Friday, 18 April 2008

Gwyneth Dunwoody 1930 - 2008

A lot of tributes are being paid over at LabourHome. Apparently, "She was born into the Party as daughter of the longtime General Secretary, Morgan Phillips ..."

For a political party that is supposed to be in favour of meritocracy and against hereditary privilege and/or nepotism, it is quite amazing how many Labour politicians rest on their ancestors' laurels - Peter Mandelson (Herbert Morrison), Hilary Benn (Tony Benn), Emily Benn (Hilary Benn), the Miliband bros - or are indeed married to each other - Ed Balls & Yvette Cooper, Harriet Harman & Jack Dromey.

Those are the examples that immediately spring to mind, I am sure that there are others.

9 comments:

The Great Simpleton said...

Good point. And by building the client state and dumbing down education they entrench their own positions and dynasties.

Longrider said...

I couldn't stand Gwyneth Dunwoody, but in a curious, perverse way, I sort of admired her doggedness.

Tim Almond said...

Baroness Jay - daughter of James Callaghan.

dearieme said...

Ramsay Mac had a child and grandchild who were MPs (if memory serves).

dearieme said...

Oh, and what about the Alexander siblings?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Thanks, keep 'em coming!

Neil Harding said...

Mark, I agree that this nepotism is terrible. I read in Jeremy Paxman's book - 'political animals', that about 20% of MPs are related to current and/or previous MPs in some direct way.

Like the police who tend to marry each other (or nurses), being in politics is a bit of a lonely niche so politicians tend to marry each other as well - which partly explains the phenomenon.

There are so few people that get into party politics that you tend to find those really enthused about it tend to be the daughters, sons etc of party members. This also keeps it in the preserve of the middle and upper class - public school types. (all party activists tend to be middle class which explains why Labour tend to have more members from Tory areas).

I personally think the best politicians tend to come from backgrounds outside politics and outside this elite. This insular tribalism is terrible and like you I cannot understand why it is celebrated and revered.

Darren said...

Yep,

politics does sometimes resemble a family business but it's across the political spectrum. Labour, Tories and Lib Dems in Britain and the Democrats and Republicans in the States.

I wonder if the electorate have to carry some of the responsibilty for this sad state of affairs. How many people blindly vote for a candidate simply because they share the surname and/or family ties of a politician of a previous generation?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Darren, people vote blindly for the candidate because of the party they are in. The nepotism is understandable, what irritates the hell out of me is the way that people in a party, especially in Labour, "celebrate and revere" it (to use Neil's words).