Funny old world … I was just arriving at Wimbledon, trying to find a telly
that would be showing the Lions match, saying to my son that when we came here
last year we were with Alan Milburn … when in pings a text from Alan saying
he has told his local party he won’t be standing at the next election.
Politics being politics, the UK media being the UK media, there will be a few
conspiracy theories flying around, and lots of overblown interpretation, as
there was when he stepped down from the Cabinet.
Sometimes, when people say they are leaving a job to spend more time with the
family, they mean it. I know I did, and though I still get about a bit, and
pursue new interests as Alan will, I see more of my family than ever I did in
frontline politics, which is why I was at the tennis in the first place.
I always got on well with Alan. In part because of his family, and his
commitment to them, he always stayed in the real world. One of the few rows we
had was when I was trying to get him to do a Sunday TV interview at a difficult
time for the government. Though I was hacked off on one level that he wouldn’t
do it, and knew I would have to give up more of the weekend trying to cajole
someone else onto a tricky wicket, I rather respected the fact he said he had
promised his kids he would be home all day, and that was that.
We worked very closely during the last election campaign, which was a bit
tricky at times, but Alan never stopped being a real team player.
What is clear is that almost regardless of the overall outcome when the
election comes, there is going to be a lot of churn in Parliament in the run
The expenses scandal has already ensured some MPs will not be standing next time,
and there will be more. Even without that extraordinary situation, there are
always announcements of departures towards the end of a Parliament, and I think
there will be more than is usual.
So we are going to be looking at a lot of new faces on all sides.
That may be no bad thing. It may well take a new generation – including people
in their 20s and 30s – to rebuild politics after all the hits it has taken.
One of the reasons I supported Georgia Gould for the Labour candidature in
Erith and Thamesmead was precisely because it would send that signal.
Despite all the opprobrium heaped on politicians, plenty of people will want
to replace MPs who leave. Of course experience, both of politics and of other
aspects of life, will be important.
But a bit of youth could go a long
This is ridiculous.
If by young, you mean young careerists who were set on being an MP while they were still in the womb and which Party they serve and what they believe in (if anything) are secondary considerations.
Frankly, Parliament would be a lot better if it had a few more 60-year-old care assistants who had some experience of life outside professional politics and actually believed in something. Say.
Surely what matters is the character of the candidate, not their age.
It is a pitty that we can’t take this opportunity to ensure that there is a work life balance between being in politics and bringing up a family. I am sure it is actually bad for performance if one is working very hard but missing their family. I would like to see a much more moderate country and a slowing down
where bankers,business people and politicians have to manage their time properly,look after their families and health. It is also easy to get lead astray, morally and financially, if you away from home too long. I was ‘on the road’ for four years for a bank , living in hotels , and desperate for company. The 14 hour days for 20 years didn’t help either.So , I know it isn’t easy as you feel you have business responsibilities and home responsibilities.I couldn’t get out of it and worry that others can’t too.
Suddenly Micheal Jackson dies , or Lady Diana , both young and one feels that life is very short. Good luck to Alan Milburn but such an nice man and effective politician should really have been able to enjoy his career and home life. Sadly the culture today does not allow it.
Right on regarding fresh blood!
Surely the problem with Georgina Gould was that she sent exactly the wrong kind of message. It looked like an attempt to impose the daughter of a New Labour insider on a local party.
Speaking of which, how ironic that the wealthy Tory turncoat, Shaun Woodward, who was parachuted into St Helens, is now one of the prime minister’s closest confidants.
For all its sense of innovation, ‘Blairism’ did not strengthen people’s faith in politics. That’s a legacy those who were intimately involved in the project will have to come to terms with.
I a more than happy with young people becoming MPs as long as they have had a life outside of politics.
Nothing wrong with some people in their 20s and 30s becoming MPs. After all, people in their 20s and 30s are affected by government the same as everyone else. But I go along with those who value experience as well.
Another aspect is the ageing population. We are all being told we are going to live longer and have to work longer. So the push to get the average age of MPs (or indeed of any profession) down is just swimming against the tide of demographics. In 50 years’ time we’ll have a society in which the majority of people will be over 50 governing by a Parliament where the majority of MPs are under 35. It won’t work (and it wouldn’t be very democratic!)
I think AC needs to explain why ‘young’ people are the only answer to the democratic crisis. Is it not true that there is a significantly aging population who are currently more likely to vote, and will be more likely to support older representatives who understand their concerns. The Commons needs to be chamber that reflects the country as a whole, not just the passing glamour of young people.
What about people in their early forties? There are many good people waiting in the wings!
Disagree in part here Ally, many of the Romper Room have never ran anything, they’ve come straight from uni into politics. You cannot beat experience, I feel that there are many out there who may have took early retirement but can still give something to the country, they will have had years in industry or the public services.
Having young people in Parliament might freshen things up and get youngsters interested in politics and in volunteering in general, but we still need experience.
Also it’s interesting to see how Dave is weeding out the old tories via the expenses scandal so he can manipulate the new breed. Many of the new tories will probably be anti EU loonies and it was interesting to read what your old sparring partner wrote in the Guardian about Dave’s tories positioning themselves away from the centre right of Merkel and Sarkozy.
The EU have tolerated a 30% devaluation of sterling. Come a raving bonkers anti EU Dave administration they might not be so forgiving and Black Wednesday could well repeat itself.
The tories having to accept, cap in hand that the UK has to join the Euro for the sake of a stable currency after the speculators cause a run on the pound? You heard it here first.