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Is There a Hidden Agenda Behind Jesse Norman's Dismissal?

04/09/2013 17:17 BST | Updated 04/09/2013 20:39 BST

No 10 Downing Street has confirmed that Conservative MP, Jesse Norman, will leave its policy board after abstaining in last week's vote on Syria. The decision to fire the influential Tory is being attributed to the necessity of retaining party discipline and highlighting the fact that three-line whips are to be treated with the utmost respect.

However, this sudden dismissal begs many questions. Firstly, there have been suggestions that Cameron was reluctant to dismiss Norman. After all, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire's book, Compassionate Conservatism, is said to be the modern day "guidebook to Cameronism". If Cameron truly was so reluctant to do so, why did this dismissal happen so promptly?

More importantly, why has the Prime Minister punished Norman, yet let Justine Greening and Mark Simmonds, who carelessly missed the vote last week, gently off the hook?

As hard as I try to believe that Cameron is simply trying to retain discipline and is ensuring that he differentiates between Greening and Simmonds' careless mishap with an active decision to abstain, I can't help but feel as though there is underlying, hidden agenda behind this.

Midst accusations of Cameron controlling an elitist cabinet, with an overwhelming number of middle-aged Etonians in positions of power, does it not seem suspiciously coincidental that Norman, an Oxford educated Etonian, would face the sack, whereas a polytechnic educated man from the East Midlands and a female MP would remain unpunished?

Whilst the PM would never openly admit that any part of this accusation were truthful, it seems as though he has capitalised on this opportunity to amend his electorally disastrous cabinet, without appearing to go against previous statements of support for it. For if he was to drastically diversify his cabinet in the upcoming shuffle, all in one go, removing many of his privately-educated, male cabinet members, then his assertions that his cabinet was based purely on meritocracy and ability, would of course, be deemed less credible. This diversified cabinet would either suggest that Cameron had either been caught in the act of hosting an elitist cabinet, populated by school chums and university friends, and was therefore urgently trying to amend it, or, perhaps more damagingly, that he was now presenting the public with a less able, less gifted group of ministers, purely to satisfy quotas.

With the elections looming, Cameron is clearly panicking at the upcoming election and the public perception of his cabinet. What's more, in an election which is likely to see a battle of personalities between Miliband and Cameron, he must appear to be calm, collected and committed to his beliefs. It would be disastrous for him to appear uncommitted to his words and easily swayed by public opinion. Instead of displaying his panic in the upcoming reshuffle, he seems to be subtly capitalising on this opportunity to minimise PR damage

Like a swan, which may look calm and graceful on the surface but beneath the water has legs which are chaotically spinning, the Prime Minister's most recent attempt to appear unflinching, strong and outstandingly calm, in my eyes, only highlights his insecurities, behind closed doors, in presenting himself as a strong leader.

Frequent, carefully maneuvered, strategic moves, such as these, which have now become synonymous with Cameron's leadership, only now highlight the panic within Conservative HQ at winning over the general public in 2015.