James Forsyth

The Lib Dems need their A team on the field

The Lib Dems need their A team on the field
Text settings
Comments

Nick Clegg’s reshuffle illustrates the problems that he is going to have as Lib Dem leader. Three of the most talented and well know Lib Dems won’t be on the front bench. It is hard to imagine that a party as small as the Lib Dems can afford to have big beasts like Charlie Kennedy, Paddy Ashdown and Ming Campbell missing from the front line.

The top team is, though, as Iain Martin argues, strong in certain aspects. Vince Cable is an impressive figure and if the economy goes south, he’ll make sure that the Lib Dems benefit politically. Ed Davey will be a more formidable foreign affairs spokesman than Michael Moore and Chris Huhne will work tirelessly at Home, how much that will please the new leader remains to be seen.

Other appointments suggest that Clegg is still a little too cautious. I’d have like to have seen David Laws given a brief covering public service reform in its entirety. But the appointments to the public service posts do suggest a definite, and welcome, tilt in the Orange Book direction.

Lynne Featherstone’s talents seem a little wasted at Youth and Equality. While Julia Goldsworthy would have been better deployed in a wider ranging brief than Communities and Local Government, indeed it is a criticism of both the Tories and the Lib Dems that their female spokesman seem to all too often to just end up shadowing female ministers.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articlePolitics