Posts Tagged ‘new brooms’

Three kinds of leader in the age of the insurgent

25/04/2011, 12:00:58 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Like bad luck, musketeers and Neopolitan ice cream, our political leaders come in threes. Consolidators, new brooms and insurgents; a trio of broad headings that sums up the different approaches to party leadership -Tory, Labour and Liberal alike.

First, we have consolidators. They are elected to lead divided parties, offering a familiar, reassuring presence, often at a moment of peril and self-doubt. They provide a small “c” conservative choice for parties turning in from the world. Michael Foot, Iain Duncan-Smith and Ming Campbell fall into this category. Their election is often a mark of intellectual defensiveness for their party, sometimes at the fag end of a period in office. Douglas-Home, Callaghan, and Gordon Brown also fit this bill.

Consolidators are kept on a short leash by their party; sometimes only too willingly. Their guiding belief is “hold what we have”, which really means that the party believes it is right, regardless of what the electorate has decided. Although never leader, this is Tony Benn quipping that Labour’s disastrous 1983 election result was “eight and a half million votes for socialism”. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon