Thursday, 20 January 2011

AJ Not for Shadow Chancellor Then.

Regular readers of this blog will know that the charms, the talent, indeed the sheer bonhomie of the former Home Secretary Alan Johnson is something which seems to have passed me by.  Which is why i was perplexed by the AJ4PM campaign which started to gather some sort of pace in the Autumn of 2008.  Just being a safe pair of hands never seemed to me to be the best qualification to be Prime Minister or leader of your party.

Being a safe pair of hands has been exactly what Johnson has proved not to be when Ed Milliband appointed him to shadow Gideon Osborne as the oppositions main finance spokesman.  Speaking out against the 50% tax band was not a good start – especially as this was a policy that Milliband the younger wanted to pursue.  Making a series of gaffes was precisely what Johnson & Milliband did not need to look competent.  Johnson admitted that he would need to do his homework, but to make gaffes about NI rates seemed to show that Johnson was not on top of his brief.  His resignation avoids a potential headache for Milliband the younger down the line, with stories circulating that Johnson & Milliband had several disagreements over policy – tax and over Higher education funding.  Johnson, in short, was looking more and more out of his depth.  He was the present once…

Johnson’s replacement is Guido Fawkes favourite Labour politician, Ed Balls.  I wonder if his combative style might be best suited to shadowing Osborne (as opposed to being Chancellor), as I think that Osborne has had too much of an easy ride since the election.  It is worth noting however that those with the top jobs in Labour are all former Brown acolytes.  Balls and the new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander both worked for Brown before the 1997 General Election, while Milliband also worked for Brown, while he was at the Treasury.  I can’t see the Blairite sect being happy.

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