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.