Labour’s shadow cabinet analysed. Is Glasman right to attack the prevalence of Brownites?

Dr Eoin Clarke is the Founder of the LabourLeft think tank and the editor of the recently published Redbook. We are hugely honoured to have one of his most recent posts which is a response to Maurice Glasman’s recent attacks on Ed Miliband. You can see more of Dr Clark’s work here.


The graph above is my breakdown of 28 MPs in the Shadow Cabinet.  I have designated 13 of them as newcomers because they did not serve in the 2005-2010 Cabinet.  I produce the graph because Lord Glasman made an attack on Ed Miliband that the cabinet is still full of old faces from the ‘Brown’ era.  Now forgive me, but if we are just 18 months from the last election, I think it is quite an impressive feat that Ed has so quickly renewed the faces around the shadow cabinet table.
I am loathe to designate the remaining Cabinet members as Brownites or Blairites, mostly because the label does not fit for many of them (Khan, Benn, etc).  Instead I preferred to categorise the experienced shadow cabinet members as lefties or righties. I do so to make the point that Ed has found the perfect balance between ensuring that both left & right elements of the party have a presence in the cabinet.  I count 6experienced shadow cabinet members who are definitely on the right of the party, and equally I count 6 on the left of the party. Three of the MPs (Burnham, Harman etc) I could not categorise simply because their behaviour has shown that their first loyalty is to the party not to any faction, not that I am making this accusation of the others.
In short, Ed Miliband has found a perfect blend of new faces and experience, and tried to maintain a healthy balance between both left & right elements of Labour.  Anyone who complains that there are too many Blairites or Brownites simply miss the point that for at least 16 cabinet members politics has moved on.  I suspect for a half dozen MPs in the Cabinet there is some loyalty to old doctrines but, hey, aint that human nature? Labour has a strong team in place with which to take forward the fight against the Tories.  Now we just need to see the shadow cabinet step up and make their voices heard.

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