Shunning ‘Greybeards’ Won’t Help Miliband

I read something over the weekend that made my blood boil afresh at Ed Miliband. No, it’s not about his little spat with the unions over spending and borrowing plans. That’s a political plot line that will simmer until the election then explode. What angered me was this article in The Telegraph which states that there will be no return to the Labour Shadow Cabinet for ‘greybeards’ of Labour’s past. Coming from a pro-Tory paper, of course, this story needs to be taken with the usual pinch of salt but, sad to say, it sounds like Miliband through and through.

He wants to appeal to younger voters, so the article says, and wants to give younger Labour members a chance to shine. Fair enough. I don’t think a Shadow Cabinet made up entirely of older men and women who don’t seem to represent me at all would be a good thing. But, on the other side of the coin, expecting an ageing population to want to vote for a party that seems to prefer youth over experience is a folly that Miliband will pay for at the ballot box. Voters of all ages want their representatives to have some real-life experience before they try to make decisions that affect their lives. This is becoming more and more important but the younger the Shadow Cabinet becomes, the less real-world experience they will have had. It’s as simple as that.

Miliband allegedly disparaging the older generation of Labour MPs is dangerous. The article says that he wants to promote the fact that Labour have changed before the 2015 election. I can’t argue with the reasoning behind that but I can argue with the method. Once again, a political party is putting superficial popularity (which they see primarily as popularity with the young) above experience and real knowledge. What you’re going to get come election time is a superficial Shadow Cabinet that can’t appeal to the older demographic of the country nor express themselves in any credible way. I mean, I respect Liz Kendall and her opinions are usually sound but I find it damaging that a woman just over forty has the brief for Care and Older People.

Contrast this story about Labour with the rumour that David Cameron is considering bringing some of the Tory ‘old guard’ back into his Cabinet. Once again, Cameron has the right idea and Miliband is floundering. I honestly don’t know how Ed’s getting it so disastrously wrong but he needs to sort it out – and quickly.

Recent Political Thoughts

In a bid to be a calmer human being, I’ve been taking a break from following politics religiously. I even skipped PMQs yesterday (though I gather all I missed was a bit of ‘waah-waah-you’re-wrong’). However, I accidentally caught a little of Newsnight last night and my interest was reignited through a three person panel that I looked at and categorically disagreed with all of them. The details of the debate don’t matter. The thing that does matter, I’m back and I’m angry so I’d like to make a few relatively random points which I may follow up on at a later date.

  • Getting us out of the EU (you knew this one was coming) would save us millions every day, money that could be put back into our own infrastructure and businesses to help us trade properly with non-EU countries.
  • I’m relieved we’re not changing our voting date just to appease the EU.
  • The Europhiles (Ken Clarke, I’m looking at you) become more desperate every week and I can’t wait to see how many of you dare show your face at the reading of James Wharton’s bill. The voters will remember, you know, and if they think you don’t trust them then even you old dinosaurs may be in trouble. While I’m at it, Ed Miliband is playing a dangerous game. He plans to allow the EU bill through in the Commons simply by abstaining but will then contrive to block it in the Lords. It’s curious, is it not, that voters currently can’t hold the Lords to account but Ed Miliband can apparently make them do as he pleases and subvert democracy while he’s at it? Be very careful, Ed. This is something else the voters will remember – that you didn’t even have the conviction of your pro-European policies to order your MPs to make an appearance in the Commons and vote your way. Did you sense it might put too many of those marginal seats in peril? No one likes a wimp, Mr Miliband.
  • The economy seems be to be going in the right direction but you can’t base that assumption on one quarter’s figures. Stop the crowing and the celebrations and wait and see what the next set of results bring.
  • I think Maria Miller’s as useful as an axe murderer. Either give the arts brief back to Business or just find a minister that seems to care about the arts. And please don’t forget that the ripple effect caused by the arts is unquantifiable. Close a museum and the surrounding area just starts dying. Remember that when you’re saying that culture must make a ‘business case’ to survive.
  • The Bedroom Tax is still an unworkable and generally bad idea, penalising those who can’t alter their circumstances and particularly affecting disabled people most severely.
  • I agree with Sheila Gilmore that East Coast should remain a publicly-owed rail company – it’s working as it is and the rule of ‘ever-more privatisation’ seems pathetic when there is no business case for it. Why should we get rid of something that’s working well in the public sector so that it can work badly – and cost the taxpayer more – in the private sector?
  • Nick Clegg is still a weak-willed political non-entity who will, alas, probably retain his seat at the next election.

I think that covers it for now. Anything you want me to elaborate on?