Who’s in your Ming Dream Team?

by Stephen Tall on March 2, 2006

First: many congratulations to Ming Campbell on a convincing victory: he has a clear mandate to lead. Secondly, well done to both Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes for fighting such energetic campaigns.

When I saw Ming interviewed this afternoon, he was asked what would be his first task. To assemble his Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet, he replied. So I thought I would give him a helping hand, and have drawn up my Dream Team, listed below.

(You can compare it with the current crop here.)

Leader: Ming Campbell
Deputy Leader: Susan Kramer
Shadow Chancellor: Chris Huhne
Foreign Affairs: Nick Clegg

Home Affairs: David Laws
Party President: Simon Hughes
Policy Co-ordination: Vince Cable
Education: Ed Davey
Health: Sarah Teather
Work & Pensions: Steve Webb
ODPM: Evan Harris
Environment: Susan Kramer
Transport: Jeremy Browne
Defence: Michael Moore
International Development: Lynne Featherstone

DTI: Norman Lamb
Culture & Media: Julia Goldsworthy
Scotland: Jo Swinson
Wales: Jenny Willott
N. Ireland: Lembit Opik
Leader in Lords: Lord Ashdown

PLDP Chair: Paul Holmes
Chief Whip: Andrew Stunnell

Have I got the balance right? Have some been over-promoted and others over-looked? I’d be interested to know what folk think…

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I’d be surprised if Vince got moved.

I think Lynne might me more useful at shadowing the Home Office, even if it means not joining the Shadow Cabinet yet. Laws would be probably left on the economics. David Heath as Shadow Home instead? It’s the one post where Hughes could still be useful.

Would be a demotion for Steve Webb back to Work and Pensions. I’d probably keep Teather lower in the order. And it’s about time Opik was maybe given the chance to try something meatier.

This is a stream of consciousness rather than considered opinion though…

by Will on March 2, 2006 at 7:21 pm. Reply #

I’d keep Vince Cable as Shadow Chancellor, and would make Chris Huhne responsible for the Home Affairs, or possibly the Environment. But I’d like to see David Laws and Susan Kramer in prominent roles, too.

by Anonymous on March 2, 2006 at 7:34 pm. Reply #

It would be nice to see Robert Smith in some prominent role, too.

by Anonymous on March 2, 2006 at 7:38 pm. Reply #

Ming certainly has plenty of scope for a reshuffle, with both home and foreign affairs vacant… I certainly wouldn’t change the two that you’ve picked for those. In particular Nick Clegg (who is incidentally my MP here in Sheffield Hallam) is nailed on for that particular promotion given his role in the campaign.

I agree with some of the other comments here about the Treasury post though – I think that leaving Cable where he is and giving Huhne the Environment portfolio would send a much stronger message.

P.S. – I don’t think Ming gets to choose who party president is… 😉

by Joe Taylor on March 2, 2006 at 8:48 pm. Reply #

I’m a big Cable fan: he’s done great work for us. But the job of policy co-ordination is a big one, and I think Uncle Vince has the respect of the party to carry it off.

I also think Chris Huhne probably has a bigger profile now than Vince does.

P.S. he doesn’t get to choose Deputy Leader, PLDP Chair or Chief Whip (??) either. But they should all be in the Shadow Cabinet.

by Stephen Tall on March 2, 2006 at 9:04 pm. Reply #

Not a bad line-up, and Susan Kramer for Deputy would enthuse me (as would promoting Jo Swinson). I might be more daring with Lynne Featherstone, though – maybe even Home Affairs. David Laws is very bright and a great asset, but comes over on telly as a bit wet. I’d also prefer an urban MP to lead on crime, and you either want someone who seems bluff and tough or attention-grabbing in another way – Lynne might make people take notice, says my head, though my Liberal heart wants David Howarth for the job.

Nick Clegg at Foreign makes sense, and I’d obviously give Chris a top position. I’m not quite sure which, though, as Vince doesn’t come across badly either. Hmm. Same with Simon. It’s vital that the three people who’ve been most in the public eye (assuming Charles isn’t yet ready to return to the front bench) are all put in the front line, both because people will remember them and because it’ll say louder than any speech that, “Look, we are united.” And isn’t that pretty vital right now?

You’re right that Ed Davey should stay in the top team somewhere, too, but looking at some of those you’ve dropped, it’d be a shame to lose the terrier-like effectiveness of Norman Baker just because he looks a bit scary, though, and I’d miss John Thurso. Come on, at least people will remember him when he’s been on the telly, even if they mix him up with the RAF film they were dozing through before Question Time. Alistair Carmichael’s done a good solid Liberal job at Home Affairs, too…

All of which makes me realise that I’ll be happy to grumble about who’s been left out next week, but I’m glad I don’t have to put them together this weekend 😉

by Alex Wilcock on March 2, 2006 at 9:08 pm. Reply #

Wouldn’t David Laws be the perfect choice for policy co-ordination?

by Anonymous on March 2, 2006 at 10:59 pm. Reply #

I am instinctively uncomfortable having a non-lawyer doing home affairs. Similarly, a treasury spokesman should ideally be an economist.

I would probably have Vince Cable as Shadow Chancellor, Chris Huhne doing foreign affairs and Simon Hughes back in home affairs, or possibly David Howarth.

We often worry about the lack of women in the Parliamentary Party, and rightly so. Also troublesome is the dearth of people who can realistically be described as “working-class”. The only two that come to mind are Mike Hancock and Bob Russell. A visible role for both of these would help. (As a longshot, how about Hancock doing defence?)

by Angus J Huck on March 3, 2006 at 1:00 am. Reply #

Krammer for deputy. sadly baker has resigned so i think chris could have a beefed up enviromental brief. otherwise I’m happy with whats suggested. however if you really wanted to chuck a hand grennade in you put featherstone in as shadow home affairs.

by Cllr David Morton on March 3, 2006 at 3:10 am. Reply #

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