The Labour leadership campaign has been a bit of an anti-climax and has never threatened to be the beginning of a realistic re-building exercise for the party as George Eustice explains here.
Criticism of the candidates all attending Oxbridge is irrelevant – good for them I say. The insipidness of the battle hasn’t really concerned me either – a genuine falling out between Blairite/Brownite wings may well still happen. What nags at me is that Ed, David, Andy, Ed (the clones) plus Diane are all cut from the same bag carrying/policy wonk/spin-doctor cloth with no genuine real life experience to speak of. This is a worrying signal for what the future of British politics is likely to look like.
A good summary of the leadership contenders ‘careers’ to date is available here and it leaves you thinking is that really the best the Labour Party can offer? Where were the brilliant scientists, leaders of business large and small, barristers, doctors, soldiers, nurses, even the odd accountant who might have been useful in these cash-strapped times? The next Labour leader could become Prime Minister one day so it is worth comparing the candidates’ life-experience with Prime Ministers from history.
- William Pitt the Younger (Despite becoming PM at 24 had been a Barrister)
- Neville Chamberlain (Manufacturer and businessman)
- Clement Attlee (Barrister and Army Officer)
- Harold Wilson (Statistician and Economist in Civil Service awarded an OBE for his brilliant work)
- Winston Churchill (Soldier and journalist)
- Ted Heath (Army Officer throughout Second World War)
- James Callaghan (Tax Inspector and Officer in Royal Navy)
- Margaret Thatcher (Research Chemist and Barrister)
In contrast this limp and uninspiring batch of former apparatchiks seems to be becoming the norm in British politics.
While each of them academically may have been brilliant and they are all blessed with political skills strong enough to see them rise to the top of the modern day Labour Party, Parliament, and indeed the country, needs much more than this.