Des Browne hasn't exactly been excelling as UK Defence Secretary. His department hasn't even been able to ensure that all soldiers are equipped with the body armour so essential to their protection in extremely dangerous circumstances. He has a huge responsibility on his shoulders, particularly with the situation in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hardly a prime candidate to take on more responsibilities one might think.
But not the new PM Gordon Brown. He has decided that Des can slot looking after Scotland into his busy schedule.
As regular readers would expect me to say, Scotland deserves more attention than it will be afforded in the UK government under this arrangement. Given the changes in political circumstances in Scotland lately, perhaps it would have made sense to give the role of Scottish Secretary more prominence and a dedicated UK government minister (or at least a minister to deal with the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
However, there is an aspect to this decision that I find more disturbing, and that is the implications for the armed forces. Given the commitment of the armed forces, and the risks they take on our behalf, they deserve so much better than this new arrangement and Des Browne. Nothing should distract him from serving their interests.
Scotland now has a government that will look after the interests of the people of Scotland. Therefore a full time Scottish Secretary would be desirable, but not essential. A full time Defence Secretary, however, is a must.