Public Affairs: Soap Box - Paul Richards, former Labour special adviser

If you are playing political buzz word bingo in the coming days, the word you want on your card is 'incompetence'.

There is a strong view inside the Milibunker that incompetence is a charge that will stick on ministers.

William Hague's hapless bungling over Libya, the omni-shambles over health reform, the likelihood that useless special advisers will be getting their P45s and Craig Oliver missing the motorcade: all of these things add to the growing sense of disarray.

Labour's comms team knows that once the Government is tarred with the brush of incompetence, it is almost impossible to wash away.

It was certainly what happened to John Major's government, which never recovered from Black Wednesday and the 'back to basics' fiasco.

Brown's government struggled with lost data discs, 10p tax, Damian McBride and the Ghurkhas. When events kebab message grids and crowd out comms plans, governments fight, but usually fail, to find their feet.

David Cameron will know he needs to seize control of the agenda and look like a man in charge. But the contradictions inherent in his coalition make it tricky.

A government whose public service reforms have to be approved by delegates to the Liberal Democrat conference is always going to find it hard to build any forward momentum.

The NHS reforms are now the coalition's Achilles' heel. Andrew Lansley has staked his career on his seismic NHS plans. He would rather resign than retreat, especially in the face of Liberal Democrat backbenchers. Once you have ticked off 'incompetence' on your bingo card, listen out for 'resignation.'

Paul Richards is a columnist for Progress magazine and a former special adviser to Hazel Blears and Patricia Hewitt.

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