If British politics has taught us anything in recent days, it’s that leaders aren’t the be-all and end-all. No doubt the heir-presumptive, Sir Keir Starmer, will have a critical, even the critical, role in trying to steer Labour back to power; but so will those around him, most of whom he will be appointing.

There are crucial public-facing roles to fill, and none more so than the shadow chancellorship. The economy is usually central to any party’s success, and Labour has always faced a particularly tough examination of its policies from sceptical elements of the press.

Shadow chancellors such as Harold Wilson in the 1950s, John Smith in the 1980s and Gordon Brown in the 1990s, and indeed John McDonnell more recently, helped burnish their party’s credentials, or at least helped it perform better than might have been otherwise expected. Others left less of a mark – and the most recent, such as Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and Chris Leslie are, fairly or not, pretty much forgotten.

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