Blair’s been interviewed by the police again, and the reformed Spice Girls are giving a press conference. So the reshuffle is not much news by comparison, but here are my thoughts:-
1) Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary: it sounds daft at first, but I know John Reid rated her. Would she cut it with the cops? Well, Hazel Blears did when she was at the Home Office. And after sacking women, Brown needs to promote them. I bet David Davis will be licking his lips.
2) No Deputy PM: No surprise. I mean, would you want to work with Harriet Harman? The real deputy is Ed Balls, no matter what his title is.
3) Balls as “children schools and family” – shows how crucial this is to Brown. He’s worried the Tories are stealing a march on him with the family, and has sent his best man out to get them.
4) David Miliband to Foreign And, according to Ladbrokes, another position: Next prime Minister in Waiting. Here are the latest Ladbrokes’ odds: David Miliband 6/4. Douglas Alexander 3/1. Ed Balls 6/1. Hilary Benn 8/1.
5) John Denham at Innovation, Universities & Skills. Keep an eye on the “skills” – this could be what raises our taxes next. The blueprint is already printed in the Leitch Review. It proposed £9bn of extra tax for adult education – an idea guise for tax rises.
6) Wee Dougie Alexander in DFID I have a theory about this (see earlier post) but I note he’s passed on Scotland (and dealing with Alex Salmond) to Des Browne.
7) Shaun Woodward in Ulster: Shows how calm Brown believes the situation there is now that he can send this turncoat.
8) Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Andy Burnham He’s being groomed for greater things.
9) Alan Johnson to health His mission is to make peace with the 1.3m NHS workers before election day. I suspect the pro-market reform agenda will stagnate fairly quickly in his hands.
10) John Hutton: wasted in “Business and Enterprise”. It should have been health.