Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Scottish Government reshuffle

So the first reshuffle of the SNP Government has taken place, with a few junior Ministers making way. The changes are:
  • Mike Russell replacing Linda Fabiani as Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture
  • Roseanna Cunningham taking Mike Russell's Environment brief
  • Alex Neil replacing Stewart Maxwell as Minister for Housing and Communities
  • Shona Robinson adding Sport to her Public Health brief
  • Keith Brown replacing Maureen Watt as Schools Minister

All in all nothing dramatic - certainly not Cabinet posts that have been effected. Bit surprised about Stewart Maxwell, most people I have spoken to were fairly happy with his perfomance, at least in regards to the Community aspect of the portfolio - wonder who he annoyed?

Opposition parties have sniped a wee bit but to be honest there is little to be said about the changes. It will be more dramatic once Salmond decides to move around his main players - however, with a relatively small pool to choose from and a generally successful government thus far, I wouldn't expect to see changes any time soon.

Edit: Andrew Burns raises some interesting points with his blog - could Salmond have chickened out of sacking any Cabinet Ministers? Fiona Hyslop certainly would have seemed the most likely option - would be interesting to find out whether there were indeed any refusals.

In addition, I forgot to mention that Mike Russell also has responsibility for 'consitutional' matters, meaning that he will be driving the process of the referendum and the submission to the Calman. As a keen associate of Salmond it will be interesting to see how he does in this role - certainly the referendum seems a distant possibility in the current political climate of Scotland.

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