Chukka Umuna had better watch out for Tristram Hunt

13 Oct 2013 at 10:21

This has been a very strange week in British politics. We had the long awaited reshuffle which I found utterly incomprehensible. Please someone tell me what the point of it was, apart from warning our hopeless women Cabinet ministers (with the exception of Mother Theresa) that they can be replaced by far more effective alternatives.

And then there was the spectacular crash and burn of Adam Afriyie’s carefully orchestrated political ambitions. When a well respected and moderate commentator like Mathew Parris tells you on Question Time that your plans for an early in/out referendum are “raving bonkers” and when all but seven of the 2010 Tory Parliamentary intake urge you to withdraw your amendment, the game is up.

Poor old Adam has been suffering from a severe bout of Mensch Syndrome, which presents itself in those self made people with pots of cash with a sense of entitlement to high office. The poor things just don’t understand that not all of us share their ruthless determination to get to the top. One of the problems with the self made is that they often tend to worship their creators. Afriyie is bright enough to know that politically he is a dead man walking. I would be amazed if he bothers to stand for Windsor again. No doubt he has concluded that politics is only for the Little People.

David Cameron has been very lucky with his enemies. There is nobody of any substance or credibility who will stand against him this side of the election. His problems may come if he doesn’t win an outright majority when the Yellow Bastard haters will try do their very best to destroy any chance of another coalition. And then there are Miliband and Balls. Tainted with Brown and in the clutches of the unions. What a gift. To be fair Miliband has touched a raw nerve over energy prices, but people seem to have forgotten that his last government job was as Secretary of State for Energy. Oh, dear.

However, I did see a ray of hope for Labour after the next election. If you didn’t see Marr today, iplayer his interview with the new Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt. Personable, bright and more candid than it is perhaps wise for a member of the Shadow Cabinet to be. A few weeks ago I appeared with him on Question Time and found him to be rather good news. I may be wrong but I didn’t detect single a tribal bone in his body. And off camera I found him delightfully honest. I hope that he doesn’t mind me telling this story, but I tell it in his favour. When we were having a drink I congratulated him on his new job at Higher Education.
“Out of curiosity what are your policies”. I asked, expecting the usual dreary five point plan. At this Tristram scratched his head and furrowed his brow.
“Mmm. I haven’t got a fucking clue”.
Hunt is a man to watch. But he must resist the siren calls those who will want to ride on his coat tails for media training. The last thing he wants to happen is to end up like the over hyped and fairly ineffectual Chukka Umuna. Despite his flotilla of advisors, he has been completely out manoeuvred by Cable over the privatisation of the Royal Mail, the most successful privatisation in history.

And as for Tristram? Provided he continues to talk like a human being, rather than be programmed into a male version of Rachel Reeves, the future is bright.

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