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Time to do the shuffle, Ed

The opportunity for Ed Miliband to rebalance his shadow cabinet should not be missed. LabourList urges caution — it is only seven months since the last one so people haven’t quite had time to prove their (un)worthiness so best wait until Autumn. And, after all, though the anti-Ed briefings haven’t stopped, they’ve “lost much of their initial bile”. But there’s another view:

In the last reshuffle, we argued Ed had strengthened his own support within the shadow cabinet but only slightly. When the anti-Ed briefings were coming thick and fast back in January, even those who voted for him were strangely silent. Perhaps that’s the way it is with the “rising stars”. When the going gets tough, they’re not so keen to lay in to their Progress friends. Now, since the Blairites decided they couldn’t stomach backing Balls or Cooper, and didn’t have a candidate of their own, they have been quieter. And Ed has had a good few months and a good election. But he can’t afford to bank on it staying that way. He needs a few more people around him who can be guaranteed to back him and not to mince their words. Michael Dugher, Helen Goodman, Jack Dromey are possible additions. In the interests of rebalancing the shadow cabinet politically, Diane Abbott also surely deserves a place.

As to who should  join Peter Hain in departing, even if she does not go now, Tessa Jowell must surely go when her current role on the Olympics disappears in little more than two months. The outstanding other candidate is Liam Byrne.

Believe it or not, we are eighteen months into a policy review for which Liam Byrne has been responsible throughout. After the infamous “I’m afraid there is no money“note to his successor as Chief Secretary of the Treasury, you’d have thought he would have been working hard to re-establish a reputation. There have been over a million contacts with the public, he reported to a NPF telephone conference last December, and dozens of shadow cabinet working groups and policy papers. There have been several rounds of policy papers, none of which seem to lead to the next.  Nothing has yet been endorsed by conference or the NPF. In some cases, they’ve not even been discussed. Labour’s very own omnishambles. It’s hard to find an insider who disagrees.

Perhaps, it would be worth remaining cautious about removing Caroline Flint and Ivan Lewis for now, and about moving people between portfolios – although StephenTwigg had earned party members distrust within a week of his appointment. But there is no excuse not also to rebalance the middle ranks with the promotion of Lisa Nandy, Ian Lavery, Graham Morris, Ian Mearns and Kate Green.


  1. john P reid says:

    didn’t Wilson have A view On David Owens criticsm of him Come in thw cabinet and Keep quiet, or when Foot got him out of the cabinet in 1980, So if you want toget rid OF Liam Bynee, remeber when The left ousts the right from the Shadow cabinet/Party It cost labour millions of votes

  2. David Pavett says:

    John P Reid says that ejecting a right-winger from the shadow cabinet will lose millions of votes. That appears to be an argument for never getting rid people if they are right-wing.

    The truth of the matter is that Byrne should be dumped not because he is right-wing but because he does not do a good job. The Policy Review should have been a major opportunity for the Labour Party to re-establish its credentials. Instead it has been a sadly opaque process and after 18 months of work has come up with documents that are worthless.

    There are good grounds for replacing Byrne.

    P.S. I have just read the Education document from the Policy Review and the paper by Stephen Twigg in March 2012 (why so late in the process?). Both are truly awful. He needs to be replaced as well, whether he is right-wing or not. Gove-lite is not what Labour needs.

  3. john P reid says:

    evidence of Byrnne not doing a good job?

  4. Syzygy says:

    Completely agree David Pavett. Gove & IDS- lite are not policies for the LP.

    ‘2015 victory in Labour’s grasp as Ed unites the left’ | Fabian Society (link top right of this page) also gives the poll evidence as to why Tory-lite policies might drive away more than they retain.

  5. john P reid says:

    At the last election there was only 2 policies that Labour were more popular with the public than the tories, Law and Order and Pensioners in old fols homes welfare, harldy issues where labour were thought of bieng to the left on, some polices that labour may have that try to et the public on theri side like the economy, alobur will have to understand why the tyories were more popular than them on, if labour gives up on the 2 policies they were more popular than the tories on la and order ,by swinging to the left,it could be the public don’t think that we are right on anything,

    remember in 92 we were more popular than the tories on The NHS and education and that didn’t do us much good…

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