In a good school I once knew, a new headteacher made a bad start by rubbishing the work of their predecessor. The effect on staff morale was understandably negative; after all, they'd been committed to that work too. The new broom did change the school's image, updated it indeed. But the school's reputation took longer to repair.
I didn't have strong feelings about Ed, the younger Miliband, winning the Labour Party leadership - until he raised the Iraq war question in his conference speech. "It was wrong to go into it." It was such an easy thing to say by someone who wasn't an MP at the time, albeit an adviser to Gordon Brown. No wonder former cabinet colleagues including his older brother, David, refrained from applause. Young Ed, we are told, is bright and empathetic. He must have calculated that, as well as being a crowd-pleaser, it would be a brother-killer. (At the time, I wasn't persuaded that war was justified, and yet, although Iraq has been and is a mess, I'll take Andrew White's word that the removal of Saddam Hussain was good for that country and the world in removing a dangerous dictator. See his book The Vicar of Baghdad.) But I have to tell the new Labour leader that rubbishing his party's past is not an auspicious start. It smells of populism and not principle.
Still, at least the Labour Party (for whom I voted this year) has the reassurance that it's in the company of North Korea in choosing the younger brother over the older - as leader Kim Jong-il has lined up his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to succeed him. And we have the remarkable appointment of a 27-year old as an army general. One just wonders if he has sufficient experience.... Or is he just as ruthless as Cain to his brother? And one wonders why Ed chose to stand against his experienced and capable brother in the first place.