A genuinely New Generation

8 October 2011

12:17 PM

8 October 2011

12:17 PM

Labour’s reshuffle is the best thing Ed Miliband has done since he became leader.
I say this mainly because I am feeling very smug because I have been writing that the Labour Party should skip a generation for some time.

I wrote (slightly too admiringly) about Chuka Umunna’s rising star in January 2009 when he was still a
not-so-humble lawyer and Westminister hopeful. Umunna was arguing that the party should get more radical long before it became fashionable in Labour circles.

Then in September 2009 I wrote (rather pompously) in the pages of The Spectator that
it was time to hand over to the next generation. At the time Ed Miliband took me to task for saying that his generation should be passed over.


At the time I tipped Stella Creasy and Rushanara Ali over Mary Creagh, Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall, but I feel I am vindicated in principle by Miliband’s decisions today.

Labour is lucky to have great strength in depth in the new intake. They are a generation who grew up while Labour was winning and they will expect it to win again.

There are some very good young Conservative MPs too. But there are also some stinkers. I had a private conversation with one in Manchester who explained that his favoured form of government was
dictatorship. I asked him to elaborate and he told me to look at the Korean car industry. I was so embarrassed I didn’t like to explain that he was talking about the wrong Korea. Manchester
was depressing for the number of “throwback” conversations I had, including one with a Cabinet minister who explained that inequality was no longer an issue because all young people now
talk the same.

The Conservative Party doesn’t yet need to worry too much about the Labour Party. But it does need to worry about itself.

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Show comments
  • Charlie

    The labour Party have never appreciated the impact of technological evolution and globalisation on employment. Labour supported the winding down of empire but failed to realise that independent countries would want to set up their own textile industries which started the decline of thye Lancashire cotton industry. Until labopur make sure people have the education, skills and attitude appropriate for competing in a globalised and technologically advanced economy, then they are not serving the best interests of the British people , especially the working class and the poor.

  • s0ngb1rd

    What this country, indeed this world needs is a meritocracy. Let’s not pretend, for one second that we have anything close. We will never truly solve some of these issues until we have something resembling that. With the inequalities, class, gender and race biases that permiate political and business life…its no wonder we flit from misguided policy/solution to yet more misguided policies/solutions. In the words of Bonnie Tyler….I’m holding out for a hero!

  • Edward McLaughlin

    “…Ed Miliband took me to task for saying that his generation should be passed over.”

    One spelling error here?

  • arnoldo87

    @ Graham Ennis

    You can safely rejoin the party now, Graham. The people that conspired to get rid of Blair are now in charge, and some of the arch plotters are even getting promoted.

    So come and help as the Party slides back to the eighties – strong union influence on policy; denial of the reality of globalisation; trade barriers to protect British jobs; anti-Americanism, anti- Israelism, and anti- Europeanism. (Come to think of it – just WHO will the Party be in favour of?)

    Then you can push to bring Blair and his gang to trial as war criminals. They certainly deserve to be jailed. After all – those two great democratic institutions China and Russia would have vetoed the second U.N. resolution on Iraq.

    Defiance of their decisions on foreign policy matters is the very definition of war criminality.

  • Graham Ennis

    I was a Labour Party member for decades, and walked out over the bunch of slimy war criminals and Amerikan puppets that Blair and his gang consisted of. While Blair and people like Mandelson, Straw, etc, are still party members, when in fact they should be in jail, (And that may happen with the criminal evidence piling up)thn hundreds of thousands of people like me will simply not support labour. Can we have our party back, please, from turds in suits like Blair, etc, and gt back to our true roots, as a progressive, radical party?

  • Mrs M L Bonwick-Jones

    Just one more point, Labour may have been winning once, but that was before we knew how much damage they have done to this country, we had no idea1 ans will be paying for them for years to come, Labour’s golden years are over!

  • alan scott

    I wonder when you commentators will apply some real life yardstick of measurement of capability to these politicians you blather on about. They are not, by and large, in terms of real life experience, yet ready to wipe their own bottoms, and you are talking about them as future Ministers. God help us all.

  • Mrs M L Bonwick-Jones

    Yes Chuka Umunna is one to watch,He is bright, not tainted by Blair/Brown, not too idealistic, not too tribal, had a job outside politics,hardworking,and Loyal everything Ed Miliband is not, and he will also have experience as a senior minister but
    Prehaps in 10 or 15years time, once Labour have paid it’s price and realised where it went wrong you never know….But we hope not!
    The rest of the new bunch apart from Rachel Reeves are Light weights,Some are there because he is trying to be politically correct regardless of whether they are suitable for the job he has reshuffled the old group, and we have Browns henchman back as Ed Miliband’s advisor and Brown’s other henchman as Vice chairman of the Labour party and Balls is still there! he has not learned anything and he is quite deluded if he thinks he will ever become Prime minister it is not a job you get by default!

  • anyfool

    Labour is lucky to have great strength in depth in the new intake.

    What yardstick are you using to come up with such utter bilge, these people have been in the Commons for 1 year and so far there has not been one idea of note from any of them.
    so Mr Bright please tell everyone why you came to this assessment of there abilities or does looking photogenic and parroting the latest party line agreeing with Ed Balls mantra indicate in your mind that here is the genius needed to save the the Country.
    my opinion of them knowing as much about them as you, is that when Labour was winning while destroying the fabric of the country at the same time these self same people jumped on this winning bandwagon without any thought of possible damage that had been done to the Country, thank god we have you to indicate who to vote for at the next election the Country would be doomed without you