Arise therefore

Sometimes I wonder what it takes to become a political journo, given the quality of some of the articles. Take this piece from the Independent on Labour candidates standing at the next election. The suggestion is that it’s a tired old bunch of former Council leaders. Couldn’t be further from the truth. OK, nine of the 59 candidates selected in key seats are council leaders or former council leaders, which sounds about right to me. (Take a look at Simon Burgess, the former leader of Brighton + Hove, who’s standing in Brighton Kemptown. I’ve known him since 1998 when we were both elected to Labour’s National Policy Forum. Thoroughly decent bloke. Very Brighton, in that he’s passionate about the environment, vegetarian, even has good taste in music.)

So let’s look at some of the other candidates Labour has selected in winnable seats. For a start. we’re almost certain to see the first Asian woman MP, with Rushanara Ali standing in Bethnal Green + Bow, Shabana Mahmood in Birmingham Ladywood, Yasmin Qureshi in Bolton South East and my personal favourite, 27 year old Maryam Khan in Bury North. (Never met her, but love her tweets @Maryam4BuryNth. And yes, she’s a former councillor, which makes something of a mockery of the Independent assuming that “councillor” = boring old guard).

Another young Asian candidate, Anas Sarwar, who made an excellent speech at Labour conference a couple of years ago, is standing in Glasgow Central. Then of course we have the rather suave Chuka Umunna standing in Streatham. And Chinyelu Onwurah in Newcastle Central, who I’ve heard very good things about. Have a look at her biog, and tell me what’s old guard about that!

Then there are plenty of feisty young women, from Stella Creasy in Walthamstow, Rachel Reeves in Leeds West, Emma Reynolds in Wolverhampton South East and Lucy Powell in Manchester Withington (trust me, John Leech does not stand a chance!) I’ve just mentioned the ones I know best. Late addition…. Liz Kendall in Leicester West. Excellent choice.

And of course we have the return of Stephen Twigg in Liverpool West Derby (former Minister, but anyone who describes him as old guard really doesn’t know Stephen!)

Final plug must go to some old mates who are standing in marginal seats. Daniel Zeichner in Cambridge (whose chances have been boosted by the current absence of both a Lib Dem and Tory candidate!), Andrew Pakes in Milton Keynes North (leading light in SERA and according to my sister who lives in the seat, really gunning for it), and of course Paul Smith, Sam Townend and Ian Boulton in Bristol West, Bristol North West and Filton Bradley Stoke. Paul is of course an Alderman, which makes him a bastion of the old guard!

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