One of the things about being old is that I have seen a few politicians who were tipped for the top…and failed miserably. Michael Heseltine. David Miliband. Conall McDevitt. And Chuka Unumma.
I suppose he could say that he is leading a political party but strictly speaking the TIGs are not a political party…yet.
But back in 2010 when he was first elected for the safe London seat of Streatham, he was too easily hailed by the journalistic elite as the British Barak Obama. It was a lazy stereotype but one which Chuka did not do much to deny.
Within six months he was PPS (ie bag carrier) to Ed Miliband. And things certainly went well for him under Ed Miliband and he was “shadow” Business Secretary and was even considered as a contender for the Leadership when Miliband resigned.
He did in fact put his name forward but critical profiles damaged him and he withdrew. Standing for Leadership of the Labour Party, with little chance of victory (eg Liz Kendall…who Umunna backed) is little more than a ploy to be recognised as one of the top six or seven MPs in the Party….and shadowing one of the top jobs like Treasury, Home Office or Foreign Office.
But that was the high point of Chuka’s career. With Jeremy Corbyn elected, he did not accept a post in the new shadow cabinet. He judged incorrectly that Corbyn would not last long as Leader.
He was visible in the EU Referendum and Streatham having one of the highest levels of Remain votes might even be considered a victory for him except of course the Brexiteers won. And with Corbyn and Labour doing better than expected in the 2017 General Election, Chuka was probably aware that his career was on the slide.
Indeed last summer, it was widely known that he would jump ship.
But the curious thing is the way that this new “non-party” has been formed.
“Gemini A Ltd” is a company set up which has some kinda curious link to the group that claims to be setting up a whole new way of doing politics. Is this it?
Is it “privatised politics”? This goes beyond the wildest imaginings of Margaret Thatcher. Or Tony B Liar.
Privatised Politics. I see potential. Political parties should perhaps have the logos of their sponsors. And politicians should perhaps wear livery with gaudy decals.
Marlboro Team Conservatives. Benson and Hedges Team Labour. Paddy Power Team Lib Dems. Budweiser Team DUP. BUPA Team Sinn Féin.
Even Maggie opposed selling off the post office. One of her advisors wanted to privatise the Emergency Services and armed forces but she didn’t like the idea.
To some extent military “contractors” is a much more respectable word than “mercenary”…but its just as nasty.
Mr Privatisation was John Moore who was promoted under Thatcher. He has been in the House of “Lords” for thirty years and has yet to make a speech.
He was another one of these like Chuka who was “a future Leader of the Party”.
He privatised a lot of stuff.
His main claim to fame came when he was Junior Minister at the Treasury and he suggested that postmen (it was only men then I suppose) have a deduction in their tax code for cash tips they were given, especially at Christmas.
So with a posse of reporters and photographers, the postman knocked Mr Moores door in a posh part of Chelsea.
When Moore answered the postman said “good morning sir…have you ever given me a tip?”