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Ed Miliband’s ‘new politics’ update

29 July 2014

Derision met Labour when news emerged that more than half of its prospective parliamentary candidates are former special advisers, party workers, researchers, lobbyists or ex-MPs.

Ed Miliband (PPE, Corpus Christi College, Oxford) heralded a ‘new politics’ when he took over the party; yet his top team embodies the political class: Ed Balls (PPE, Keble College, Oxford), his wife Yvette Cooper (PPE, Balliol College, Oxford); Angela Eagle (PPE, St John’s College, Oxford) and her sister Maria Eagle (PPE, Pembroke College, Oxford). Some Labour frontbenchers who didn’t go to Oxford worked as Special Advisers for the last Labour government; many others did both.

Most of us, of course, have done neither. There is a divide between the rulers and the ruled. Here are the wise words of a Dr Breslin, Director of Breslin Public Policy:

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The emergence of what might be termed the “spad-ocracy” confirms the absence of meritocracy and enshrines an inequality of access and influence at the heart of our politics; it is bad for democracy. While the rise of the so-called “professional” politician has brought some benefits, the dominance of the spad-ocrats across both front benches and beyond leaves parliament more cut off and remote than ever, and confines policymaking to a clique of bright young things who know everything and anything except the price of a loaf of bread.’

Dr Breslin has also tweeted his views about the state of Miliband’s leadership under the adviser class:


Well said, that man.

Oh, Mr S passes on his congratulations to ‘Tony Breslin’, who’s just been selected for the marginal seat of Hemel Hempstead. For Labour. Let’s hope that ‘Dr Breslin’ isn’t seduced by the whiff of power.

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Show comments
  • Angus Walker

    Personally I think the issue is that the fear of seeming out of touch with ‘ordinary people’ leads Milliband’s spadocracy to pander to the lowest common denominator. Surely that’s Nigel Farge’s job.

  • derekemery

    If you took all the PPEs in government in the UK you couldn’t make a single half-competent project manager or a half-competent engineer out of the lot of them. Hence the non-stop never-ending run of project failures where 90% of policies fail to deliver any value and only rack up debt. It goes without saying that you also couldn’t make a single half-competent accountant from PPEs.
    The fact that so many MPs are family related or work colleagues is a demonstration that selection is not meritocratic and that very low performance is the norm in parliament making it easy to get friends and family in.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Much as I fully support Mr Steerpike’s sentiments he seems to have overlooked something.taking into consideration this is a Tory rag

    David Cameron PPE Brasenose College Oxford & SPAD
    George Osborne Modern History Magdelene College Oxford & SPAD
    Jeremy Hunt PPE Magdalen College Oxford
    Theresa May Geography St Hugh’s College Oxford
    Philip Hammond PPE University College Oxford
    William Hague PPE Magdalen College Oxford
    Liz Truss PPE Merton College Oxford
    Nicki Morgan Jurisprudence St Hugh’s College Oxford
    Nick Boles PPE Magdalen College Oxford
    Michael Gove English Lady Margaret Hall Oxford
    Matt Hancock PPE Exeter College Oxford

    Pot, Kettle Black?

    • Dick_Turpin

      Not really, as Cameron isn’t out there claiming to have instigated a “new politics”. Miliband is, and the article demonstrates how fallacious those claims are.

    • Moriarty

      Well one difference is that Cameron got a starred First while Miliband managed a low Second.
      Hope that helps.

  • english_pensioner

    Where’s the working class that they claim to represent?

  • global city

    ‘New’, ‘Change’, ‘Yes we can’!

    Does Exelrod really believe that the British will fall for that tripe, especially after we have been Obama’d to death?

  • swatnan

    The Tories are just as bad; where are the ordinary soldiers sailors and candlestick makers? The shop workers and fruit and veg pickers; plumbers and taxi drivers?
    The hairdressers and furniture makers; the undertakers and cleaners?

    • weejonnie

      Yes – they don’t make grocers’ daughters how they used to.

  • The Masked Marvel

    One always suspected there was a bit of grooming going on in the corridors of Parliament, but this is ridiculous. Still, it’s not that much worse than the Tories parachuting in more Robert Jenricks.

  • Alexsandr

    can someone tell me what Spads are for, why the taxpayer has to pay for them, when they started and why we cant get rid of them.
    If there wasnt this career path into the commons then perhaps some real people would get a look in.

