Conference diary V: some old new generations

As a former climate change secretary, it’s good to see Ed Miliband’s commitment to recycling. His “new generation” line from his leader’s speech was previously used by Tony Blair.

According to Alastair Campbell’s diaries from 29 May 1997, referring to suggestions about how to brand an imminent visit by Bill Clinton, Campbell writes: “I quite like ‘new generation politics’ because it suggested the generation was not so much about age but about a change in politics.”

The Who-themed line is a hardy perennial. As we said earlier in the week: bisogna cambiare tutto per non cambiare nulla.

* * *

“Politics for a new generation” popped up again in 2007 as the title for a series of IPPR essays by upcoming Labour stars marking New Labour’s first 10 years in office. The contributors? Well, a brace of Milibands for a start.

* * *

Ed Balls ultra vires speech in the education debate was one of the best of the week with good attack lines on the Tory-Lib Dem government. But in a thinly-veiled job application for shadow chancellor, the second half saw him slip the education leash and focus solely on economic policy instead. You can take the boy out of the treasury…

* * *

Unison President, Norma Stephenson’s, world-weary conference chairing during the health and education debates was firm but, well, firm.

“Yer time’s up, speaker” she flatly intoned as one verbose delegate after another fluffed the ending to their overlong orations. Funny, as most speeches were about cuts.

* * *

Life on the backbenches is going to feel strange to David Miliband. He’s never really been there. Elected to South Shields in 2001 following the late resignation of freedom of information pioneer, David Clark, he was propelled to the middle ranks of government just a year later as minister of state for school standards. Since then he’s never looked back. Until now.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply