Sunday, 24 May 2015

Labour Leadership - the story so far

To all of those readers who are not Labour obsessives, you may not already be aware of the state of the race, so here goes:

There are four declared candidates for leader and I think unlikely to be any more at this point: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh.

Burnham is the front-runner at the bookies and has garnered a great deal of support among MPs. However, he and Cooper look unequivocally like "no change" candidates of the ancien regime to me, not to mention that I don't believe that Burnham would push back on Unite, a hugely important point for any incoming leader. I think it undeniable that Len McCluskey currently presents a serious threat to Labour and its electoral chances, perhaps even its very survival.

Furthermore, Burnham's recent Damascene conversion to oppose reforms to the NHS, with the presumed end of preserving it in aspic and contrary to the very reforms he put in place when he led it, seems opportunistic, inconsistent and wrong.

My old colleague from Islington Labour Party, Mary Creagh, would be a good choice but I wonder if she will get the MP nominations.

Liz Kendall is clearly the candidate with upward momentum. Although virtually unknown in the party at large, she has already secured the support of Tristram Hunt, the other centrist who was considering running. On Friday she wowed the correspondents of the parliamentary lobby at a "meet the press" lunch and there is a very good profile of her here.

I haven't yet made up my mind, but I am pretty clear I won't be supporting Burnham or Cooper.

In the deputy race, the declared candidates are Stella Creasy, Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Angela Eagle and Ben Bradshaw. Creasy seems to be doing well, is competent and politically sound but, while I could live with her, I am not sure I care for her lecturing manner. More empathy required.

I think Flint is impressive, and all the others I could live with, with the exception of Watson. After his involvement in the Falkirk debacle, I'm afraid I don't believe he should be let anywhere near the party machine. Given that he continuously maintained that no-one had done anything wrong in Falkirk when it was patently obvious the opposite was true, there is zero chance that he would help to reform the party.

All this said, we should bear in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

UPDATE 13:30 - I understand that Rushanara Ali (MP for Bethnal Green and Bow) has declared for Deputy Leader. Seems like having a sensible head on her shoulders, although she may come under strong pressure from constituents on any Middle East foreign policy issue (as happened when she had to resign over Iraq military action last year). Although this kind of thing doesn't happen very often, it could be a handicap for a Deputy Leader to have to opt out of big FP debates.

2 comments:

  1. Good solid comments from progress members.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Luke Akehurst is backing Watson, lord Glasman says Kendall/Watson leader/Deputy would work, I dint agree, John Healey ,Angela Eagle, Ali, should all meet discuss, if one has to drop out,or they won't get the votes Bradshaw would be good, but it'll be Creasey or Flint to stop Watson.

    ReplyDelete

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