The FT has a crisp new look today and carries an article about the possible line-up of Gordon Brown’s first team. The article follows yesterday’s news that David Miliband will not be challenging Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership. Mr Miliband’s reward, speculates the FT’s James Blitz, might be the office of Foreign Secretary although Mrs Beckett has only been in the job for one year. Mr Blitz expects John Reid to stay in place. There has been a thaw in relations between Brown and Reid in recent months and there is little sense in introducing new instability into a department that desperately needs some continuity of strategic leadership.
The most interesting decision for Mr Brown will be the appointment of his own successor. Alistair Darling has been the long-term favourite but there is now some concern that having three Scots in the top four jobs in British government won’t exactly help the Labour Party with its English problem. Mr Darling might be passed over as a consequence and Ed Balls or Jack Straw might become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Jack Straw, Brown’s campaign manager, would then have held all three main offices of government outside of the very top job. The FT says that the City would probably welcome Ed Balls as Chancellor.
Blitz also expects some big promotions for young turks Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, James Purnell and Ed Miliband in order to suggest that a Brown administration will have vitality.
This resuffle speculation follows last week’s blogtalk that the Tories might play musical chairs themselves. Dizzy speculated that Liam Fox might be moved. That would be a very risky move as Dr Fox is the champion of the right within the shadow cabinet and his emphasis on energy security represents an alternative way of selling David Cameron’s climate change agenda to people who are sceptical of the state’s ability to combat global warming.