Ballsing it up
Ed Balls was Gordon Brown’s consigliere for the entire lifespan of New Labour. He was fundamental in plotting the downfall of Blair, and the rise of Brown. He’s a dangerous man to hug too closely. But then, he’s a dangerous man to leave in the cold as well.
And if it isn’t Balls, then who is it to be? The other obvious choice would be Yvette Cooper – but would she really connive in the supplanting of her husband? If Balls wants Shadow Chancellor – and he was desperate for the real job a year ago – I don’t think Cooper would stand in his way. Burnham and Byrne are just too lightweight (and crippled, in Byrne’s case, by his infamous letter to David Laws), Alan Johnson has no economic background and, well, who else is there?
The solution I would try to work, were I Ed Miliband, would be to persuade Balls that he was best suited, for now, for the Home Office and that his wife should take Shadow Chancellor. But I rather suspect that won’t fly, and we’ll be seeing a duopoly of Ed’s in control.