But why wasn't a Conservative (or conservative) appointed? That's the question which Iain Dale asks over at his blog – and you can see his point. There are plenty of people on the right who could have stepped into the role, not least someone like Jill Kirby. Yet it doesn't follow that Milburn is a bad appointment. Here is someone who not only has the right instincts in a range of areas, but who has also fought determinedly, from within government, to put them into practice. In the forever war between the reformers and the roadblocks, his experiences and nouse could prove a useful weapon for the coalition.
Then there's the little matter of internal LibCon relations. These appointments from the left, dealing with issues such as social mobility and poverty, will surely do something to sooth a few Lib Dem worries, even if they provoke irritation elsewhere. But that's the nature of coalition government: you win some, you lose some. And I'd say that Milburn's return is a solid win overall.