Why my Fantasy Frontbench is the best one.

Fantasy front bench

After creating my Fantasy Frontbench I can’t resisting breaking it down, just to illustrate the quality of it. As well as making it good, I have also tried to give it as much political balance as I can stomach and a 50:50 gender balance.

Great Offices of State

Prime Minister – Yvette Cooper was my pick of the leadership candidates post-2015 election. She has solid Cabinet experience and gravitas, so would make a good leader of a government of the grown-ups.

Chancellor – Rachel Reeves worked at the Bank of England.

Foreign Secretary – Stella Creasy has done a huge amount of work on the refugee crisis and is a PhD in Social Psychology, which ought to be useful in diplomacy.

Home Secretary – Jess Phillips has authority on this, having worked with victims of crime, but is also pragmatic and refreshingly honest, which should hopefully wrongfoot a perennially dissatisfied press.

International Affairs

Brexit Secretary – Hilary Benn. Currently chief scrutineer of the Brexit process, chairing the Commons committee on it.

Defence – Dan Jarvis. Former Army officer.

International Trade – John Woodcock. I didn’t want a Tory, who might trade away our social protections. I thought about appointing the worldly Nick Clegg until I remember one particular deal he struck in 2010 (though, to be fair, he’s probably learned some valuable lessons). I picked Woodcock because as MP for an industrial northern town he’d have a good sense of what keeps jobs in those sorts of places.

International Development – Rory Stewart. The first Tory on my list. Former diplomat who knows how warzones tick. At this Department in a junior role already.

Economy & Public Services

Business etc – Alison McGovern. One of the most impressive voices on the challenges facing the economy and the Labour Party.

Work & Pensions – Lisa Nandy. I’ve heard great things about her. Let’s see what she can do with this clusterfuck. Her background with Centrepoint should help.

Health – Sarah Wollaston. GP by trade, current chair of the Health Select Committee and respected across the House.

Education – Jon Cruddas. Both a fan of education (he has a doctorate in labour relations) and well-attuned to issues affecting the indigenous working class, so a good fit for this.

Transport – Sajid Javid. He’s in my good books because of the letting agent fees ban under his watch at DCLG. Also the son of a bus driver, so I’d like to think he’d sort out local transport.

Communities and Local Government – Caroline Lucas. In recognition of the Greens having gone furthest on regulation of the rental market.

Other stuff

Justice – Anna Soubry. Similar in lots of ways to her Nottinghamshire neighbour Ken Clarke – Barrister, Europhile, plain-speaking – I hope this also means she’s pro-prison reform.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Nick Boles. The Lincolnshire MP’s willingness to reform the green belt will be a useful counterweight to Lucas at DCLG.

Culture, Media and Sport – Chuka Umunna. An asset to any team, but I figured his love of UK Garage would make him a good fit here.

Devolved Nations

Scotland – Chi Onwurah. Initially I thought a Scot would be essential, and picked Michael Gove as a staunch defender of the union. But then I thought Newcastle Central’s MP would find some neglected-by-Westminster common ground with the Scottish Government, while also making sure devolution doesn’t damage the interests of England’s far north.

Wales – Owen Smith. His leadership challenge may have failed but he stuck his neck out and I respect that. And he’s an MP in Wales.

Northern Ireland – Ed Miliband. I think this guy wants a new challenge.


Chief Whip – Rob Halfon. Another Tory who is attuned to ordinary people’s lives, so worth having in Cabinet.

Leader of the House – Emily Thornberry. Too good a performer to have off the team and should make Thursday Business Questions entertaining.

And that’s how you sort out this country.


One Response to “Why my Fantasy Frontbench is the best one.”

  1. What now? | Esprit de l'escalier Says:

    […] Well, it was funny at the time « Why my Fantasy Frontbench is the best one. […]

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