Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham had the comrades cackling with glee when he opened his stint as Shadow Education Minister yesterday, attacking Michael Gove for failing “to understand the difference between being a minister and a journalist”

Gove was a journalist for many years but look again at that sentence and it highlights something interesting; Gove has had a career outside politics. If that sentence were directed at Burnham what would you replace “journalist” with?

It’s difficult to tell. Gaining a Masters in English from Cambridge Burnham went straight into politics, working as a researcher for Tess Jowell from 1994 to 1997. After the election Jowell became Minister of State in the Department of Health which made Burnham the obvious choice to be appointed Parliamentary Officer for the NHS Confederation, a pressure group for health service providers. Nice work if you can get it!

In December 1997 Burnham’s experience of the health service made him an obvious choice to be appointed to the Football Task Force, a body set up by the Blair government to either revamp football in the UK or pump out a lot of hot air courting the football vote depending on your opinion of Blair’s sincerity.

In 1998 Burnham got itchy feet again. He became special advisor to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith. Burnham remained in this role until he himself was elected to the Commons in 2001.

Given this background Burnham was unwise to draw attention to Gove’s life before politics; Burnham never had one. Despite his regional accent and man of the people schtick, Andy Burnham is another of the class of professional politicians who go straight from university into politics and bounce from one cushy non job to the next waiting for their turn at the Parliamentary trough.

Burnham isn’t the only one, indeed, politics today seems to be filled with characters like this, but given his background Burnham would be well advised to leave Michael Gove’s CV out of this.


7 thoughts on “Andy Burnham

  1. Shame you don't do your homework. Burnham worked outside politics as… yes, a journalist! before working in a publishing house – after which he went into the political world. So a few years outside of politics – just what you wanted – so he seems to be well placed to comment on Gove!

  2. Not that it's up to me to prove fact – rather you to prove it's not the case – but sounds you'd rather believe bloggers and inaccurate press reports than find out the facts.But anyway – he worked on the Middleton Guardian and at Baltic Publishing for just under 4 years plus 2 or so years with the NHS Conferderation and Football Taskforce.So around 5-6 years outside politics. Fine to argue if this is enough 'outside' experience or not, but the facts should at least be stated and accepted above assumptions or, dare I say it, convenient lies..

  3. "Not that it's up to me to prove fact – rather you to prove it's not the case"Rubbish. If you say something you back it up.Ill work this backwards, youre claim of "5-6 years outside politics" is, simply, false. The Football Task Force was set up by the government. At the the NHS Confederation he was, er, Parliamentary Officer. So youre down two years.So were onto the other stuff, the journalism and the publishing. Im happy to concede the journalism although, as Channel 4 put it, it was "a very brief stint". Indeed, it was unpaid. Bravo Burnham. I did 6 weeks work experience at a local paper as well. As for the publishing, well, where did he fit this in? Burnham started university in 1989 and would have graduated in 1992. He began working for Tessa Jowell in 1994 and has been skipping from one non job to the next ever since.So the period you refer to as "a few years outside of politics" is, in fact, 1992 to 1994. Bearing in mind he got a Masters in English (which he would have started upon graduation in 1992) that doesnt leave much room for our latter day Victor Gollancz to have squeezed in a publishing career.Maybe he did, but either way, your assertion of "a few years outside of politics" is false.

  4. And that, sir, is a cop out.As youve seen each and every assertion Ive made has been backed up. It is you who is trying to shoehorn some career as a publishing magnate into the gap between Burnham finishing his Masters and going to work for Tessa Jowell and attempting, risibly, to pass off a stint as Parliamentary Officer for the NHS Confederation and a spell on the government quango the Football Task Force as non political private sector jobs.

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