29 JULY 1989, Page 25

A fine cat

THE Treasury looks at the reshuffle and can congratulate itself on a good war. It is not just that the Chancellor himself has put on another fine show of indispensability. His whole team has been promoted. John Major, who had been very much Nigel Lawson's choice as Chief Secretary, and contrived in that thankless job to please everybody, has now gone soaring off into the wide blue yonder, bearing out Stevie Smith's poem about her prophetically named cat: 'Oh, Major is a fine cat, he walks cleverly, Major was ever a ranger, he ranges where no-one can see, his paws hit the rungs of the ladder... How is this done? It is a knack.' One rung down the ladder, Norman Lamont moves up from Financial Secretary to succeed him. So the personal shareholder gains, an advocate in the Cabinet, and the institutional cartels have an enemy. Peter Lilley, who was Economic Secretary, follows him up (the Treasury understandably thinks that fi- nance outranks economics.) Peter Brooke moves from the Treasury (he was Paymaster-General) to the Cabinet. Com- pare and contrast Trade and Industry, its ministers cleared out for the umpteenth time.... The neatest move of all must be George Younger's, for I take it that in joining the board of the Royal Bank of Scotland, he has been lined up to succeed the genial Sir Michael Herries as chairman. How the Edinburgh establishment looks after its own! Almost as well as the Treasury.