    • george

      taking the blame?

    • Colonel Mustard
    • Inverted Meniscus

      I cannot answer your questions save for the observation that “real people” are all far too busy being useful and productive to bother with that nest of preposterous, spendthrift and corrupt imbeciles at Westminster.

    • Paul Hawkins

      A job creation scheme. rejoice!

  • Colonel Mustard

    Do you have to keep posting these Kim Jong Ed pictures? Fair puts me off me tea.

    • GUBU

      This photograph above was taken whilst Mr Milliband was receiving intensive coaching to improve his sandwich eating skills in advance of next year’s General Election.

      Originally, the plan was that Mr Milliband would consume an entire loaf of sandwiches, with a variety of fillings, each day between now and 7 May 2015, in an effort to dispel the dismal and somewhat alarming image generated by that infamous photograph with the bacon butty.

      It’s now clear from this photograph that those training him have given up hope of the Labour leader ever managing an actual sandwich without engendering feelings of unease in the minds of many voters, and are now planning to fake his sandwich eating ability through the magic of blue screen compositing.

    • Emulous

      Mr Nabbach’s son Karim, 26, said: “We put up a poster offering a discount on men’s haircuts.

      “Then North Korean officials came in and asked for it to be taken down.

      “My father told them: ‘This is England and not North Korea’ and he told them to get their lawyers.”

      His father removed the poster, but quickly put it back up after some of his clients urged him to demonstrate that Britain is a democracy.

      Mr Nabbach said: “The two men were wearing suits and they were very serious. My father said it was very threatening.”

      Mr Nabbach revealed that his father went to the police over the visit.

  • Sesachili Hopkins

    Perhaps we should harp back to the days of Alan Johnson, the grammar school boy who first worked in Tesco, then the Post Office…played in a couple of pop bands before joining the Labour Party in 1971 and working his way up to Education Secretary, Health Secretary and ultimately Home Secretary in the last Government. The boy done good….but as Oppositiion Shadow Chancellor prior the Ed the flat-lining horse gesturer he proved incompetent at mathematics and has since retired to oblivion. So which is best? Work your way up or just fall into a space in the trough? Either way, the perks are excellent!

  • telemachus

    So just what is different from Cameron and the Tories?

    • HookesLaw

      Well if you read the Guardian report it says …
      ‘The initial findings of a new project to map the backgrounds of candidates for 2015 suggests Labour and Liberal Democrats are choosing more from the political classes than the Conservatives, whose contenders are overwhelmingly male and drawn from business and finance.’
      The Guardian does not say how much of the LibLab spadocracy is male.

    • RavenRandom

      Not a lot really. Though I believe from a report a little while back (see HookesLaw post) that Labour has more professional politicians (SPADs, think tanks, party workers and advisors) than the Conservatives.
      However, you’d expect the party that is supposed to represent the working class to care about the working class and perhaps be from the working class. Instead it’s a self-replicating political elite.
      Generally I think it’s time to appoint MPs by lot as they’re acting a bit too much like a closed shop (all parties) and are increasingly disconnected from the people they’re supposed to represent.

      • telemachus

        Good to hear from you
        I disagree
        MP’s should no longer be tainted by their former business or professional connections

        • ReefKnot

          Please do not respond to Telemachus. He is a well practiced troll who likes nothing more than to deflect the thread onto his own agenda.
          Please do not respond to him. Just ignore him.

    • Dougie

      What’s different is that Ed promised a “new politics” and then continued to give us the old politics.

      • RavenRandom

        True, Labour does give good hypocrisy.

      • Holly

        …And the problem there is, Miliband doesn’t know what Old, or New Labour stood for.
        He has ditched both, for his new ‘Dictating Labour Party’.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Hypocrisy. ‘I don’t care about image said Ed while kissing Obama’s butt in the hope of a photo opportunity following an utterly meaningless meeting’. I hope the taxpayer didn’t pay for his flight.

      • Moriarty

        Especially as it was a return.

        • Ooh!MePurse!


    • global city

      Nothing at all.

    • Holly

      Cameron is NOT a Tory.

  • Bert

    Don’t forget family connections.
    Nepotism is important to progressives

  • Span Ows

    Presumably Mr. Breslin now get’s his name and comments on the latest anti-Ed map :-)

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