David Blackburn

The hunt for Hoon’s successor

The hunt for Hoon’s successor
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Not the most arresting headline I grant you, but bear with me. Geoff Hoon’s political corpse is still warm (well, lukewarm as it’s Hoon), but the search for his successor is underway. The indefatigable Paul Waugh has the runners and riders: John Knight (the leader of Ashfield District Council), James Connell (Hoon’s former SpAd) and Michael Dugher (another former Hoon SpAd who is now Brown’s Chief Political Spokesman).

Mischievously, Waugh asks:

‘Will Labour insist on all-women shortlist? And if not, why not?’

Why not indeed? Perhaps Joanne Cash could complete her volte face and stand for Labour. What strikes me most about Waugh’s list is that all of the candidates are ‘career politicians’. Remember Sarah Wollaston, winner of the Totnes primary? She was victorious precisely because she had no previous connection with politics.

Now, I don’t have a pathological objection to career politicians - more variety is needed among MPs but I don’t see why political experience is less valuable than other experience. But with public confidence in political cliques at the nadir Labour could be making an error by offering an all political shortlist. It shouldn’t matter though: Ashfield is as safe as they come.