It seems Linda Jack and Zadok Day agree - not sure I've ever seen that before. And I disagree with them both. Laws at Education is a great appointment.
Education is very important as I've blogged before - I actually think, given a terrible Hobson's Choice between the two, that I would improve Education over Health. Fortunately we don't have to make that choice. David Laws has good ideas. David Laws has ideas the other parties don't always agree with. David Laws likes free schools. As do I.
I'm not a Right Wing Lib Dem tho, however much some members of Liberal Reform would like me to be. I do see the sense in good policy and I also believe in devolving power. That's why I actually disagree with party policy on free schools, and I think that's fine. Linda Jack protests against David Laws holding a different view from the party and that's her objection to the move.
Zadok's is different in that he believes it's a bad use of Laws' talents and that he'll be "wasted at education". I'm not so sure. He's clever, good at negotiations and can make a decent argument. Yes, he's tainted by a frankly stupid move over expenses but he's hardly Peter Mandelson.
In fact my overall impression of this reshuffle is I don't think the Lib Dems have done that bad. People I know are screaming blue murder, about us not having anyone at FCO or MOD.
But, in the interests of pragmatism it doesn't look that bad to me. Norman Lamb, who was only prevented from going into Health because Lansley didn't want him here, is now there. The excellent Jo Swinson has been promoted.
The most baffling response I've seen is the RW Lib Dems response to Laws going into education, as if there was only one place for him to be. If we accept that he's our greatest asset, then surely he should be able to turn his hand to anything - besides he does have a background in education.
It is a little troubling that we still don't know what's happened to Lynne Featherstone or what the Tories plans are on equal marriage - in fact that's quite saddening. But a minister at DEFRA is precisely what we are good at and in fact it's something Lib Dems have complained about in the past, that we don't have anyone there.
Yes, there are huge stories such as what the Tories are doing promoting Hunt to Health Secretary. But, in a strange sort of way, I'd rather they had the big stories. We are good at what we are good at.
I don't think we are big enough to have people in each department - I think it's been hard for us to spread ourselves among the departments we have done. I think the right people have been promoted, and I think the right departments have been targeted.
People that know me may be surprised that I'm not in a reactionary sort of mood. In fact I'm reasonably pleased with the appointments and I also think we've done better strategic moves than our
Am I being stupid? Blindly loyal? Out of touch with the party? Or does a call to look to the positives, analyse the results as they come and stop thinking we are doing EVERYTHING WRONG, not ring a bit true....
I guess we'll see. Either I'm growing up politically or I've been possessed by a equable spirit that has squashed the reactionary soul inside me, but I really think the best course of action would be to wait and see... We seem too keen to jump on any action we do as a party and condemn it or wonder why we didn't do it this way, or that way. And both "wings" are guilty of that.
And, as for the "watercooler test" - i.e. did anyone in my office remark on it ? No, not a peep. One for the political birds, or nerds, it seems.