Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nick Clegg's First Shuffle

Having started well, Nick Clegg today walked straight into his first political brick wall with his post-election reshuffle. Not the people in the shuffle, obviously, but his first quote about it.

"I'm hugely excited to announce my new shadow cabinet. I think this team is the strongest political team in British politics today," he said.

Oh dear. And this man wants to be taken seriously. It's bad enough they use the term "shadow cabinet" which according to the Parliamentary Library is a term reserved only for the main opposition party. But to claim the LibDems have the strongest team in British politics is so far from the mark it makes you wonder if Nick Clegg is the man who writes all those bar-chart stories for Focus leaflets.

Let's compare and contrast.

Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is having a tough time of it at the moment - but in Huhne versus David Davis, its got to be Basher all the way.

Now think about pigmy Foreign Secretary Milliband against Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague. I think both of them dwarf poor little Ed Davey.

Now what about Business? John Hutton and Alan Duncan - both polished performers with a good background. Clearly, no, we'd all prefer to see Sarah Teather in the job.

The environment? Hilary Benn, Peter Ainsworth or ... Steve Webb?

Housing: Absolutely anybody would be better than Lembit!

In fact, I cannot find a single portfolio where the LibDem spokesman would be better than both their Labour or Tory equivalent.

There are clearly some good people on the LibDem frontbench - Browne, Cable, Featherstone, Lamb to name a few. But these are not the political giants in this country.

Add to that the news that the LibDem Frontbench team is now nearly half their total parliamentary party and you understand why their top team is becoming more and more like an "everybody wins a prize" machine.

No comments: