James Forsyth

Miliband’s Balls dillema

Miliband's Balls dillema
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After one of the many sections in Ed Balls’ speech on the economy, there was a telling moment as Ed Miliband clapped half-heartedly with a thoughtful look on his face. One could almost see him trying to work out with whether he agreed enough with what Balls was saying to make him shadow Chancellor.

There are dangers in both him making Balls’ shadow Chancellor and not. If he does make Balls shadow Chancellor, then it be a Neil Kinnock and John Smith situation all over again: the leader will have ceded control over economic policy. But if he doesn’t, then he’ll have an aggrieved Balls on his hands and considering all the other problems the new leader has to deal with, he might not want to add this to the list of them.

If it is not Balls, the field is relatively thin. There’s Yvette Cooper, who I think would be the most effective choice, but friends suggest she would not want to elbow her husband aside. Liam Byrne would be another candidate but his infamous ‘there’s no money left' letter pretty much disqualifies him. There is talk of Andy Burnham, but his leadership campaign hardly suggested he was up to such a role.