There is always a first-day-of-term excitement about a government reshuffle, albeit with new pencil-cases replaced by red boxes, while new masters in the shape of promoted ministers introduce themselves to their departments. Civil servants, who have seen it all before, study each newcomer and calculate: how can we best control this one? Even cabinet veterans with long experience are not immune to the tensions of a reshuffle, while ministerial rejects retire to the back benches to plot revenge. The worst scenario of all is a damp-squib reshuffle, which usually signals a government in terminal decline.