Unsurprisingly, little change in the first wave of appointments to Blair’s third term cabinet team. The biggest news is the musical chairs in defence / health. Geoff “Buff” Hoon’s been quietly moved to Leader of the House, a demotion of sorts, and everyone’s ‘favourite’ Caledonian bruiser “Dr” John Reid takes his place at Defence. Patricia Hewitt (ex-DTI) is now at Health while Peter Hain goes from Leader of the House to Northern Ireland, normally seen as something of a political exile but arguably important in the current climate (especially given the recent shift of power in the province). He keeps his portfolio for Wales.
In other news David Miliband joins the cabinet as Communities and Local Government Minister as does Des Browne, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Oh, and David bloody Blunkett is officially persona grata again, straight back into the Cabinet. Still, arguable how much dmage to civil liberties he can do as Work and Pensions Secretary.
So where’s Ed Balls? Perhaps too son to parachute such a new MP into a top job, his name may well crop up in the more junior appointments to be announced. If not, it may indicate that Blair still has firm grip on the reins of power. Time will tell.