Saturday 25 September 2021

In Its Own Terms

On Thursday, I turned 44, making me older than two Prime Ministers of my adult lifetime.

Mine is the Blair generation, first eligible to vote at a General Election in 1997, 2001 or 2005. We were born between 10th April 1974 and 5th May 1987, so that even the youngest of us is now 34, while the eldest is 47. Blairism may be judged on how well we have fared politically.

On the verge of leading their respective parties, Rishi Sunak and Angela Rayner were both born, less than two months apart, in 1980. Both were first time voters in 2001, the high water mark of Tony Blair.

Sunak had been Head Boy of Winchester, and had still yet to do a day's work in his life. Rayner had left school with literally nothing fully five years earlier, and was to make her way through her trade union. Make what you like of either of those backstories, but the fact that those are the Generation Blair figures on the brink of Leadership makes Blairism a failure in its own terms.

Yet in the zeal to restore it, there are breathtaking stories coming out of Brighton tonight. They are jaw-dropping, even to those of us whose jaws very rarely drop. And this is still only the first night.