So Mill-E has surprised almost everyone, including Alan Johnson in handing him the coveted keys to Number 11; despite it being the job Johnson coveted from early on in his ministerial career.
But what does it tell us about the New Leader of the New Generation of New-ish Labour?
Firstly, that Mili-E doesn’t trust Balls, because he knows that his thuggish determination would hijack the Shadow Cabinet and undermine his authority. Secondly, that by appointing Ballette to any economic brief, it would give the impression that there was a very powerful back seat driver guiding the controls.
For Miliband’s short political survival this was a shrewd move. For making a fist of defeating the Coalition it is insane. It also shows that Johnson is merely going to be an economic fig leaf, and the real Shadow Chancellor is going to be one Ed Miliband. In government, this was last attempted by Ted Heath, who totally controlled Tony Barber. He engineered a U turn which led to his party’s extinction at the polls and spawned Margaret Thatcher and all her works.
So what has Miliband achieved? The making of two powerful mortal enemies for a start. Two Balls are more useful than one. The Ballette is not to be underestimated. After all, she garnered the highest Shadow Cabinet vote. Putting Balls in a downgraded Shadow department leaving him just to attack May on such delights as ASBOS, and Dangerous Dogs, is both incomprehensible and a total waste of his considerable talents.
Giving the Foreign Office, a non job in Opposition, to Ballette is just a criminal waste. And imagine the secret discussions that are taking place with another Miliband casualty, former Chief Whip and Brown fixer extraordinaire, Nick Brown. The fightback has begun, but it will Balls’ not Ed’s.
But the abject stupidity and sheer political naivety of these appointments is how isolated Miliband has become. The majority of the PLP and grass roots didn’t vote for him the Blairites are bitter and briefing against him. Now, he has upset the left and the Unions because he is adopting the Darling approach of halving the deficit in four years, a sort of Osborne lite.