A literary Cabinet – if authors replaced MPs

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

The cabinet reshuffle has been making headlines with quite a few shocking changes, but what if we replaced MPs with authors? Here’s just a few (the full Cabinet list is quite long) of my choices for the roles.


Secretary of State for Defence – Agatha Christie

The queen of original crime novels, Agatha Christie is my natural choice for Secretary of State for Defence because, a) who wouldn’t want Poirot twiddling his moustache in top secret defence meetings; b) we’d always know who the perpetrators were, without resorting to despicable tactics and then have a jolly nice glass of homemade lemonade.


Chancellor of the Exchequer – JK Rowling

Going from struggling single mother to noted philanthropist makes me think JK has a fairly sound grasp of the value and impact well spent money can have. She also gets the importance of spending on education and the arts.


Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Alan Bennett

I’ve always loved Alan Bennett, his eloquent portrayal of working class folks and ability to incorporate a multitude of emotions and experiences into one story make him my preferred choice for this role.


Secretary of State for Education – Roald Dahl / Malorie Blackman

This was a difficult one. Roald Dahl jumped to the top of my list for this for Matilda and the classroom scenes, but as Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman is an incredibly inspiring person and would champion unquestionable importance of literature and reading/writing in the lives of young people.


Books books books

Secretary of State for Health – Enid Blyton

Come on. Who didn’t want an Enid Blyton style Famous Five picnic? An afternoon of adventuring followed by cucumber sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and ginger cake all washed down with some creamy milk, yes please. If you’re not convinced, someone’s actually looked into this properly.


Secretary of State for Scotland – Ian Rankin / Irvine Welsh

Another tricky one. Ian Rankin is such a stellar and established author and lover of the ‘Burgh that he felt like the natural choice, but frankly I think it’d be hilarious to have Irvine Welsh tell everyone to F*!k off when they were being idiots.


Minister for Equalities – Doris Lessing

An active opponent of apartheid, she left two of her children in another continent and was brave enough to say this about it:

For a long time I felt I had done a very brave thing. There is nothing more boring for an intelligent woman than to spend endless amounts of time with small children. I felt I wasn’t the best person to bring them up. I would have ended up an alcoholic or a frustrated intellectual like my mother.”

She’d have rocked this role.


And there you have it, a reshuffled literary Cabinet. Got a suggestion for a role and an author? Let me know in a comment below or tweet me at @saralhawthorn