Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Friday 19 November 2010

A man of principle and a throwback

A quarter of a century ago I worked on a campaign with a young researcher from the union SOGAT (Society of Graphical and Allied Trades). His name was Graham Allen.
He went on to become not just a Member of Parliament but one of the most principled, individualistically bold of all MPs. Nothing has more demonstrated his belief in principle over party than his work with Iain Duncan Smith on welfare reform and families.
Last night Graham was the keynote speaker at the London Early Years Foundation's annual lecture, dealing mainly with the importance of early intervention to rescue children who might otherwise slip into a life of disadvantage and failure.
He is convinced that the way this should be funded is through large commercial organisations that have seen the error of their ways and social enterprises. The panellists with him, all from various branches of child care, agreed.
I was struck by how the parameters have changed. There is widespread acceptance now that the state cannot pay for everything. A few MPs such as Graham may have led the sea change but the mainstreams of all parties are flowing in the same direction.
Which makes the comments of Lord Young all the more ridiculous. He is not just a throwback to another era but an embodiment of a strand of political  belief which is usually only encountered in the comment pages of the Mail, Express and Telegraph, and which is quite out of touch with the experiences of ordinary people.
There is no place in modern politics for those who think like David Young. If only Graham Allen could be cloned and his clones populate the green benches.
Incidentally, doesn't the failure to ever give him a government job tell you all you need to know about how small-minded and weak the Blair and Brown administrations were?

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