Thursday, December 20, 2007

The New LibDem Front Bench is a Shadow of Its Former Self

The LibDem frontbench team has been announced by Nick Clegg. Details HERE. I suppose you might expect me to say this, but it's not exactly awe-inspiring is it? There are some rather bizarre appointments. Ed Davey becomes the Des Browne of the LibDems, having been promoted to Foreign Affairs spokesman, while also being the Campaigns Coordinator. Danny Alexander has even more jobs - Work & Pensions, Leader's Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Manifesto Group. The business community will no doubt welcome that titanic political figure to the post of Business & Enterprise Spokeswoman. As far as I can see, the only new names are the pseudo Conservative very able Jeremy Browne and the likeable Stephen Williams. Lynne Featherstone's demotion is ill-judged. I suppose it is done on the basis that she was Huhne's campaign manager and therefore deserved it. Bad politics. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Imagine the difference if Nick Clegg had been able to include Ming, Charlie Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown in his front bench team. Now that WOULD have been newsworthy.


Theo Spark said...

How can you be a shadow of a shadow. They didn't exist before!

Anonymous said...

Mark oaten did the only news worthy thing that any limpdum ever did except that thorpe bloke.

Stephen said...

how long before browne gives up and joins the tories?

John M Ward said...

Theo wrote: "How can you be a shadow of a shadow."

"Babylon 5" aficionados will be aware that this is what the ruling class of Drakh called themselves.

Overall, there is nothing exciting or even particularly interesting in what has been announced; but we do need to remember that even now there aren't all that many LibDems from whom to pick a shadow team.

I see the same as our Labour opposition on Medway Council are faced with -- nowhere near as many positions, but only 13 members from whom to pick them. It isn't easy, especially if one does not wish to cause offence to the losers...

Anonymous said...

Au contraire. This would appear to be part of Iain's organised knocking campaign which reveals just how worried the Tories are by Clegg.

The Lib Dems now have impressive talent in a large number of portfolios.

I wouldn't claim Davey was stronger than Hague, but figures like Lamb, Laws, and Webb are at least the equal of their Tory counterparts, and with Cable and Huhne in top jobs it is a very respectable team.

Paul Linford said...

Yes, Inamicus, but how much stronger would it have looked with Ming (or Ashdown) as Foreign Affairs spokesman and Kennedy in a senior role (Environment, or Europe maybe)? The Lib Dems are not so blessed with political heavyweights that they can afford to leave people of that kind of stature on the backbenches. The size of Clegg's team (30) is also ridiculous - we seem to be going back to the days when every Lib Dem MP had to be given some sort of job or other.

Agree wholeheartedly with Iain about Lynne Featherstone. This demotion is not only undeserved, it is politically crass.

K S Rees said...

I fear that Clegg could be making similar mistakes to Gordon Brown in not making the best use of the available talent.

He did at least give Huhne a respectable position although with the vote so close that was to be expected.

Biggest disappointment is Lynne Featherstone's demotion - personally I think she has the potential to be a great future leader of the Lib Dems.

A Swansea Blog

Anonymous said...

Golly !
Norman Baker, Shadow for Transport. This is the man who has contributed to the terrible mess in his Lewes Constituency by constantly being against making the A27 from Lewes to Polegate a proper dual carriageway.

How stupid of young Clegg to give Norman this position before the scandalous matter of NB's misuse of expenses has been cleared up.(And probably some other skeletons in the cupboard, too, going back a couple of decades).

Anonymous said...

How would he have included Paddy?

Also, Kennedy? I don't think he's ready yet...

Anonymous said...

21.47 hrs 20.12.2007 ... the link takes you to a LibDem page which shows:

Shadow Cabinet Members in bold


Vincent Cable MP
Julia Goldsworthy MP (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Colin Breed MP

Michael Moore MP
Mark Hunter MP

David Heath MP (Shadow Lord Chancellor)
David Howarth MP (Shadow Solicitor General)

Nick Clegg MP
Jeremy Browne MP
Tim Farron MP

Hmmmmmmm - guess they really are dumb!

Anonymous said...

Agree with you re. Lynne Featherstone, ahhh at least Huhney got a decent job so I'm happy!

And why are people assuming Charles Kennedy et al would have accepted any lib dem team jobs (I will NOT call it a shadow cabinet!)??

Anonymous said...


Impressive talent? Where? Even where someone has some skill, Clegg appears unable to use it effectively. This line-up is completely uninspired.

And why is he calling them all "shadows"? The LibDems are not, though that is all they aspire to be, HM's Opposition. I thought they always called them spokesmen before (or rather made up the ridiculous word "spokespeople").

Anonymous said...

They're all lightweight pipsqueaks, IMO.

I still think it highly possible that Harriet Harperson will make PM once Broon gets knifed. Perhaps Clegg thinks so too and has gone for a line up that will look good compared to the likes of her?

Anonymous said...

Goldsworthy is newsworthy in Cornwall. The Tories need to win this bastion of liberalism if they are to be serious about winning the next election.
Cleggy has posted Goldsworthy to sort out a smooth single authority transformation in Cornwall and ensure the County holds those 5 Parliamentary seats for the Liberal Democrats. A shrewd, move I would say. I read that the conservatives are in total turmoil down there, with the average age of a member being 80 years old. Membership is dying at an exponential rate whilst Goldsworthy is mopping up the Youth of Cornwall at a whopping rate.
Clegg is not that stupid.

Anonymous said...

The thing is- the Libbies are a 'comedy' party. I can't take 'em seriously at all. A Libbie falls into either of two categories;- i) a joke ( Oaten, Kennedy), ii) verminous ( Nicol Stephen, Hughes). To say i hold 'em in contempt is putting it mildly!