Who is who behind the scenes in the coalition?

Today’s Guardian has a pretty decent go at covering who the key advisers are, on both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative side, how they are working together, who talks to who and so on.

The piece has been praised by others today, but I only say “pretty decent” because it doesn’t mention Alison Suttie. Talking about Lib Dem advisers without mentioning her is a bit like talking about Lib Dem MPs without mentioning Vince or my diet without mentioning chocolate. Previously for Ming Campbell and now for Nick Clegg she’s played an absolutely key role in a deputy chief of staff type way. You can’t sensible understand or describe the whole without including her.

Indeed, the importance of Alison Suttie’s role is demonstrated by the short period of time when she wasn’t doing it during post-election shuffles around – and her absence was immediately missed. (I strongly suspect it’s that period of time which was the cause of the dismissive anonymous quotes about how Nick Clegg’s office is run in the Guardian piece.)

The other element the piece is missing is the recent decision to change around some of the responsibilities, with Jonny Oates moving from a 10 Downing Street communications role to being Nick Clegg’s Chief of Staff.

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  • Matthew Huntbach 19th Aug '10 - 11:57am

    Who are all these people identified as Liberal Democrat “insiders”? What experience do they have in the party? What experience do they have of real life as ordinary people live it? After over 30 years in the party I have not even heard of most of them and there is not one who I would have any confidence in to provide the sort of advice I would want to see the leader of my party getting. As Leader, Clegg ought to be making sure he keeps in touch with the party by having people who have come up through the ranks in the party as his advisers. He ought to realise e.g. that people who have a record of winning local elections probably have a very good idea on what works as practical policy and for the party, much better than some clueless wonk from the ad-men world. Instead, he appoints right-wing yes-men to go down on the sinking ship with him. What a shambles.

  • Chris Keating 19th Aug '10 - 2:28pm

    I don’t think any of the Lib Dem SpAds could be called “right-wing yes-men”, to be honest with you… And while some of them are definitely “wonks”, those that are, are far from clueless.

  • @mark p, I don’t think you will find trying to introduce @Matthew to reality will make any difference. He would much rather live in a fantasy world of right wing sellouts. Quite why someone who works in academia should think he is more in the ‘real world’ than someone from advertising is a bit baffling. Adverting people live in a culture absolutely attuned to what people actually do, and are obsssed with data.

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