The BBC has just announced that Margaret Beckett will be the new Foreign Secretary in Tony Blair’s post-Local Elections reshuffle. I am absolutely baffled by this decision. Beckett is really quite an old stager – she has held a number of cabinet posts and most recently Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and it strikes me has been neither good or bad in any of her posts. She is also not really the best communicator and this appointment looks like Blair just moving the same people around, rather than promoting new talent. Further, while I understand the need for a reshuffle, and although I do not think Jack Straw has been great as Foreign Secretary, why move him in this reshuffle? The only redeeming feature in all of this is that it is good to have a female Foreign Secretary, but beyond that, I am deeply sceptical.
I believe Margaret Beckett is now the only member of the Government who was a member of the previous Labour Government, before Blair’s.