Well it’s nearly that time when Labour will decide who will lead them forward. Having swung from Smug Tony to Grim Gordon will they get with the real world and find someone who can lead them back into power and act as an effective counterbalance to the Con-Lib coalition of the ungainly.
Meet the Candidates
Let’s have a quick recap on the leading contenders
Age: 45 Education: Oxford, MIT (large brain) Political Experience ex-Foreign Secretary Real-Life Experience Pre-MP: basically a Policy Wonk for the Labour Party (so that’ll be none then). Position in the Labour Party: ex-Fan of Tony – No fan of Gordon (except when it suited in both cases). Big fan of himself.
Age: 40 Education: LSE (bit subversive) Political Experience ex-Climate Bloke Real-Life Experience Pre-MP: Tony Benn intern, Harriet Harman speechwriter, (so that’ll be none then). Position in the Labour Party: Friend of the Unions. Not much of a friend to his brother so it would seem
Age: 40 Education: Cambridge Political Experience I’m sure he had a job I just can’t remember it. Real-Life Experience Pre-MP: Writer on Trade Magazines including Container Management and Tank World (gotta love that) and researcher to Tessa Jowell (less love there). Position in the Labour Party: Not called Miliband and not Gordies ex-minder and bouncer
Age: 41 Education: Oxford and Harvard (proper) Political Experience Schools Secretary (someones idea of a joke methinks) Real-Life Experience Pre-MP: adviser to Gordie in various guises. Position in the Labour Party: Gordon’s Minder and Bouncer
Age: 53 Education: Cambridge Political Experience Plenty of time on the sofa next to Michael Portillo – far more lucrative and entertaining than doing any real work Real-Life Experience Pre-MP: Civil Servant, Freelance Journalist, PR Consultant (omg) Position in the Labour Party: Not a bloke and not tainted in any way with the previous government on the basis she spent most of that time on a sofa with Michael Portillo…
So who’s going to be the winner?
Well the first thing is I’m glad I’m not emotionally bothered about the result. Were I an ardent Labour supporter I suspect I would be a little disappointed in the candidates and their experience and suitability. As a general point what politics needs on both sides of the (albeit narrow) divide is more “real” people who have worked in the real world and not yet more people who have spent their entire working lives immersed in the surreal and insular goldfish bowl of politics. So that’s the Milibands and Balls out of the picture for a start. Sadly Andy Burnham’s stint writing about containers, which must have stood him in good stead as Tessa’s speech writer, doesn’t add up to much either. Which leaves Diane – who is a great media personality a la Boris. Sadly that sort of experience does not a good leader of the party make.
So what will happen?
For what it’s worth I suspect that Ed M will end up the winner on the basis he’s not his brother and he’s not called Balls. Whoever wins I don’t expect the Labour party will benefit greatly from their stewardship and will seek to persuade Alan Johnson or his ilk to step into the breach at some point down the line. What I’m sure the whole thing will prove to all those except the protagonists, is the supreme and utter indifference that the general public feels about who does or doesn’t win this particular contest. Which is a real shame cos actually it does matter and it would be wonderful if Labour did elect a passionate leader in touch with the people who could act as an effective opposition and potentially lead them back into power as will inevitably be required in the future.
We shall see….