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.