Out of the shadows…

by Stephen Tall on March 8, 2006

So the Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet has been unveiled. I’ve copied my ‘Dream Team’ listing below to compare it with the real thing (names in brackets). I see I got almost everything wrong. The one exception was my tip for Jo Swinson to become our Shadow Scottish Secretary.

Generally, though, it’s a pretty good mix. I’m delighted Michael Moore and Nick Clegg have been given prominent roles: both have star quality, and are more than matches for their opposite numbers.

I’m sorry Ed Davey hasn’t been given more time to prove himself at Education – I can’t say he’d overwhelmed me in the role, but it’s a damn tricky brief to get your head around, let alone unite the party around. Still – as he proved with the ‘Penny on income tax for education’ policy, his victory in Kingston, and ‘Axe The Tax’ – he’s a formidable campaigner, and that will be his main focus now (given we’re committed to scrapping the DTI anyway).

Three MPs I’m very sorry have not been included (maybe of their own volition for all I know) are Lynne Featherstone, Evan Harris and Jeremy Browne. The former two were highly effective champions for their preferred leadership candidates (Chris and Simon respectively), and are among our best media performers, while Jeremy is simply too bright not to be in the front line.

And only four women out of a Shadow Cabinet of 25 is (obviously) just not good enough. So I really hope Susan Kramer will throw her hat into the ring as Deputy.

Leader: Ming Campbell (Ming Campbell – an easy one to get right, I admit)
Deputy Leader: Susan Kramer (elected position)
Shadow Chancellor: Chris Huhne (Vince Cable)
Foreign Affairs: Nick Clegg (Michael Moore)
Home Affairs: David Laws (Nick Clegg)
Party President: Simon Hughes (Simon Hughes – I refer you to the Ming answer above)
Policy Co-ordination: Vince Cable (Norman Lamb as Chief-of-Staff)
Education: Ed Davey (Sarah Teather)
Health: Sarah Teather (Steve Webb)
Work & Pensions: Steve Webb (David Laws)
ODPM: Evan Harris (Andrew Stunnell)
Environment: Susan Kramer (Chris Huhne)
Transport: Jeremy Browne (Alistair Carmichael)
Defence: Michael Moore (Nick Harvey)
International Development: Lynne Featherstone (Susan Kramer)
DTI: Norman Lamb (Ed Davey)
Culture & Media: Julia Goldsworthy (Don Foster)
Scotland: Jo Swinson (Jo Swinson)
Wales: Jenny Willott (Lembit Opik)
N. Ireland: Lembit Opik (Lembit Opik)
Leader in Lords: Lord Ashdown (Lord McNally)
PLDP Chair: Paul Holmes (Paul Holmes – I refer you to the Simon answer above)
Chief Whip: Andrew Stunnell (elected position)
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Forgot this one (Julia Goldsworthy)

Leader of the House: …and this one (David Heath)
Attorney General & Constitutional Affairs: …ahem, ditto (Simon Hughes)