Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nick Clegg names his first Shadow Cabinet

Vince Cable's stellar performance as acting leader - his ability to discomfort Gordon Brown on the economy in particular - meant that Nick Clegg was almost bound to keep him on as shadow chancellor. This has put the kibosh on my own plan (had I won the leadership election) to move Vince to the foreign affairs brief and install Chris Huhne or David Laws in his place.

But there is still much of interest in Nick's first shadow cabinet. Chris Huhne has been given the promotion his two leadership challenges had earned him and there is certainly more Lib Dem work to be done on Home Office issues. While Nick Clegg and Mark Oaten both created a good impression in the post, it is hard to remember much of the detail of what they said.

My own candidate for shadow Home Secretary would have been David Heath, who has been a superb performer in the Commons on Home Office issues. Added to that, as Lord Bonkers has pointed out, he looks like the best sort of village policeman.

I shall be interested to see how Ed Davey gets on as shadow Foreign Secretary. Michael Moore never made much of an impression there, but then the press was also going to go straight to Ming on foreign policy while he was leader.

Many people whose judgement I respect rate Ed extremely highly, even expressing dismay that he did not stand for the leadership himself. I have not seen much from him that leads me to rate him so highly myself - I do not recall him doing much with his short tenure of the education portfolio - but I hope I shall in the near future.

Other highlights include Norman Baker's move to transport, but I do think Nick should note the (strangely punctuated) words of James Forsyth on the Spectator's Coffee House blog:
Lynne Featherstone’s talents seem a little wasted at Youth and Equality. While Julia Goldsworthy would have been better deployed in a wider ranging brief than Communities and Local Government, indeed it is a criticism of both the Tories and the Lib Dems that their female spokesman seem to all too often to just end up shadowing female ministers.


dreamingspire said...

On her own blog Lynne has posted the Press release about her new Shadow post, sounds enthusiastic and points out that it follows naturally from her local work in her constituency. So what's the problem?
Is Norma Baker's move a highlight? Only if he can get to grips with the real problem with DfT: self-serving.

Anonymous said...

Beijing-based AIDS-Activist Hu Jia Arrested Why does mr clegg not talk about this. It would be a liberal issue. He has been picked on by the china government for numerous liberal type issues.