Thursday 7 October 2010

How the red rose turned white: mapping the shadow cabinet

We'll keep the white rose flying here, since Labour’s appeal to Middle England will have a Yorkshire flavour. The Yorkshire ascendancy - not inter-Labour political factions - would seem to be the real story of the Shadow Cabinet election result.

The top three in the Shadow Cabinet poll were among seven of the nineteen elected who join leader Ed Miliband and chief whip Rosie Winterton at the top table while representing Yorkshire constituencies.

By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, we have

Yorkshire 7 (Balls, Cooper, Healey, Benn, Creagh, Flint, Johnson)
North-West 4 (Burnham, Lewis, Eagle, Eagle)
London 3 (Khan, Hillier, Jowell)
Scotland 3 (Alexander, Murphy, McKechin)
South/south-east, outside London 1 (Denham)
Midlands 1 (Byrne)
North-east 0
Wales 0

[UPDATE: I am bowing to advice and putting Hull in Yorkshire, having previously decided that Humberside didn't really count!]

So ignore this former text: [If one follows official government regional classifications, Alan Johnson’s Hull seat takes the “Yorkshire and Humber” group up to 7. But AJ wouldn’t have been eligible for the county cricket team on the old pre-1992 rules (unlike this Doncaster-born blogger) and they don’t need him as a ringer given the Yorkshire strength of the shadow cabinet. But strong views on how to classify Hull are welcome!]

The most unpredictable part of the election was which women would emerge in a close contest to be elected alongside the four candidates (Cooper, Jowell, Flint, Eagle) most strongly tipped. That Mary Creagh joined Caroline Flint among the newly elected shadow Cabinet may demonstrate the strength of Yorkshire.

The election of the Eagle sisters, Angela and Maria, offers a further "family fortunes" aspect to the Labour top table, and also strengthens the Burnhamite Scouse influence (though both Eagle sisters were Yorkshire-born in Bridlington, hough they went to school in sandy Formby on the Mersey).

The candidates who came off the Shadow Cabinet represented seats in the south-west (Bradshaw), Midlands (McFadden), London (Timms), the north-west (Woodward) and Wales (Hain).


Meanwhile, David Miliband's leadership defeat and decision to leave the shadow Cabinet has sealed an enormous Labour power away shift from the north-east. The region has always been a Labour heartland, yet has now suffered from both the dispersal of Blairism (having hosted Blair, Byers, Milburn, Mandelson and Mowlam in the days of that new dawn) and yet also the dismantling of the [Nick] Brownite regional power-base of the ex-chief whip.

There were four north-east MPs in the contest, but none among the favourites. Helen Goodman in 26th place came closest to the Shadow Cabinet, with Kevan Jones, Iain Wright and Roberta Blackman-Woods also unsuccessful in their shadow cabinet bids

Competing to be the least successful nation or region were the Welsh. There seemed to be a great deal of confidence with no fewer than eight Welsh candidates standing [update/corrected: 5 to 8], but Peter Hain was the most senior ex-ministers to miss out. He may well be reprieved, with Labour sources tonight telling the BBC that Ed Miliband will appoint a Welsh MP to the post.


Jonn Elledge said...

Last I checked, Hull was in Yorkshire, too. Which makes it 7.

Sunder Katwala said...


Thanks. After a twitter-consultation, I have conceded the point and amended the post.

Anonymous said...

Think you'll find that the figure for candidates with Welsh constituencies was not five but *eight*.