We all like to play 'who is the rising star?' - trying to work out which MPs or other politicos are heading for high office, could carry influence and weight and in whose basket we should place our eggs.

This topic always seems to be a favourite amongst political pundits and there is often a frenzy of commentary on this both pre and post election and ministerial reshuffles.

This judgement is, however, often just a case of gut instinct. There is nothing wrong with that but it is worth considering the reasons behind what makes someone a rising star. It should be a changing list of criteria. What makes a rising star this year may not be the same as next. Undoubtedly being good with the media has risen in importance whilst the ability to make two hour speeches is less so. But if we know and understand any criteria for judgement then we could identify what may be important in the future - social media abilities being an obvious example. This may also show us who is not so hot! It may help to show people that we would not otherwise have thought of, or maybe shows that someone we thought as being a rising star is destined to burn brightly and then fade.

Criteria for being a rising star could include:

1. Personal background - a history of activism and commitment to the party will help to build a rising stars' personal brand. There are also certain buttons that, if pressed, will impress. A background in business, law or economics/finance has often been a shared trait amongst politicians that have headed for senior office within their first couple of years at Westminster. Academics are often amongst those considered to be 'high-flyers' particularly if their area of expertise and work experience corresponds to a ministerial portfolio that they might have their eyes on. Generally speaking, having had some career outside of politics not just having been a lobbyist (normally removed from any post election CV) or a special adviser can put them in good stead. Rising stars can either conform to type, time served public servants for Labour, or fill a gap, business people for Conservatives.

2. Media profile - any self respecting rising star will know how to perform well through the media. They don't though want to overdo it. Too much exposure or a too early a profile piece suggesting that they will be Prime Minister within the next decade will simply create enemies.

3. Endorsements - comments of support from already respected and well positioned individuals will always strengthen the position of a rising star.  Such comments will often reinforce the good links and networks that the rising star has and, if they have been doing the necessary level of ground work, they will have been investing time and effort in these networks.

4. Team player - especially early on in their career a rising star needs to show that they understand the rules of the game and will support those around them (as well as looking out for themselves). Whilst being a rebel may help get selected at a local level, once in Parliament consistent opposition will not impress anyone. However there is a balance to be struck between toeing the party line and not to be seen as a robot that is constantly 'on-message'

5. Parliament - it remains at the heart of British political life and for that reason it is still important that a rising star has a strong profile in Parliament. As well as allowing them to demonstrate to their constituents that they are active on their behalf, it shows the right level of deference towards the day job, supporting the Government, holding them to account and scrutinising legislation.

6. Campaigning - the ability to stick a rosette on a donkey and for it then to be elected is nearly dead. Rising stars have to know and understand what makes a modern political campaign, including new technology. It also requires leadership-style qualities such as the ability to lead and motivate teams, creativity and, frankly, hard work.

7. Career progress - they has to be development and improvement over time.  Politicians, especially, do not arrive fully formed. There is a greasy pole to work their way up and this requires political skills - knowing and understanding what is going on, how to make the most of it, making the friends and allies needed and sidelining those who are 'not one of us'. There is no accounting though for being in the right place at the right time and having the political ability to take advantage of a situation or the pure good fortune. If promotion does come early then there is the chance to learn on the job and they have to, at least, show that they are a safe pair of hands and make no mistakes. Momentum counts for a lot.

8. Achievements - just being a good politician is not enough, there have to have been some achievements along the way already. These could be local 'wins' or  a successful campaign. There are a lot of bright young things that want to be rising stars but only those with some sort of track record that makes them stand out from the crowd will most probably end up being recognised as such.

None of these proposed criteria are mutually exclusive and some may offset others but taken together they mean that we can properly consider where the person is likely to end up. The criteria may also vary slightly between the parties but hopefully by starting to map them out is a step forward and shines some light.

This is, of course, a very imprecise science but is hopefully better than just sticking a wet finger in the air.

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