This month’s edition of GQ Magazine positions MP Chuka Umunna as the tenth most influential man in the country. Impressive for a list where the Prime Minister is number three. The rising star of the Labour Party was speaking in Southside, Birmingham at a constituency fundraiser for Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart. The fact he chose Valentine’s Day underlines the city’s love affair for the party in red.
Umunna is the shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and MP for Streatham. His manner is much calmer than the London borough’s most famous resident, Naomi Campbell but he certainly had a few things to say including the “need for great cultural change in the banking industry where banks serve their customers and not themselves.”
Capitalism with responsibility would be a welcome theme for the 2015 General Election. Huge retail corporates who squeeze suppliers on margin (and I should know!), forcing them to procure from cheaper sources and putting horse meat into the mouths of the poor is a scandal. Blaming EU suppliers is not acceptable. Ummuna said: “we need a strategy to ensure globalisation helps the people of this country including provision for a living wage.”
Many regard the Coalition’s decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future program as consigning another generation to a scrap heap of welfare existence. But when questioned on whether Labour will reinstate the program, Umunna made no promises: “If elected, we will have to make some horrific decisions. Its not what we spend but how we spend it. One of the tragedies of the coalition is a legacy of one million unemployed young people. And in terms of capital spending, we are desperately in need of more housing.”
Pointing a manicured finger at a section of society, accusing them of being scroungers whilst the same hand denies their children the opportunity of a world class education. Who benefits from taking such a position? Looking at the polls, I don’t think the Conservatives do.
“Despite the Tories’ prediction that post-Gordon Brown, we would disintegrate as a party and veer to the left, we have done neither. We are a unified party under a strong leader,” said Umunna.
Southside Birmingham is presently in the midst of celebrating Chinese New Year welcoming in the Year of the Snake with fireworks. The General Election is just two years away. With a unified Labour Party led by Ed Milliband, supported by MPs like Chuka Umunna, Giesla Stuart and Shabana Mahmood, expect more fireworks.
- Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer in Birmingham