The appointment of Balls is good news for the country

Ed Balls is the last person George "Slasher" Osborne wanted to shadow him.

The appointment of Ed Balls as shadow chancellor is good news for the country. The guy is smart, aggressive and passionate. He also has one particular advantage over the coalition team: a good understanding of economics.

He will quickly come up with a plan to challenge the Con-Dem government's long list of broken promises. We have heard so much nonsense on economic policy from the coalition. It must be challenged -- up to this point, it has been allowed to get away with it.

It is quite clear that the last person Slasher wants shadowing him is Ed and he made that clear to Larry Elliott of the Guardian. When Alan Johnson was appointed, Osborne expressed relief that it wasn't Balls, who, he told Elliott, "would have been at him 24 hours a day, seven days a week, forever attacking the government's economic policy".

Good. About time.