“Twenty Politicians Under Forty”

Browsing thru the New Statesman’s latest edition in Easons today, I was struck by their list of Twenty British Politicians Under Forty. People to watch as they climb the political ladder. Looking at the same list in twenty years time to see who actually made it and who didnt make it wil be interesting.

Strangely I was looking thru the 1961 Football Annual “Topical Times Football Book” when I saw an article devoted to young footballers to watch. Big careers were inevitable. Not quite…..Ian Moir looked to be a big prospect at Manchester United but he left the club in 1965 and I remember him playing at Blackpool and Wrexham. A reasonable enough professional career but not stellar. Likewise Frank Saul, earmarked for stardom was little more than a good squad player at Tottenham Hotspur before going on to Southampton.

So its a risky business. Naming young people to watch…….in any field. Thus the twenty English politicians….young men and women photographed together and profiled seperately……all beautifully made up and wearing expensive business suits………..there might well be a future Prime Minister there but more likely, most will be Westminster lobby fodder and quite possibly their biggest ever achievement will be just making that New Statesman list in September 2011.

I am tempted to think that even being named as a future star is the Kiss of Death to a career. Yet there are young Norn Iron politicians, who have flattered to deceive and are already marginalised has-beens. Life is difficult for young Norn Iron politicos. The number of Westminster constitueencies will shrink from eighteen to sixteen. The number of Stormont Assembly Members and local councillors will also shrink. A political career looks like a risk.

Yet we already have young local politicians who would once have been thought likely to succeed.

Gerry Lynch, a reasonable political analyst was a rising star and staffer with the Alliance Party. He was thought to have a reasonable chance of taking an Assembly seat for East Antrim in 2011. He performed poorly in the Westminster Election of 2010 and dropped out of mainstream politics. Believed to have found GOD.

Ian Parsley, English born elected for the Alliance Party, on the final count in Holywood DEA in 2005 Council Elections. An unlikely start to a career which peaked in 2009 when he ran reasonably well as the Alliance candidate in the European Election. He then left the Alliance Party and joined the UUP, seemingly attracted by its coalition with the British Conservative Party. He performed badly in the Westminster Election of 2010. Left the UUP soon after. Has stated that he has canvassed for Alliance Party in 2011. Unlikely to be taken seriously again.

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