The Cult of Youth #Lab2017

Worrying trend at #Lab2017.

Reported on Newsnight last night and Angela Rayner interviewed on @BBCR4Today this morning. Corbyn / McDonnell emphasising – and McCluskey reinforcing – succession-planning in their government strategy, citing the younger female appointees to the shadow front-bench as part of that strategy. Rebecca Long-Bailey, Dawn Butler and Angela Rayner for example. So far so good. I’m better than good with that. Good with them as individuals too, from what little I know them.

What I’m not good with is the spin – the meme – “look at this uneducated girl from working-class background succeeding in making it to the front bench“. Not good with Rayner’s grasp of the English language either, given her education brief, but hey, she wasn’t my reaction to the original spin.

  • Great for hope, and hope has value – part of the anybody can achieve anything fallacy – but still spurious. They “succeeded” because of the political choice.
  • Great for gender balance – no buts.
  • Not great for the cult of youth. A balance is good, as is the “blooding” of succession-planning-exposure, but wisdom comes from living.
  • Not great for the “proud to be thick – I failed my Maths O-level” brigade. If education is just about qualifications for a job, who needs education if you’ve got a (good) job? And, if experts know no better, who needs education? Education and experience, knowledge and wisdom are to be valued.

Uneducated and inexperienced youth is another populist gimmick. Another on top of the whole Momentum-youth-and-personality-cult of Corbynism generally. Populism stinks in grown-ups.


Also published on Medium.

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