Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell popped up on the Today programme this morning to tout his new book, and in the process of plugging the dossier, the Rest is Politics host dealt a characteristic jab at the Tories:
“One of the problems we’ve got with politics is that the gene pool for politics is getting narrower and narrower and narrower. Particularly at the top levels. Particularly, having had 13 years of this Tory government. And I think we’ve got to broaden the gene pool. That means getting more young people interested in going into politics. It means getting people from different backgrounds going into politics.”
Indeed, back in the good ol’ Blair days, under Campbell’s watch, surely Labour were leading the charge on diversity? Not quite. Credit where credit is due, in 2002 Labour brought in the first black cabinet minister, Paul Boateng. Yet, for Tony and Alastair’s first five years at the helm, the cabinet was precisely 0% ethnically diverse, and the pair soon ran out of steam on the issue. Only two Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) individuals would ever make it to Blair’s cabinet. Quite the war room on diversity.
In comparison, Sunak’s cabinet is 16% BAME, Truss’s was 30%, and Johnson’s 18%. The average age of Blair’s revolutionary 1997 cabinet was 51, whereas Johnson’s was 47.7, Truss’s 49.3, and Sunak’s has risen incrementally to 52. Of course the Labour Party has never elected a woman leader never mind Prime Minister. Thirteen years of Tory government with younger and more diverse cabinets than Blair ever had. Bad Al’s lying again…