While Ed Miliband's decision to exclude Tom Harris from his front-bench team has been widely discussed on blogs over the past twenty four hours, everyone’s favourite Labour blogger is from the most surprising omission.
It appears, from a quick glance at the list of shadow ministerial appointments that no place has been found leading Blairite ministers David Lammy, Ben Bradshaw, Pat McFadden and David Cairns. Similarly, there is no return to front bench politics for sturdy attack-dogs like Margaret Beckett, cerebral thinkers such as Andrew Smith or strong media performers such as Harris himself.
While a new leader is always keen to stamp their authority on the party and fashion a ministerial team in their own image is it really wise for Red Ed to have promoted Diane Abbott yet sidelined the cerebral Pat McFadden who has a strong contribution to make to the debate on public service reform? Is it not incongruous that David Lammy, who was spoken of as a prospective candidate for Mayor of London as recently as the start of this year, now finds himself on the backbenches while the ethically-challenged Sadiq Khan has flourished? Has Red Ed forgotten David Cairns’ willingness to go on kamikaze missions in order to express his distaste at the direction of his party?
Harris, who has long blamed his entertaining blog for his departure from ministerial office, has already fired-off the following ill-tempered missive:
SO THAT was my career, was it?
A minister for barely two years – appointed by Blair, sacked by Brown, left on the back benches by Miliband. Not exactly the material for a best-selling political diary, but that’s politics for you.
Nobody ever said life was fair. I entertained the hope, for a while, that I might yet have a contribution to make towards the success of my party. Apparently not.
While one could argue that the score of newly-elected MPs appointed to the front bench are likely to be slavishly loyal to Red Ed, he would be well to remember it was unemployed and underemployed Blairites that almost did for Gordon Brown.
Only time will tell if that old adage about the devil making work for idle hands turns out to be true – but Red Ed is playing a dangerous game...