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18 September 2008

A Cabinet of all the Talents?

Bernard Donoughue's essay comparing the present political atmosphere to that under Jim Callaghan is

By Martin Bright

It’s been a good week for the New Statesman, with loads of pick-up of the interview with James Purnell and some good coverage of the Prescott/Campbell campaign for a fourth term for Labour. We were also delighted to carry the Progress article by Alan Miburn.

But the most interesting piece by far, was by Bernard Donaghue, the former adviser to Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. It’s called Jim’s Lessons and you can read it here.

Asked to compare the Labour government of the late 1970s to Brown’s today, Donoughue (now a Labour pweer) makes some fascinating observations. But he also offers some advice:

Brown could learn from that earlier experience. His own cabinet – with some commendable young exceptions – seems lightweight compared to Callaghan’s and especially relative to the challenges that face it. Some of the biggest current Labour beasts are sadly (and, in my view, unnecessarily) outside the cabinet and if included would add weight and experience. John Reid, Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn and David Blunkett should, if they could be persuaded, be inside in senior positions.

We understand the Prime Minister taken a close interest in the piece. Could Gordon Brown be preparing to take Donoughue’s advice?

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