As Stephen Byers is transported to the Mandy Retirement Home -- or whatever it is that happens to blameless ministers that nonetheless feel it necessary to resign -- the sounds of a minor reshuffle creep out from under the door of Number 10. As e-commerce minister seems to be a place to park bright young things on their way up, it tends to see a lot of new blood: Douglas Alexander gets the Cabinet Office, and his place is filled by another Stephen -- Timms, this time.
Stephen Timms MP hails from East Ham, a place I know well and, in another life, somewhere I stood as a local council candidate (came last, since you ask, and a good thing too). He also stood for the local council, but since he was Labour he got in (it works that way in Newham: it's not an election, it's a fiefdom). From there, his Web site relates, it's been up, up and away: chairing the planning committee, thence the council, and then to being an MP, PPS, deputy this and that and finally minister for school standards. A Christian Socialist with a Cambridge scholarship, he did that Logica and Ovum thing -- doing the telecomms industry reports side of thing for Ovum until becoming a full-time politico.
Prime Blairite material, in other words: technocrat, impeccable social awareness and good with big business. He knows about IT, too, which would normally disbar him from any involvement with the field: it'll be interesting to see how he perceives the social aspects of the technology.
And all the way from Newham's planning committee. That had a bit of a reputation when I lived there: I must look up some of my old pals from the Barking Road and get them to refresh my memory.