I’ve watched with interest this weekend the uproar surrounding the news that Alan Milburn was to accept a role as the new ‘social mobility tsar’ for the coalition government. The reaction from a number of Labour members and supporters, particularly on Twitter has been disappointing, but not altogether surprising. Whilst I myself do not hold any especially warm feelings for Milburn, this continued tribal attitude to politics, and to the Labour Party itself does us no favours at all. In fact; it makes us look childish and silly.
People have a short memory. After all, it was only a short time ago that Gordon Brown was trying to assemble his own ‘Government of all the talents.’ Like it or not, Cameron is only attempting to do exactly the very same thing; and we are now in a situation where the public mood calls for greater cooperation between the main political parties.
As a party we have bigger fish to fry. We are going through a vital leadership campaign, one which will decide the electability of Labour in the coming years up to and beyond the next general election. We must put all of our energies into getting our own house back in order; a great deal of damage has been done to the party in recent years, and we have lost a lot of Labours traditional support throughout the country. Now is the time to complete the leadership process, and then to unite as a party behind the eventual winner. Not only must we concentrate on ensuring that we provide an effective opposition to the inevitable damage that the coalition will cause; but we must also regain the trust and support of the Labour heartland.
Milburn and his like belong in our past; and we should consign him there along with our petty partisan attitudes…….