Derision met Labour when news emerged that more than half of its prospective parliamentary candidates are former special advisers, party workers, researchers, lobbyists or ex-MPs.
Ed Miliband (PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford) heralded a ‘new politics’ when he took over the party; yet his top team embodies the political class: Ed Balls (PPE, Keble College, Oxford), his wife Yvette Cooper (PPE, Balliol College, Oxford); Angela Eagle (PPE, St John’s College, Oxford) and her sister Maria Eagle (PPE, Pembroke College, Oxford). Some Labour frontbenchers who didn’t go to Oxford worked as Special Advisers for the last Labour government; many others did both.
Most of us, of course, have done neither. There is a divide between the rulers and the ruled. Here are the wise words of a Dr Breslin, Director of Breslin Public Policy:
‘The emergence of what might be termed the “spad-ocracy” confirms the absence of meritocracy and enshrines an inequality of access and influence at the heart of our politics; it is bad for democracy. While the rise of the so-called “professional” politician has brought some benefits, the dominance of the spad-ocrats across both front benches and beyond leaves parliament more cut off and remote than ever, and confines policymaking to a clique of bright young things who know everything and anything except the price of a loaf of bread.’
Dr Breslin has also tweeted his views about the state of Miliband’s leadership under the adviser class:
Well said, that man.
Oh, Mr S passes on his congratulations to ‘Tony Breslin’, who’s just been selected for the marginal seat of Hemel Hempstead. For Labour. Let’s hope that ‘Dr Breslin’ isn’t seduced by the whiff of power.
Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.