Daily Archives: October 3, 2008

Jim Pickard

The final pieces of the reshuffle jigsaw. These came through just a minute ago:

Caroline Flint to Europe minister Read more

Fortunately I’m off on a long weekend, racing up the M1 away from all the action in Westminster. But I couldn’t resist some parting thoughts.

- The resurrection of Mandelson is a reminder of Gordon Brown’s strengths. The prime minister is skilled at surprise, set-piece attacks. Think back to the Bank of England independence move, his first few weeks at No 10, his first cabinet, and a few of his early Budgets. All this of course highlights how poor and leaden he is at defence – an arguably more important skill for a prime minister. Read more

Jim Pickard

City heavy hitter Paul Myners is replacing Kitty Ussher as City minister.

Myners, chairman of Guardian Media Group and chair of the Low Pay Commission, is also a director of GLG Partners (a hedge fund) and Land Securities, a property company. Read more

Jim Pickard

Here is an excellent piece of analysis from former FT political editor Brian Groom. He was six years early, but his prediction was still correct.  

NATIONAL NEWS – ‘Prince of Darkness’ may return once more.
 By BRIAN GROOM.
 446 words
 20 June 2002
 Financial Times Read more

Jim Pickard

Faces from the very early days of New Labour are now back to the fore. Nick Brown returning to the post of chief whip. Peter Mandelson in the post of business secretary once again. Margaret Beckett as housing minister (I can reveal). Even Derek Draper is knocking around Labour headquarters once again.

No doubt it’s meant to represent solidarity – and silence Blairite critics within the government. But to the public, it may smack of retreat.

Jim Pickard

Alastair Campbell’s diaries have numerous references to Gordon Brown’s dislike of Peter Mandelson and vice-versa:

“TB (Tony Blair) also spoke to Peter M and said he wanted him to meet GB tonight and sort a few things out. He said if they did not work together he would have to take drastic action, because he was not prepared to let them bring the whole show down.” Read more

Jim Pickard

This is the explosive news this morning. Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner, will return to government as business secretary.

It’s a shocker because of a] Mandelson’s “Blairite” status and b] the animosity – which may or may not be historic – between him and Gordon Brown. Read more

Jim Pickard

We have heard on good authority that Damian McBride, the prime minister’s controversial press adviser, will now be taking a back seat. He will remain at No 10 and continue to advise the PM.

But the official spin doctor job is going to Justin Forsyth, special adviser to the PM on international development. Forsyth is an expert on poverty, having previously been campaign and policy director for Oxfam. Incidentally he is said to be a very nice fellow. Not sure he has much experience of dealing with Fleet Street though. Read more