The sound of New Labour

9th May 1997 at 01:00
Ngaio Crequer, profiles new ministers for lifelong learning and employment

If you wanted a snapshot of New Labour, then you don't have to look further than Kim Howells.

He is not a man afraid of speaking out and when at the end of last year he declared that "the word socialism should be humanely phased out", he clearly relished the opprobrium poured down upon him from some quarters, particularly the trades unions.

Then he was the Labour party's trade and industry spokesman, now he has been appointed to the Department of Education and Employment, as parliamentary under-secretary of state for lifelong learning.

He was born and brought up in the Cynon Valley in South Wales, the son of a lorry driver and Communist. He went to grammar school and then to Hornsey College of Art, and was a student rebel. The Labour party was right-wing and turgid, in his view.

But he joined in 1981 because he realised that "the institutions I had reviled so much were actually the only thing that we had and I came into the party rather like the penitent son in the Bible."

He worked in the pits, took a degree in English and history, and then a doctorate at Warwick on the coal industry. He became a researcher and radio and television reporter. He was sad when the mining industry in Wales ended, but as he said, the last thing his parents wanted for him or his brothers was to go down the pits.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now