A City financier by background, known (and in some quarters loathed) for her ferocity at the negotiating table and in Whitehall meetings, she has never had any feel for the cut and thrust of politics, or any clue how to handle the media. But she is one of the few genuinely competent people in Brown's inner circle, and her thumbprint has been on every major act of his chancellorship and premiership from the renationalisation of Railtrack to the rescue of RBS and HBOS. One recent rumour said she was being lined up to become an EU commissioner, but if she's really jumping ship whether for high-flying role in the G20, or for something in the City Brown will surely be bereft.
I've known Shriti for fifteen years, and I see The Guardian bills me as her 'former speechwriter'. Actually, I only ever inserted one joke into a speech for her, and nobody laughed. But I know the less ferocious, more vulnerable side of her, and at this stage in the slow, painful death of the Brown