Friday, 1 October 2010

Labour Shadow Cabinet

Note: This is not Ed's official line-up. This is my post of choices which I made from the full list of contenders, before the nominations were made and the positions chosen.


Since the list of those who've put their names forward for the Shadow Cabinet has now been released, I thought it would be thrilling for everyone if I picked out some names from the list, said what position I'd put them in if I were Ed, and why. I haven't filled all the positions, just the most important ones and those who jumped out as being good fits for particular Cabinet roles.

Alan JohnsonShadow Chancellor - Alan Johnson

An all-round likeable chap. One of the things I most respect about him as that he's not from the usual middle-class Oxbridge PPE degree route. He was born to a single parent, lived in a council flat, and has worked such jobs as stacking shelves in Tesco and being a postman. I therefore think he'd be a fantastic choice as Shadow Chancellor, since he's well aware of what it's like to live on the breadline, and the difference that compassionate financial policies from the Government can make. Yet he also knows the value of hard work, rising from postman to prominent politician, and won't be the kind of Chancellor who spends rampantly on handouts. I would therefore expect him to come out with fair, decent budgets which are realistic in terms of recognising the need for spending to be reduced, but who would always be mindful of the impact the changes would have on the very poorest and try to minimise the negative effects. I also find him to be a nice bloke, and whilst I don't agree with introducing Proportional Representation, Johnson's support for a referendum on it shows that he doesn't put the pursuit of a Labour majority Government before his principles and values. He's exactly the kind of person I want in charge of the budgets.

Douglas AlexanderShadow Foreign Secretary - Douglas Alexander


I was going to say that David Miliband would be a good choice to stay in this position, but since he's thrown his toys out of the pram and decided not to run in the contest, I need to find someone else. Alan Johnson stood out as the best candidate for this place, but I would rather have him as Chancellor. I therefore plumped for Douglas Alexander. He's served a number of Ministerial positions and four positions in the Cabinet, and this experience works in his favour for this position because I think that Foreign Secretaries should have cut their teeth in other departments, giving them a good experience of the process of governance and getting things done. A particular position which stood out was his time serving as Minister for Europe, a job which will have given him experience of international relations. His quick rise through Ministerial and Cabinet roles suggest he is a skilled politician and should be able to handle this important and demanding position.

Home Secretary - John Denham

Aside from his previous Cabinet experience (I think it is important that the Home Secretary, being in an important job, has previous experience of other Cabinet positions,) he stood out because he was previously chairman of the Home Affairs select committee. This committee meets to discuss issues relating to national security, crime, terrorism, etc. Therefore, he has experience of the kinds of things he'll have to be dealing with as Sec. of State for the Home Department. He's also shown in the past that he is led by his beliefs and morals, as he resigned due to his disagreement with the Iraq war.

Andy BurnhamShadow Secretary for Education - Andy Burnham

Another person who just strikes me as being likeable. During the leadership campaign, he showed himself as competent and with good ideas to get Labour back on track the country moving forwards. Something I was particularly pleased by was him being the only candidate who came out as being opposed to faith schools being able to select based upon religion, a position which I also take as I think it's divisive and unfair to segregate the education of children based upon the religion of their parents. He's been committed to defending the NHS from Tory back-door privatisation plans, and I think he would show the same commitment to improving our education system if given this position, seeking to making it more effective and fair.

Hilary BennShadow Secretary for Health - Hilary Benn

A quiet MP who just gets on with things. He is the venerable Tony Benn's son, and whilst he's not in the same location on the political spectrum (and neither would I want him to be ) he seems to have inherited his father's passion, morality, and strikes me as someone who cares about making sure the Government does the best it can for the public. Providing a quality service is potentially most important in the NHS, since it can literally be a matter of life or death. I just generally get the impression that he would be the type of MP who would work tirelessly to ensure the service provided by the NHS is the best it can be, without getting too wrapped up in playing the political game. An additional indication of the good, decent bloke that he is comes in the form his expenses being judged as "beyond reproach" by the Guardian, which is always a bonus.

Mary Creagh

Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs - Mary Creagh


She's never served as a minister or in Cabinet before, but having done a bit of quick Googling, I liked the sound of Creagh. She seemed to fit well in this position because of her previous actions in Parliament, in particular, she introduced Private Members' Bill which set minimum requirements for nutrition in school meals. With the support of the Government, this was incorporated into the Education and Inspections Bill. She struck me as an MP with potential, and deserving of a Cabinet position with a view to being promoted further in future.

Shadow Secretary for Wales - Wayne David

Simply because he's Welsh, represents a Welsh constituency, and has served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Wales Office. This all adds up to him having plenty of knowledge and experience necessary for the job.

Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media, Olympics, and Sport - Tessa Jowell

She's served in this department before, and it just feels right for her.

That's all I'm filling for now. Defence is probably the most important one that's not listed, but I couldn't easily select anyone who seemed to fit well in that position.

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