Sunday, September 24, 2006


After Tony

The Sundays don't offer much cheer for Brownites with Henry Porter predicting a 'bleak' future under the Scot and a slew of poll results in Friday's Guardian showing him a poor second to Cameron on most questions asked including a crunching 52-17 result on 'likeability'. But, assuming he gets in, even by a squeak, who will do what? That eminent interpreter of the political game, Peter Riddell came to our Politics Association yesterday and during questions suggested the following might well transpire:

Big Jobs
Darling (probably as Chancellor)
Johnson ( assuming he wins, Deputy Leader but if not, not)
Straw (possibly another candidate for Deputy Prime Minister)

Cabinet Jobs
Hewitt (seen as competent)
Miliband (possible Foreign Secretary)
Charles Clarke(maybe back in as sign Brown does not bear grudges-he does)
Reid (seen as tough and competent- better in the tent than... etc)
Hoon (well established Brownite who lost out at last reshuffle and ended up with a junior job- he'd like DCA)
Hilary Benn (maybe even another candidate for Deputy PM)

Beckett (too long in the tooth- in both senses)
Hain(not a Gordon favourite)
Hutton (who seems engaged on a 'kamikaze mission' from recent statements.)
Harmon, Byers and Milburn 'no chance'.

I wondered about Clare Short- maybe she'd reconsider her intention not to stand next election if given a job? And Nick Brown, perennial Brownite and not unpopular despite his monotone style. Well, we'll return to this when Gordon announces his first Cabinet; but we understand, from inside info, that Tony will not not do a 'Maggie' and try to be a 'backseat driver'. Gordon just wants to winkle him out of the driver's seat before worrying especially about that one though.

I hope he gets John Denham back into cabinet. I also think he should try to bring some fresh faces in from the back-benches - capable people who've been overlooked because the PLP is too large and certain types (Jowell etc) have been bed-blocking.

I think Reid will remain Home Secretary - he's having some success in a very difficult job.
I'd suggest Douglas Alexander as a more likely candidate for foreign secretary. He's had experience in the FCO with the Europe portfolio, and is probably closer to Brown than Miliband. (Did you see the interesting piece in - I forget which paper - which depicted Miliband and Alexander as close buddies?)

Peter Hain is another possible deputy who will certainly retain cabinet status. I'd like to see Ruth Kelly returned to the backbenches as a failed Blair protege.

Brown reportedly likes to keep his friends close, so it will be interesting to see what positions he gives to Brownites like Ed Balls.

I blogged a while ago about the possible composition of a Brown cabinet. I still consider John Hutton to be a very competent minister, so it would be a shame to see him go, if your prediction is correct. However I think it's more likely that Hutton, rather than Clarke, would be kept on as a sign of Brown's inclusiveness.

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Yes, I eremember your 'team'; these ar enot my predictions but those of Peter Riddell I hasten to add.
I initially thought that henrykwool's post was a parody of an advertisement for a job in a Brown cabinet...
These posts, presumably inspired by some kind of business motive, are irritating yet we can do little about them it would seem.
BTW I realize I left ourt Ed Balls, and so did Riddell in his talk. Balls must make it to a major economic dept I fully agree and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets Chancellor instead of Darling.
Giving Balls the chancellorship would be controversial, but I suppose it's possible if Gordon gains some political capital by storming the Labour leadership elections.

By the way, how did the conference on blogging go? I would have gone, but I'm in Manchester on Tuesday rather than Monday.
Riddell is wrong about Peter Hain. He is one of Brown's most enthusiastic Cabinet supporters and Brown will want to reward loyalty. Foreign Sec in my view.

I don't think Darling will get his reward though. Miliband has the Chancellorship sewn up so long as he stays out of the leadership race.
Interesting that there are lots of divergent predictions on this matter - perhaps indicative of Brown's inward personality.
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