Reshuffles are strange things - and I have some experience of them as today’s was, I think,  the seventh I have observed at close quarters.

When it is finally confirmed that one is underway  ministers speculate wildly amongst themselves, journalists weave fantasy cabinets, oppositions goad and backbenchers hope.

But in reality no one knows anything except the First Minister and a small group of her most senior advisers.  They also take the brunt of the hard part.

Then the moment it is over a new order prevails and even the name plates at the Cabinet table are ready for the future.

(PS ; My extra photographs are today's 5.30 pm photo call on the steps of Bute House compared to the one in  when the Cabinet was announced after the May 2011 election. Times change....) 

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