17 May 2007


Well, we now have a Cabinet as well. The Law Officers haven't been settled yet, but the Ministers (sorry, Cabinet Secretaries) and Deputy Ministers (sorry, Ministers) have now been settled.

Anyway, we know about Alex Salmond's ascension to First Minister-dom. This also means he has to carry the Queen's handbag. His Department (yes, the FM now has a department) will contain Bruce Crawford, who will have the joyous task of dealing with the new Bureau and trying to get the Executive's business passed, and Linda Fabiani, the new Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture. I must admit to being concerned that there's a perceived semantic link between 'External Affairs' and 'Culture' (suggesting that Culture is a foreign concept), but Jack McConnell was Henry McLeish's Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs, so there's a precedent. Jack McConnell, however, was not in possession of an Italian knighthood, whereas Linda Fabiani is. By the way, if she requires a SpAd with a working knowledge of three European languages (plus how to say 'May you have a healthy sex life' in Estonian) to go on trips, then she only need e-mail me for my CV.

Nicola Sturgeon is the new Deputy First Minister, and is also Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing. Shona Robison will be the Minister for Public Health. Most people had tipped Shona Robison to be the Health Secretary, but someone had to make room for Sturgeon as she made room for Salmond, Robison has to content herself with the #2 post for now. Stewart Maxwell, he of the smoking ban, will join the department as Minister for Communities and Sport. This will tread on the toes of Tricia Marwick and Christine Grahame (previously spokespeople for Housing and Social Justice respectively), but such is life. Could Committee Convenerships be in the offing for them?

John Swinney takes over as Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth. Jim Mather will be Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism. Either Mather or Swinney would have made a good #1 here, so Mather is unlucky to lose out. Also in the Department will be Stewart Stevenson, the new Minister for Transport, Infrastructure & Climate Change. Does that mean he has to implement Climate Change? In any case, it's a fortunate position to be in for a man who was the Shadow Deputy Minister for Justice before the Election.

Fiona Hyslop is now Cabinet Secretary for Education, & Lifelong Learning. She can thank her lucky stars for this: it was previously thought that she would be the one to make way for Nicola Sturgeon, but Fate and Alex Salmond have clearly smiled on her. Maureen Watt will be the new Minister for Schools and Skills (she can also feel lucky, she's only been in the Parliament for just over a year), and completing the line-up will be Adam Ingram, now the Minister for Children & Early Years.

Kenny MacAskill is now Cabinet Secretary for Justice (no surprise there) and Fergus Ewing is now his Minister for Community Safety, and is lucky to get even that given the Greens' intense dislike of him.

Richard Lochhead is now Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment, and his #2 is Mike Russell.

The Cabinet is missing the aforementioned Grahame and Marwick, and Michael Matheson who resigned from the Frontbench in March. Sandra White, Brian Adam and Rob Gibson are all backbenchers having been Deputy Spokespeople (this was probably a consolation prize though), and there is no mention of Roseanna Cunningham or Alex Neil, who are probably likely to reprise their role on Committees.

1 comment:

Richard Havers said...

I just blogged on the subject....

In the new SNP cabinet the junior ministers under John Sweeney's finance and sustainable growth brief are Jim Mather as minister for enterprise, energy and tourism, and Stewart Stevenson as minister for transport, infrastructure and climate change.

Now I would have thought keeping energy and climate change together made sense and transport and tourism. Instead the numpties split them, still they are all a bit new at this. Not quite sure what 'infrastructure' is, of course I know what it means, but not how it's a part of a department, but no doubt all will be revealed.

p.s. there's also a minister for the environment so that ought to produce some interesting discussion between Mather, Stevenson and Mike Russell the M of E.