Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Ministerial Roundabout

Well well...

Rumours from a couple of sources that the First Minister is looking to have a wee shuffle of his Ministers. After nearly two years of government, a wee freshen up in the ministerial department makes sense - though various rumours have been peddled for months up until now, mostly unfounded.

So what do I think?

I'd probably expect that, after the mess of the sportscotland merger and Dougie McDonald's sacking/ the disappearance of his job, Minister for Communities and Sport Stewart Maxwell might head the list of those moving to the backbenches. I reckon Michael Matheson is a good tip to replace him there - he featured as the SNP's spokesman on Sport in the previous parliamentary term.

The chat is also that Fiona Hyslop may get the chop, though I don't know how reliable that rumour is. She's had a tough time as Education Secretary, trying to make good some of the party's more extravagant manifesto pledges (class sizes, scrapping the graduate endowment and student loans). Despite success in some of that, other parties have been quick to attack. I think she's incredibly competent and has done well with a tough assignment. If she is moved, expect Shona Robison (Minister for Public Health) or perhaps Mike Russell (Minister for Environment) to step up. And if either happens, I'd expect Fiona Hyslop to be offered either of their Ministerial roles.

As for other roles - Kez has made a shopping list of Ministers she's like chopped. I might go as far as agreeing with her (to a degree). I don't think Maureen Watt has been a particularly effective Minister, but she is one of the FM's "pals" and may survive. If not, I reckon, Angela Constance might get a step up (though I do believe her current portfolio is Justice and not Education). If not, perhaps Alastair Allan - who does seem to merit consideration as a rising star in the party.

I think Linda Fabiani will survive as Minister for Culture for the time being - with the huge Homecoming 2009 project well under way, a change at its head could hinder its progress. Plus I think she's good banter.

So that's my thoughts:
Michael Matheson replaces Stewart Maxwell as Minister for Communites/ Sport
Shona Robison replaces Fiona Hyslop as Cab Sec for Education
Mike Russell replaces Shona Robison as Minister for Public Health
Fiona Hyslop replaces Mike Russell as Minister for the Environment
Alastair Allan replaces Maureen Watt as Minister for Schools and Skills (less confident about this one!).
Angela Constance misses out this time round.

But I've been wrong before. Anyway, the rumours might be a load of tosh. Guess we'll just need to wait and see.

EDIT: The Steamie has similar news, though they expect Fiona Hyslop to return to the backbenches while - get this - Roseanna Cunningham comes in. Not known as a Salmond buddy... interesting speculation. Apparently an announcement at 11am.


Scottish Toryboy 10 February 2009 at 11:59  

Not great predictions here.

Fabiani out, Russell replaces her and gets constitutional affairs.

Maureen Why? is out and replaced by Keith Brown.

Alex Neil replaces Stewart Maxwell but loses sport to Shona Robison.

Roseanna replaces Mike Russell in his former gig.

Malc 10 February 2009 at 12:08  

Come on! I was a wee bit close!

Actually... yeah, I wasn't close at all. Maybe I've been taking tips from STB at predicting things.

Montague Burton 10 February 2009 at 13:12  

Better luck next time. So who leaked? My money's on Cashley.

Green_Anorak 10 February 2009 at 13:59  

Malc, you should pay more attention to my blog. I got three out of three. And over a month ago.


Malc 10 February 2009 at 14:41  

Montague - leaked what? It was made public at 11-ish.

Green Anorak - aye, fair play. And I mocked you. Just goes to show - sense prevails over grudges...

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