“he’s not exactly a safe pair of hands..”

The new cut-price Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward, will be appearing on Sunday’s Politics Show for what’s being billed as his first major interview.. but while we wait to see how he feels about being, at best, Gordon’s second choice for the job, over at Comment is Free Mick has put together some initial thoughts on the role Mr Woodward will play – extracts below the fold.A couple of paragraphs, with links, worth highlighting from Mick’s post

So he can afford to take the financial hit, and he should know the ropes. Yet he’s not exactly a safe pair of hands. In his time as security minister under Hain he dropped the ball more than once. But I guess he combines a fine trace of blue blood to the Brown cabinet, with some knowledge of where the bodies are buried, and a clear understanding that they are not to be disturbed.

Overall, his task in Northern Ireland is hardly taxing. Primarily it involves the transfer of heavily circumscribed powers of policing and justice. The government’s target date for such a transfer is May next year. But with Ian Paisley junior still arguing that this cannot take place until 2011, the issue may require some considerable finessing. It has the potential to cause some disruption down the line.