Sir, The remaining recipients of the Assisted Places Scheme for Cabinet members should consider seriously the advantages of putting a sock in it for the next eleven months.
I know how difficult it must be for these youngish adults who have done little in their lives but walk the moderately risky tightrope strung between university Labour clubs and Cabinet positions. I am vaguely aware of some of the pressures contemporary life places on them: the sheer toil of blogging, twittering, trying to balance the competing attractions of exuding gravitas and fashion chic at the same time as running government departments.
I even have some notion of the nature of their nightmares: that they will wake up to discover that their obsession with Self has caused them to be cast out of the Assisted Places paradise. No longer would they be able to count on an audience, breathless with anticipation, waiting to hear whether or not they contemplated resigning before or after their former Assisted Places colleagues.
The past month or so has been as disastrous for Labour as any I can recall. The next months will be worse if these people, my esteemed colleagues, don’t begin to understand that feeding their egos is not the same thing as nourishing the Labour Party. Their apparent inability to resist leaking to their old university chums in the media their frustrated ambitions may be a consequence of having experienced only the barest of lives and careers outside the House of Cards.
Time to stop gazing lovingly into the political mirror and get on with making the most of the leg-up they’ve received over the past decade. Use it to help the Prime Minister make the world a better place.
Kim Howells, MP
House of Commons
Monday, 15 June 2009
The wit of Kim Howells
Alastair Campbell recommends Kim Howell's acerbic letter to The Times - Time's up for Labour's young egotists - as witty and well written, though noting that he probably shouldn't have written it, which is probably right given that Howells was a Foreign Office Minister since 2005 until Autumn 2008, so working under David Miliband as Foreign Secretary for over a year.