ORIGINAL POST 30 MAY
This is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times in history for the British Labour Party. Many think that it is crunch time when its very survival is in serious doubt, don’t they?
Well, a number of confident individuals have crawled out of the woodwork to claim the crown that a month ago wasn’t even their wildest dream never mind an aspiration. So how do these hopefuls’ qualities stack-up then? Are any of them in the same league as the likes of Kier Hardy, Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Attlee, Nye Bevan. Harold Wilson, Hugh Gaitskell, Tony Blair, all politicians immensely respected and powerhouses in their own right, wouldn’t you say?
Perceived Blairite Liz Kendal, one of three woman, now bookies second favourite (10/3), got her application in first (the early bird, eh), middle class background, a good research paper writer, a wet behind the ears MP, a political nobody seeking fundamental reform, a career politician who moved straight from Oxbridge into politics, has never done a proper job, wouldn’t recognise a working man if she fell over one, never served in government, nor even carried a significant shadow portfolio [only health shadow minister for Care and older People]. Walked the Westminster corridors for so long as a special advisor to other women that she must have the equivalent of London black cab drivers’ The knowledge!. Used to be in a relationship with a comedian – so could be good for a laugh. Better looking than Burnham perhaps?
Sylphette Yvette Cooper, a brainbox, elected MP 1997/2001/2005/2010/2015, the only woman candidate with credible parliamentary and government major ministerial experience, a strident Brownite, election failure association denier, a Labour previous ballot topper who’s sparkle has tarnished , now dropped to third favourite by bookmakers (7/3), a Scot but don’t hold that against her, Union background upbringing, another Oxbridge brand output, then Harvard and LSE so hasn’t a lot in common with the average working man, another one straight into politics but did once have a job (but not a real one though – newspaper economic correspondent), has been around the block in parliamentary jobs including shadow foreign secretary and now shadow home secretary, damaged perhaps by being married to loudmouth Ed Balls ex- shadow chancellor, recently has been putting the boot in on Ed Miliband perhaps because he denied her the job she wanted of shadow chancellor (an appointment which indeed might have won Labour the Election).
Many discount Mary Creagh, sound Irish name, who the betters rate as the rank outsider (18/1), daughter of a car plant worker, Oxbridge educated again and then the LSE, straight into politics of course, served her time as a London councillor, poor results as a group leader and with questionable judgement, good hearted, flexible as first a Brownite who then supported David Miliband a Blairite as leader, European knowledgeable, a powerful successful intervener & campaigner in parliament with a number of remarkable notches on her belt, HS2 apologist, experienced as shadow environment, transport, and now demoted as International development secretary, totally unknown in the Country, third time winning MP for a Yorkshire northern industrial heartland, a fresh needed Rottweiler likely to be neutered
UPDATE 14 June As suspected Creagh couldn’t muster the MP nominations she needed and pulled out last Friday to avoid further embarrassment – while lambasting the Miliband camp for a vote losing attitude to business.
Front runner, odds-on favourite, unbelievably far ahead, Andy Burnham, currently the sole man offering himself, got it sewn-up from the outset, likely to get double the nominations needed, not betable (6/7), fourth out of five last time round, northern lad so lacks the London crowd support, easy manner, working class background, football fan & cricket accomplished, joined Labour as a kid, another Oxbridge production, inevitably first a political researcher and special advisor, had a kind of a pseudo-job once (a year on the government’s ‘football task force’ reports), fourth term as MP in a safe industrial seat, vertically challenged, Union beloved, specialist subject health, treasury experienced, competent interviewee, passionate, big thinker, longstanding blatant ambition for the top job might yet scupper him.
Hot favourite Burnham would have been pushed close by impressive operator Chuka Umunna, who turned out to be not a candidate after all, but a media allergic wimp – no longer imaginable as a future Prime Minister with his finger on the nuclear button, eh.
We still might get some late arrivals at the start line as there are a couple more weeks to go before the starting gun is fired (but who would want to enter a race when someone has already got their name engraved on the trophy?).
UPDATE 9 June
Well, well, well, another hat has arrived in the ring – a second male indeed, which will provide a bit of comfort to Andy Burnham, don’t you think? The new candidate is another no-hoper, the very leftwing and decidedly NOT new labour Jeremy Corbyn. He is what you might call old real Labour, never heard of Oxbridge, thinks a researcher is someone working in a lab not Westminster, and even remembers that the Unions formed the Labour party. He has been around as an MP for thirty odd years so has got good form. Will he struggle though to get nomination support from 35 other Labour MPs? He would have had a better chance if others in the labour Party could nominate certainly. With a bit of luck his voice will be heard and improve the contest – he will provide a breath of fresh air, surely? He is a renowned rebeller, who is anti-austerity, anti war, anti nuclear and anti-Tory. Great, eh? Certain to lose but will enhance the debate, don’t you think?
[All will be done and dusted by mid September but until then the Tories can have a field day against Labour’s coxless boat with the crew all rowing different oar strokes, don’t you think?]