I reported a few weeks back that Iain McNichol, political officer at GMB, is widely regarded in Labour circles as the best candidate to be Labour’s next general secretary. (He also faces opposition from Joe Irvin, Gordon Brown’s former political adviser).
Interesting then to see a throwaway line today in Anne McElvoy’s profile of Ed Miliband for the Sunday Times:
“I am told he asked Matthew Taylor, the highly-regarded former strategy adviser to Tony Blair, now running the Royal Society of Arts, to take the post of general secretary and help redefine the party. Taylor declined.”
I have heard elsewhere that Miliband is not entirely sure about having a former union official as the party’s gensec; if only because it could send out a “Red Ed” signal.
Elsewhere in McElvoy’s excellent piece she notes that the Labour leader is comfortable using the word “socialism”. Miliband tells a leftie protester: “Socialism isn’t the work of one generation.” This is striking given that the current generation of Labour MPs mostly recoil from the S word, preferring the phrase “social democrat“.
Lastly there is a striking line from one ex minister in the shadow cabinet how things are going: “We’ve got a good lead in the polls – and we’re the least interest party in Britain,” he replies. “We need to get some attention, but in a good way.” Precisely.