Well, this is not the blog I had intended to write today.

Yesterday morning I was very pleased to bring you the current line-up of Green Party spokespeople. Some rising stars, some local success stories receiving national recognition, and some notable omissions. This is the sort of story that political camp followers live for – it’s always exciting to see changes in your party and talk with friends and opponents about what they mean for the future. I was looking forward to asking these questions, and profiling some of the notable people on the list who have in the past had less media attention than they deserve.

Unfortunately and rather absurdly, I am instead sitting down to write an article about how many changes you have to make to a frontbench, and how close together they have to be, in order to accurately call it a ‘reshuffle’.

As I said in my later edit, the list I posted yesterday definitely is the current list of spokespeople. However, the Green Party has asked me to make some clarifications. First, these are not the first spokespeople appointments since Caroline Lucas became leader. I am happy to recognise that this is the case and my memory was faulty – for example, Peter Cranie was appointed spokesperson on children, schools and families, and Rupert Read spokesperson on public services. Please consider this a correction.

The second clarification I have been asked to make is that this is not a reshuffle, as there is only one brand new appointment, Matt Sellwood deservedly taking the Housing brief. This needs more explanation.

One important facet of this story is that there has not to my knowledge been a comprehensive list of Green spokespeople publicly available before. The release of this list is a very welcome development that makes the Green Party more accessible and accountable, and the party should be congratulated for this small but significant change.

However, it does mean that it not always clear when past appointments have been made, and it is for this reason that I, getting news of several appointments at once, called it a reshuffle.

For example, the national spokesperson appointments of Andy Cooper (Energy Conservation) and Keith Taylor (Planning and Regeneration) do not seem ever to have been publicly announced before. So I hope you won’t feel cheated by my overstating the case; it turns out that while these appointments are news, they are perhaps not new.

There are some changes at the other end, too. Again, because a current list has not always been available I’m not sure when these changes took place, but it is notable that Peter Cranie and Rupert Read, mentioned above, are no longer national spokespeople. Most notable of all is the absence of Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member, Metropolitan Police Authority member and high-profile Home Affairs spokesperson as recently as October.

So to recap, some appointments, and some people leaving their posts, but definitely no ‘reshuffle’.

Not wanting to jump the gun, I’ll withhold my promised pearls of wisdom on these appointments until I’ve been able to tie up some loose ends with the Green Party. Specifically, I’ve asked them:

  • Given the talk of a reshuffle which I have heard, can we expect an all-change soon? Will there be one before the election?
  • When and why did Jenny Jones, Rupert Read and Peter Cranie leave their posts?

I haven’t had a response as yet but I will keep you posted.

Gary Dunion

About Gary Dunion

Gary Dunion is the Communications Coordinator for the Scottish Green Party and works for the independent MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.