Earlier today, we saw the relatively rocky announcement of Labour's new frontbench team. While some familiar faces were appointed, there were a few surprise announcements, with some established names either demoted or entirely absent, with some established figures either receiving demotions or left absent entirely. Additionally, we saw the promotions of some rising stars within the Party.
Looking at the big picture, what we can see from ARichTeaBiscuit is a broad shift to the left. This is apparent with left-wing stalwart jgm0228 continuing as Shadow Chancellor, self-described libertarian socialist HKNorman's promotion to Shadow Home Secretary, the appointment of RSP veteran agentnola to the Shadow Business brief, and left-wing newcomer Captain_Plat_2258 taking over as Shadow Climate Change Secretary. We also saw former SNP grandees Wiredcookie1 and IceCreamSandwich401 take on the roles of Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Scotland Secretary, respectively.
Despite this, we have still seen some names from the right and centre of the Party hold on to senior positions, including ThePootisPower continuing as Shadow Work Secretary, NeatSaucer continuing as Shadow Housing Secretary, TheOWOTrongle as Shadow Transport Secretary, Maroiogog as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, and Captainographer continuing as Shadow International Trade Secretary.
There were some noteworthy absences from the frontbench, including SomeBritishDude, who was controversially removed for making racist comments, but also model-david, who has taken the decision to step down from frontline politics. Notable demotions included redwolf177, who was moved to Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Lady_Aya moved to Wales from International Development, and Borednerdygamer moved from Shadow Health to Shadow Leader of the House of Lords.
However, it would be foolish to not mention the organisational mayhem surrounding the Shadow Cabinet announcement, with dissatisfaction over certain appointments, and the revelation that only some Frontbenchers were told of their positions in advance. Additionally, there has been some criticism over the size of the new frontbench, as it now has 30 positions. While some had been hoping for a downsize, the fact the frontbench has expanded may be hard to justify, especially to those who found themselves demoted or left out entirely.
What can we take from this?
Despite the shift to the left, this seems to be an economic shift only. Unity is still very much the name of the day in the Labour Party, despite some absences, and the various rising stars who received promotions today have plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Not the ideological purge some may regard it to be, more of a shift to some new ideas and fresh blood. That said, the organisational mayhem shows that the Labour leadership has a lot of thinking to do about how it carries out Shadow Cabinet reshuffles in the future.
Jay Winterbourne is a political correspondent with the Independent.