A cabinet of all talents

Our regular feature provides an opportunity to pick a ‘dream cabinet’, composed of any living person in the world. You must also abolish one department and create a new one. In this issue, Rowenna Davis makes her picks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer
Lord Glasman

This particular Lord understands that our economy is in need of major reform. At the moment we have a recovery based entirely on the City of London and financial services, plus a bit of a housing bubble. That doesn’t provide opportunities for people, and it leaves us vulnerable to more shocks. Glasman wants to see us learning from Germany, with regional banks, advanced manufacturing, respected vocational education and worker representation on the boards of companies. Plus he smokes roll-ups and is not afraid to speak his mind.

Foreign Secretary
Gloria de Piero

Quite simply, this woman will charm any foreign leader into anything. She’s as comfortable talking to a road sweeper as a billionaire and she has nous and energy. She wouldn’t take any rubbish and would cut straight to the point with a bit of glamour. Putin wouldn’t know what to do.

Home Secretary
Angela Merkel

This office is notoriously difficult to navigate and full of snakes. What it really needs is a no-nonsense matriarch who can keep the whole thing under control. Ms Merkel would bring back much needed confidence in our police force, and cut through corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy with common sense.

Secretary of State for Defence
General Richard Dannatt

This man is a brilliant and experienced army man, presiding over incredibly difficult circumstances. He’s spoken out against defence cuts that are decimating the army, and understands that Trident is not forever – it may be better to spend the money on protecting us from modern threats. He has credibility, experience and a moral compass.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
John Bloor

This head of Triumph motorbikes was the son of a coal miner and rose up to take this company out of difficulty and fund a new factory in Leicestershire. When last I checked the company employed 1600 staff and produced about 49,000 British motorcycles. It would be good to have someone in the business department who’s actually worked in business, particularly manufacturing. It’s time to get our exports up!

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Jon Cruddas MP

Jon Cruddas understands contribution. The basic principle that you should put in before you take out has been eroded in Labour, all be it with the best of intentions. If you can work, it should always pay to do so. If you can save, it should always be rewarded. He’s worked with working class people in Dagenham for years, he’s grounded in those values and he has the gravity and the credibility to lead them with the general public. Plus I like that he actually reads philosophy.

Secretary of State for Justice
Lisa Nandy MP

This former youth worker has a strong heart and clear moral lines. She understands rehabilitation, and the need for justice to be served. She’s a rising star in the party and would add conviction to any cabinet table.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Arnie Graf

This community organiser from Chicago helps run the Industrial Areas Foundation. Softly spoken with silver hair, he knows everything about power and how it operates. He’s worked with people to win the living wage and hundreds of new homes. He came to the UK to help transform the Labour Party, and his work lives on. He would build leaders in our communities that transformed this country. Communities would go from the least to the most exciting position in the Cabinet.

Secretary of State for Health
Liz Kendall

Liz Kendall has quiet strength. She understands what prevention and integration means. She doesn’t think that more money or a bigger state are the answer to everything. She understands the values of community and responsibility, and she has compassion and humanity. That’s a rare combination in our politics and we need more of it.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ruth Davis

Political Director of Greenpeace UK, this leader understands fully the challenges facing our environment. But she also gets that you have to bring people with you. She can be trusted to get the job done.

Secretary of State for Transport
Andrew Adonis

This man gets that we need major investment in infrastructure. We need to stop sinking money into benefit flows, and start investing money in infrastructure that delivers the people in the UK a return. Adonis understands just how far we are lagging behind other countries in this respect, and would turn things around. (Although I would get Lord Glasman to remind him of the importance of local bus routes and regional railways as well as grand scale projects).

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Michael Portillo

This man is experienced, charismatic and has a huge appreciation of the arts as well as politics. He would also help Adonis on the railways.

To be abolished: The Treasury

In terms of a post I would scrap, my ideal would be to break up the Treasury, which at the moment has a stranglehold on every department. Like most other European countries, I’d split it in two, one financial department being responsible for inflows (which Lord Glasman could manage) and one for outflows.

The new Secretary of State, their title and responsibilities

Minister for Outflows
David Soskice

This LSE Professor would run my new department, and is an expert on the German economy who understands regional banks, vocational education and worker representation.