Shadow cabinet appointments: full list

Ed Miliband surprises us all and appoints Alan Johnson as shadow chancellor.

It looks like we've got our first confirmed shadow cabinet appointments. Ed Miliband has stunned the Westminster village by naming Alan Johnson as shadow chancellor, with Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, the two most economically literate figures, missing out. Instead, Balls becomes shadow home secretary and Cooper, who topped the shadow cabinet poll, is rewarded with the post of shadow foreign secretary.

Elsewhere, Miliband sensibly uses two of a possible five discretionary appointments to bring back Peter Hain (who was three votes short of election) as shadow Welsh secretary and Shaun Woodward back as shadow Northern Ireland secretary.

Miliband's campaign manager, Sadiq Khan, becomes shadow justice secretary and his other key allies, John Denham and Hilary Benn, become shadow business secretary and shadow leader of the Commons respectively.

Andy Burnham, who impressed many in the party with his leadership campaign, is rewarded with the education portfolio and the post of general election co-ordinator.

UPDATE: Here's the new shadow cabinet in full.

Leader: Ed Miliband

Deputy Leader and International Development Secretary: Harriet Harman

Shadow Chancellor: Alan Johnson

Shadow Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities: Yvette Cooper

Shadow Home Secretary: Ed Balls

Chief Whip: Rosie Winterton

Shadow Education Secretary and Election co-ordinator: Andy Burnham

Shadow Justice Secretary: Sadiq Khan

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary: Douglas Alexander

Shadow Business Secretary: John Denham

Shadow Health Secretary: John Healey

Shadow Communities Secretary: Caroline Flint

Shadow Defence Secretary: Jim Murphy

Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary: Meg Hillier

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons: Hilary Benn

Shadow Transport Secretary: Maria Eagle

Shadow Environment Secretary: Mary Creagh

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Angela Eagle

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary: Shaun Woodward

Shadow Scottish Secretary: Ann McKechin

Shadow Welsh Secretary: Peter Hain

Shadow Culture Secretary: Ivan Lewis

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Jan Royall

Shadow Minister for the Olympics: Tessa Jowell

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office: Liam Byrne

Lord Chief Whip: Lord Steve Bassam

Shadow Attorney-General: Baroness Scotland

Also attending:

Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party: Tony Lloyd

Shadow Minister of State - Cabinet Office: Jon Trickett

 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Why hasn’t British Asian entertainment built on the Goodness Gracious Me golden age?

It is 20 years since the original radio series of Goodness Gracious Me aired. Over two decades, the UK media portrayal of Asians hasn’t used its success to evolve.

Save for a handful of special one-off episodes, Goodness Gracious Me hasn’t occupied a primetime TV slot for nearly two decades. Yet still it remains the measuring stick for British Asian comedy.

The sketch show, which transitioned seamlessly from radio to screen (it started as a BBC Radio 4 series in 1996), has stood the test of time and is as much a staple of modern British Asian culture as Tupperware or turning up an hour late.

What Goodness Gracious Me did so expertly was to take a set of serious issues facing first, second and now, I suppose, third generation migrants, and turn them on their heads. 

In making light of the pressures of academic expectation or family drama, Goodness Gracious Me wasn’t playing down the poignancy of such concerns; it was raising awareness and combatting their uglier side with humour.

It offered resonance and reassurance in equal measure; it was ok to have an embarrassing uncle who insisted he could get you anything much cheaper, including a new kidney, because other people like you did too.

That Goodness Gracious Me was broadcast on a mainstream channel was also a victory for minorities; it made us feel integrated and, perhaps more importantly, accepted. Against the backdrop of Brexit, what wouldn’t we give for that treatment now?

Really, though, the jewel in Goodness Gracious Me’s crown was its willingness to recognise diversity within diversity. It is a relic of a departed era when discourse on TV around Asians was different, when the broad church of that term was truly represented, rather than reduced to one catchall perception of British Muslims.

Goodness Gracious Me offered insight into the experiences and idiosyncrasies – religious or otherwise – of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and even English people. It’s what made it so accessible and, in answering why subsequent programmes have failed to reach similar heights, this is a good starting point.

Without the flexible sketch format, the modern Asian sitcom Citizen Khan has struggled to cover multiple topics, and, by being specifically about a Muslim family, it leaves many non-Muslim Asians wondering: where’s ours?

I hasten to add that I feel plenty of sympathy for the British Muslim community, hounded by tabloid headlines that attack their faith, but it would be disingenuous to suggest that non-Muslim Asians are sitting pretty in 2016 and don’t need a similar level of support in terms of positive public perception.

The current volume of British Asian media products is fairly good. The BBC has its dedicated network, The Good Immigrant essay collection was one of the outstanding reads of the year, and we still have champions of comedy in Romesh Ranganathan and Nish Kumar.

But I think ultimately it comes down to the broadness of appeal, rather than the quantity of products. Goodness Gracious Me was not only able to engage the full spectrum of British Asia; it transcended its target audience and was on terrestrial TV.

The British Asian media on offer now is up against it, released as the country’s attitude towards foreigners completes a full circle back to the same suspicion my grandfather encountered in the Sixties.

Fewer outlets are willing to explore the stretch of what it means to be Asian, either by denying it due consideration in mainstream shows or by peddling their own monolithic observations. The BBC Asian Network, for example, is laudable in its existence, but does little to engage the young Asians who aren’t into techno spliced with Bhangra.

The mainstream representations of Asians in Western film and television that are commissioned, meanwhile, are irritatingly limited and sometimes inaccurate. In an article for the Guardian last year, Sara Abassi lamented the disproportionate appetite for “gritty post-9/11 films about conservative Pakistani families”, and that the researchers of American series Homeland failed to realise that the national language of Pakistan isn’t Arabic.

When I interviewed the actor Himesh Patel for the No Country for Brown Men podcast, he suggested that the answer to re-establishing Asians in mainstream media, both here and in America, was three-fold. The first challenge to overcome was for outlets to acknowledge that not all Asians fit the same religious or cultural profile; the second was to be open to placing Asians in non-Asian specific products to better reflect their presence in society.

Patel, who is best known for his portrayal of Tamwar Masood in the soap opera EastEnders, made his third recommendation based on this role. He felt that characters should be written with only their personality in mind, making the ethnicity of the actor who plays them incidental. Tamwar’s awkwardness but underlying kindness, Patel said, was what defined him – not his skin colour.

Goodness Gracious Me, though a primarily Asian show and a comedy at that, actually taught some salient lessons about representation. It succeeded in providing a window into a multiplicity of cultures, but at the same time wasn’t a total slave to the politics of identity – several of the 100-plus characters needn’t have been Asian at all. It was reflexive to the times we lived in and a perfect advertisement for empathy. That is why we still talk about it today.

Rohan Banerjee is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman. He co-hosts the No Country For Brown Men podcast.