Sunday, 26 September 2010

Welcome Ed!! Now where is your teamsheet?

Having just scanned my last blog we can see that I was wrong. David Miliband didn't win the Labour leadership election; his brother, Ed, whom I voted for is the new leader. In all honesty when the results were declared I really didn't mind which brother won the ballot, I was naturally delighted to see Ed win but there is a part of me that knows that David is the only finished article and the only statesman amongst the contenders.
My immediate thoughts also went to the inevitable 'Red-Ed' and 'Union backed Ed...' headlines in today's papers; and my fear that Labour will now be so far on the back foot with the press that the necessary job of winning over the public will be nigh on impossible. However, as Ed spoke yesterday and this morning to Andrew Marr, I felt that this is the right man to take Labour to the next election and that his eloquence, values and spirit will keep the movement growing and working hard across the country. I believe that the credit crunch and subsequent recession has changed Britain; not dramatically, but enough for the electorate to at least listen to new ideas, new faces and be prepared to do things differently. Our first stable (at least so far) coalition in decades is further proof of this - the unique political situation that the UK is in gives Miliband a mandate to offer some radicalism, and hopefully he will.
His greatest strength will be the team he has around him. Despite the best efforts of the media this leadership election was fought in good spirit; the candidates displayed the utmost respect for one another and Ed Miliband's first action as Labour leader was to pay tribute to that. None of the candidates did their career any harm by fighting this long, tiring and hard campaign, we witnessed their intellect, passion for the party and energy as they attended hustings across the country and numerous media appearances throughout the summer. All four contenders are expected to be offered jobs in the cabinet; although needless to say as I write on Sunday night every political commentator is musing over whether Miliband, D will take a position reporting to his younger brother.
So what will the shadow cabinet look like? It needs to be raring to go in order to tackle the fall out from the ConDem spending review on October 20th and Miliband will be desperate to harness the best talents of the party. Elections for the shadow cabinet take place this week and as well as the big guns other names in the hat include Maria Eagle, Stephen Twigg, Iain Wright and Mary Creagh.
Labour rules mean that Miliband must ensure there are at least 6 women in the shadow cabinet, and he has already stated his intention to work towards a 50/50 ratio of men to women. Having managed Ed's campaign and increased his media presence significantly in recent months, Sadiq Khan must be in line for a more senior post along with the defeated leadership contenders. My thoughts on how it should, and maybe could look? Well, okay then, for what it's worth..

Chancellor - Ed Balls. I know that there are concerns that his economic policy is too far away from Miliand's 'starting point' of Darling's four year deficit reduction plan but Balls has to be the natural for the job. He lived and breathed the Treasury for so many years under Gordon Brown and we all know he would have Osborne for breakfast, lunch and dinner on economic policy and understanding.

Foreign Sec- David Miliband. Clearly not Miliband the elders dream job but it would keep him at arms length from his brother, he knows the job and the people involved. He has a good reputation abroad and would keep his name on the international circuit.

Home Sec - Yvette Cooper. Making the Balls' and Miliband families Britain's most powerful political dynasties but she is a formidable force and her work in Work and Pensions would give her excellent grounding for such an important role as the cuts take hold. Her parliamentary style would overshadow the forgettable Teresa May and she would get straight to nub of the real costs to society of police cuts.

Health - Please, please Andy Burnham. He may want a promotion but he is so passionate, so articulate  and so right when it comes to health and the NHS that he absolutely must stay in this role. We need him to fight for the NHS.

Justice - Harriet Harman. Ever popular and passionate on so many subjects this would be a great job during the tough times ahead for the prison system and with crime likely to increase as unemployment goes up. Harriet will do brilliantly against the old stalwart Ken Clarke for some sensible and progressive debate.

Education - just not sure on this. Michael Gove, despite his terrible start in the role, is well liked and very articulate. Ed Balls terrier tactics certainly got the better of him but this role needs I think an experienced hand. Alan Johnson?

Defence - Douglas Alexander? Liam Byrne? A tricky job that requires experience, maturity and care. The last government's reputation amongst the armed forces lies in tatters - some serious repair work and a sensible brief.

Work & Pensions - this could be one for Sadiq Khan; likely to be an increasingly high profile role up against IDS. Sadiq's 'man of the people' style could suit this role, he understands what the cuts will mean to the man on the street.

So what do we have left? Equalities, Culture, International Aid,  Business, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Environment,  Local Government, Transport, Universities.....How about these names for the hat for these lower profile roles...Diane Abbot, Peter Hain, Caroline Flint, Huw irranca- Davies, Ben Bradshaw, Vernon Coaker, Hilary Benn, Fiona MacTaggert, Rosie Winterton, Pat McFadden and David Lammy

Wow, what a team we could be. My plea? Get together, work together, remember why you are there, why you are Labour and lets get on with it! As they say on twitter....#proudtobeLabour


  1. A good looking line up there, Helen. I would love to see Ed Balls eat up Osborne, in the same way as he has Gove.

    However, I do think that we need to see some more fresh blood come in, and some of the people who were junior ministers get the promotion they deserve. Ben Bradshaw has been a good minister at Culture (and before), and will also help in showing people that Labour CAN win in the south.

    Heres a name from left field - Eric Joyce. He is rare in the labour party - someone with army experience. He has also good ideas on international development and foreign affairs which someone in the Defence role will need, as these 3 areas become increasingly interlinked.

    Interestings times ahead!

  2. I think D Miliabnd should be in the treasury; his policy is more in line with E Miliband's.

    Ed Balls is well suited to education in the same way that Andy Burnham is to health.

    I think you missed out John Denham: in my blog I suggested him as shadow foreign secretary.