Straw Calls Shadow Cabinet Election “Barking Mad” and “Daft”

The Labour Party’s “greasy pole” was slammed on Radio 5 this morning by a self-proclaimed “climber of the greasy pole”, Jack Straw. It seems the old timer is getting grumpy on the way out and is less than impressed with the system of electing the Shadow Cabinet:

“… if you are in the shadow cabinet it is elected, I, from a position of complete neutrality, said to my colleagues, I survived and prospered under this system for ten years, but I just tell you, it is barking mad, for arithmetical reasons as well, it is a daft system, and what it means is that of the eighteen or nineteen people in shadow cabinet, probably a dozen capable of being in the Cabinet, half a dozen are not and if and when we have a Labour government some of those who thought this is a meal ticket in to the proper Cabinet will be sorely disappointed.”

The presenter Nicky Campbell interrupted to ask whether Straw would come back on Monday and let the public know who the half-dozen unsuitable members are. Funnily enough the answer was “errrr no”.

Low down the pecking order contest is getting vicious and the rules governing how many women are elected could hurt the likes of Bryant, Bradshaw and Harris. According to punters over at Smarkets at the top Burnham and Khan are vying for the Home Office. There is still no clear frontrunner for the FCO shadow, but Balls is still the favourite for Shadow Chancellor, just, his wife isn’t far behind. By this time tomorrow we shall know whether Labour are opening up yet another family drama narrative…



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too left-wing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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