Today Ed Balls was made Shadow Chancellor, and all I can say is: about time! Well, I can also say congratulations, since although it’s not a proper job and he won’t get a payrise, it’s still a promotion of sorts. But seriously, it’s about time. If I’ve understood Ed’s career correctly, his were a large portion of the brains behind Gordon Brown’s chancellorship, and various ideas like giving the Bank of England more independence were largely his. Then it became apparent that Brown might one day need a Chancellor of his own, so Ed got himself elected in 2005 so he’d be eligible for the job. In 2007 Brown became Prime Minister as we all assumed he eventually would, and... Alistair Darling was made Chancellor. I don’t completely blame him for the global economic meltdown that happened largely on his watch. I expect that things would be different if he’d acted differently over Northern Rock, RBS and the rest, but the issues are very complicated and I don’t really understand them. I doubt he did either.
I never worked out why Brown picked Darling as his Chancellor. Perhaps he offered Ed the job, but Ed saw the crisis coming and knew that nothing could be done that would leave the Chancellor looking good, so he did what Hague should have done in 1997 and bided his time. Or perhaps Brown got cold feet the way Sven did with Theo Walcott at the 2006 World Cup. Either way, now it’s finally Ed's job to tell us all how we ought to be dealing with the mess the economy’s in, and to oppose Mr Osborne when he does something else. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does. If he does a really good job, I might even vote Labour next time. Probably not though, because I don’t live in a marginal and I’m still annoyed about those wars.