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Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet: Labour's new line-up | The Economist

Overall, the shadow cabinet looks a tad more left-wing than the previous one. There are fewer Blairites and many of the surviving ones have been given relatively minor roles, such as Liam Byrne (cabinet office) and Caroline Flint (communities and local government). That the closest thing to a New Labour figure in the top four jobs is Mr Johnson, a former trade-union man, will encourage Mr Miliband's Tory opponents to continue labelling him "Red Ed". There are also lots of women in Labour's team, some well-known (such Ms Harman, Ms Cooper and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics spokesperson) but many who will be new to the public, including Mary Creagh and Meg Hillier, who are responsible for the environment and energy respectively. Measured by sheer talent, the new shadow cabinet may be just a bit weaker than the last one. This was partly unavoidable, as big figures such as Alistair Darling and Jack Straw have gone to the backbenches. But this has been compounded by the election of so many untried names by MPs.

The biggest conundrum is Mr Johnson. His genial charm and his rise from a seriously deprived childhood could make life tough for George Osborne, the chancellor, who is easy to characterise as an out-of-touch son of privilege. Mr Johnson is also centrist on most things. On the other hand, he is not renowed for his technocratic mind, and the treasury brief is among the most intellectually demanding. Neither does he have the luxury of time to learn. Mr Osborne's comprehensive spending review will be delivered on October 20th.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 12:27:27 PM EST

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