Matthew Dancona

Punctuating politics

Punctuating politics
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The always-incisive Martin Kettle has a fascinating piece in today's Guardian, in which he assesses Peter Hain's exit not as a "sleaze" story or a test of Gordon's moral fibre, but as a generational punctuation mark. Hain, Martin writes, is the last of the Sixties era  politicians in the Cabinet - apart from the rather more pragmatic Jack Straw - and his departure will change the complexion of this Government irrevocably. 

I wrote last October about Labour's "spoilt generation" of young "Fauntleroys", the youthful cohort of apparatchiks which has gained an even stronger grip upon the Government as a result of last week's reshuffle. Able they may be, but they have never experienced struggle and - crucially - have grown up in an era when Labour was either winning, or about to win. They have little experience of adversity, except the collateral damage of the Blair-Brown feud.

In Davos, Mr Brown was boasting nervously about his "young ministers". He did the same when I was with him in Camp David last July. But youth is not in itself an answer to the Government's predicament.