The Condem's have tried to make much of Ed Miliband's 'New generation' saying that the Shadow Cabinet was a collection of just the same old faces. But the senior positions were always going to go to previously serving cabinet ministers. However, only ten previous cabinet ministers, including the leader and deputy, have now been given shadow cabinet jobs, but Ed Miliband has been fairly imaginative in how he's distributed the jobs.
I still have doubts about Alan Johnson's appointment as Chancellor, but Yvette Cooper's and Ed Balls' promotions are well deserved. The previous Secretaries of State have all been given jobs they haven't had before, but will be bringing a wealth of experience to their new briefs. What is refreshing, however, is that a number of the top jobs have gone to new entrants. John Healey at Health, Angela Eagle as Chief Secretary and Caroline Flint at Communities. The temptation must have been to give all these to tried and trusted former cabinet ministers, but all these showed talent at ministerial level, and deserve their chance.
It is in the second tier that Ed Miliband has really struck a chord, bringing seven of the new intake into leading roles, shadowing departments. So the government ministers will have to make up their minds which attack they want, do they say that our front bench lacks experience, or that it is the same old faces? They can't have it both ways!
Following her spirited performance during the leadership campaign it is good to see Diane Abbott follow through and accept a number two role at Health. This will give her a real opportunity, and indicate Ed is selecting from across the spectrum of the Labour PLP.
There are a number of other MPs who have been members for a few years, but have been unable to advance, and a number, such as Stephen Twigg, who were ministers when previously members of parlaiment.
In total 22 members elected in 2010 have been appointed to prominent positions, as either minsterial shadows, or Parliamentary Private Secretaries. These work closely with a Shadow Cabinet appointee, and is often the first step on the parliamentary ladder. I am pleased to see Chumma Umanna given a role working directly for the leader, and Gavin Shukar, MP for Luton South as PPS to Sadiq Khan.
So, the new leader has carried through on his promise to create a 'New Generation,' which compares so well to the already tired looking coalition front bench. David Cameron made great play of appointing those who had shadowed to their cabinet positions, but it has backfired. The freshness you'd expect from a new government doesn't exist, and the Liberal Democrats are struggling more and more to justify policies they worked to defeat in May, and they will look even more so compared a new and enthused Labour Party.
When Ed Miliband first announced his Shadow Cabinet, I gave it a C, I now feel I can confidently upgrade that to a B. he has injected new life into the lower ranks, and expect a revitalised PLP.