Daily Archives: 22 December 2007

Down with the youth! (UPDATE)

I fear my post on Thursday about Clegg’s reshuffle has roused the Labour Blogosphere into a frenzy of mock outrage at Jo Swinson being demoted from her post as youth spokesperson. Both Rupa Huq and Omar Salem are working themselves into a lather, with Omar singling out LDYS for failing to mention her demotion in their press release despite her being a former Chair of the organisation.

There are just two slight flaws with this analysis. Firstly, Jo has never been Chair of LDYS (although to be fair, she is a former Vice Chair). Secondly, and a little more significantly, she was not and has never been the Lib Dem youth spokes for the Lib Dems. That role, now performed by Lynne Featherstone, was until recently the responsibility of Tim Farron (current Hon President of LDYS, natch).

If I were a youngish MP I would be very wary of taking on the youth brief. It’s a poisoned chalice and one that can set back careers. Sorry Dawn, but look at the meteoric (as in, crashing to earth at great speed) career of Lembit Öpik for an indication at how it can set you back. Jo, as the youngest MP in the House, has I understand always been very wary of taking it on as a direct result. Being pigeonholed can be catastrophic for a politician.

If Labour bloggers want to feel bad for her, lament the treatment she received at the hands of Ming five months ago when she went from Shadow Scottish Secretary to a non-frontbench role on equalities, despite doing a perfectly good job under the circumstances (and bearing in mind the limitations of that post when the Lib Dems had not just a leader in the Scottish Parliament to contend with but at the time the Deputy First Minister as well), while the aforementioned Öpik got a promotion for presiding over the implosion of the Welsh party. Where were Jo’s newfound Labour friends then?

In any case, a little bird tells me that Jo’s demotion is not quite the step back as it first appeared. Watch this space.

UPDATE: It emerges that London Young Labour have press released this. What a bunch of buffoons.

UPDATE 2: Still no correction from Salem, but he’s decided that he’s Jenny Willott’s new best friend now. As it happens, he’s right here, as Jenny Willott does indeed appear to have been the party’s youth affairs spokesperson (shows what I know). But just to add to the confusion, I wasn’t wrong about Tim Farron either.

The UK Column is back!

Cover to UK Column, December 2007The latest copy of the UK Column arrives. Yay! I first came across this august publication at the Conservative Party Conference and I’m delighted to say this one is even nuttier than the last.

No time to write about it in detail now; read it all yourself by going to their website. Suffice to say my favourite article is their long exposition “proving” that the British are the true Israelites. This is argued on the basis that the Celts have legends about the Tuatha Dé Danann and that one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel was lead by Dan. The fact that “Danann” refers to the Earth Goddess (Diana?) seems to have passed them by completely. Apparently the Saxons were Israelites too. And the Normans… just go and read it already.

They’re asking for volunteers to help with distribution. I’m tempted to offer purely on the basis that this is the best way of making Eurosceptics look silly I can think of. Maybe it’s part of a sinister conspiracy.

UPDATE: Oh, forgot my other favourite bit. Apparently all the fringe meetings at Tory conference were chaired by women using “Delphi techniques to control meetings.” This is apparently a rather pretentious and sinister sounding way of saying they tended to take questions in groups of three. This, it would appear, was all co-ordinated. I must ask the gf about it (as she chaired one of the meetings which is specifically mentioned).