Why then is Stevens so popular? Partly, it is because he was a successful Met chief who has proved himself to be media savvy with his TV appearances and columns in the News of the World. Yet, more important is that he serves as a form for validation for politicians with a sceptical public.
The electorate are now so cynical that they are inclined to dismiss politicians’ promises as meaningless unless they are accompanied by a guarantor. So, for example, if you want to be deemed credible on aid be photographed with Bono or appoint Bob Geldof to advise your development policy group.
This reshuffle with its smattering of outside figures, and the spinners emphasis on them, shows that Brown gets this. Indeed, interestingly, he extends this into the less eye-catching aspects of policy: note how Alan Greenspan is a Treasury adviser. In this respect, at least, Brown has proved himself to be in touch with the zeitgeist.