Political

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 in effect moving from a 10 Downing Street communications role over to being the effective chief of staff in Nick Clegg’s office.

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