Now that the government reshuffle is complete, political journalists are now turning their attention to David Cameron's likely response. Ten days ago, I made my predictions in the Telegraph and Melissa Kite has had a go in the Sunday Telegraph today. However, it is by no means certain that he will actually do anything. I was told at the conference that he was minded to stick with the current team. However, I'd be surprised if he didn't make a few changes in response to Brown's rejigging of DEFRA.
Melissa Kite is talking up the chances of Greg Barker to shadow Ed Miliband in the new Energy and Climate Change department. I would be surprised by that. She also thinks Andrew Mitchell is for the chop, along with Peter Ainsworth and Theresa Villiers. She further speculates that Jeremy Hunt is a runner for the Party chairmanship, along with Messers Grayling and Pickles. She quotes a Shadow Cabinet Minister saying "The 2005 intake are like ferrets in a sack. They are snapping at all of our heels and a few of us are getting pretty fed up with it." Good. Ship up or ship out.
Now that DEFRA is essentially all about food and farming, David Cameron might want to consider promoting Jim Paice to the job. He's a safe pair of hands and knows exactly what's what in agriculture and food production.
With regard to Andrew Mitchell, he's an easy target for two reasons. People assume he was only in the Shadow Cabinet because of David Davis's patronage, but they would be wrong. He's close to George Osborne, and David Cameron is thought to rate him much more highly than might be thought. His area is notoriously difficult get huge amounts of media coverage out of, but he has really grown into the subject in a way some of us might have doubted when he was appointed. I doubt whether he will be sacked.
I said in my Telegraph column that I thought Peter Ainsworth would have to go. On a subject which is constantly hitting the headlines he has failed to develop any sort of media profile. To shadow Ed Miliband you need to appoint a good media performer and to my mind, Ed Vaizey fits the bill perfectly.
I still think Theresa Villiers will be moved as Geoff Hoon needs a different kind of character up against him. David Willetts could be replaced by Greg Clark but I expect Caroline Spelman to remain in post. Maria Miller and Justine Greening are the two names most mentioned for promotion to the top table but they have both said privately that they don't think they are ready. We'll see.
All good fun, isn't it?