The Major government was up and running Britain on Day One without having missed a step. No slowpoke transition team. Prime Minister John Major had all of a week to contemplate the changes to make if he won the Conservative leadership contest. That was enough. It is one of the virtues of the cabinet system.
Mr. Major has taken predecessor Margaret Thatcher's cabinet and reshuffled it, so that each minister knows for whom he works. Keeping Defense Secretary Tom King and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd at their posts stresses continuity for Britain's support and military presence in the U.S.-led effort to contain Iraq's aggressions.
In domestic politics the big move was to bring Michael Heseltine, Mr. Major's strongest rival for the prime ministry, back into the cabinet he had quit in a huff in 1986. This unifies the Conservative Party for election purposes, a political tactic Mrs. Thatcher will understand. Mr. Heseltine takes up a former job as secretary for the environment, a catch-all that includes local government. He will "review" the Thatcher reform the party most regrets, the hated poll tax.