Milburn gets to be Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and in the Cabinet. Alan Johnson (who?) gets to be pensions secretary and Stephen Twigg is pencilled in for his vacated education post. Neat, Blair avoids upsetting the grumpy Scots who run the Labour party (Ian McCartney) and the other one who wants to run the country. If Milburn had been given the party chairman’s job it would definitely have caused Gordon Brown to be without any toys in his pram. Past Duchy* officeholders Ken Baker and Norman Tebbit used it as an effective campaigning platform. Milburn will want to do the same from the lefthand side*. Brown will want to kill him.
Howard astutely took the opportunity to shuffle his pack, the Vulcan returns as shadow deregulation secretary – but who does he shadow? Dripping Wet Damian Green and bone dry John Bercow leave the Tory front bench. Young Bercow will be spinning the line that he is happy not to be tainted with the election losing team. Some new faces sprinkled around, much under-rated Howard Flight becomes “special envoy” to the City – he’ll be passing round the bowler hat come election time.
*Little reggae spliff joke, I know you aren’t really interested in past Duchy of Lancaster office holders.