen as punishment for Pontif dragging her heels in appointing a new director at the start of the government’s term.
Secretary of State for Health – Another no change here with Dr. George Merlinson staying in the Department he always wanted to run. With no major problems having emerged in the health service, Kindle likely didn’t want to stir the pot in what has previously been a bit of a poisoned chalice.
Secretary of State for Homeland Security – No longer is the previously known Department of Defence seen as a dumping ground. With an expanded portfolio, including responsibility for international security, immigration, and border control, this is now a big department, with a big budget, to lead. Kindle has appointed former Social Welfare Secretary Kate Cruz to lead the Department. No longer a post for demotions, this is definitely a promotion for the efficient and highly lauded Cruz.
Secretary of State for Human Services – The formerly Department of Social Welfare welcomes Noreen Islington, former Education Secretary. Islington sees another promotion here, as Human Services is usually seen as one of the more important “social” portfolios, ranking above education generally. It had been thought that Islington would get Justice, but sources say she specifically asked for Human Services.
Secretary of State for Infrastructure – Secretary Oscar Grayson has been moved to this Department from the Department of Communities in what is seen as a promotion. Grayson is a key ally of Kindle and his staying in the cabinet was expected. Grayson did well but was not sorely tested in his last position, it’s likely this new role will be a little more bumpy.
Secretary of State for Justice – Minister for Immigration Ann Bond gets a big promotion into cabinet with her appointment as Justice Secretary. Although stripped of its immigration and border security roles, it still remains one of the biggest and most important government departments, with responsibility for the police, courts, prosecution service, equality, law reform etc. Ms. Bond has a big job ahead of her, and her promotion could be seen as Kindle appeasing women.
Secretary of State for Land Affairs – Government Chief Whip, and eternal Junior Minister Shane Thompson finally gets a promotion into cabinet and is given the expanded role of the Department of Agriculture, now called Land Affairs. Thompson is another ally of Kindle and his appointment was seen as likely, especially given how long he was a junior minister. Noted as being a strict Chief Whip, Thompson has no lack of enemies, so the appointment to one of the biggest budgets will also see no more pork barrel spending being doled out.
As part of Kindle’s major overhaul of the government departments, he also announced today that he would be abolishing all so-called junior ministries, and instead deputies or senators would be appointed as Assistant Secretaries of State at government departments with responsibility for specific areas. He announced the following Assistant Secretaries (or A/Secs):
A/Secretary of State for Land Affairs with Responsibility for Food – Deputy Royce Norn
A/Secretary of State for Land Affairs with Responsibility for Energy – Deputy Celine Taylor
A/Secretary of State for Infrastructure with Responsibility for Transport – Deputy Danielle Cordes
A/Secretary of State for Infrastructure with Responsibility for Technology – Deputy Marc Foster
A/Secretary of State for Communities with Responsibility for Local Government – Deputy Melanie Shore
A/Secretary of State for Communities with Responsibility for Rural Affairs – Deputy Eric Crowley
A/Secretary of State for Commerce with Responsibility for Trade – Deputy John Warren
A/Secretary of State for Commerce with Responsibility for Labour – Deputy Camille Richardson
A/Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs with Responsibility for Diplomatic Affairs – Deputy Ben Sessions. Deputy Sessions shall also be Government Chief Whip.
A/Secretary of State for Justice with Responsibility for Equality – Deputy Peter Long
SARAH PLEDYS, Political Editor