Labour leadership menu: a limited choice

If you’re a Labour Party member, you currently have a choice between two candidates: the Miliband Brothers, Ed and David. Not much of a choice, really. More a family affair.  Vote Miliband, get Miliband. On Monday’s Newsnight, the awful Justin Rowlatt held a focus group on who would be the best candidate to succeed Gordon Brown. Rowlatt told viewers that the exercise was not ‘scientific’. My, that’s a relief Justin, there was I thinking that you were actually a qualified researcher and not a hack journalist! I don’t know where he dragged this mob in from, but none of them could see beyond the surface of any of the candidates…”Oh, he’s a good-looking man, I think that helps”. Phwoar that Eddie Miliband, eh, I just want to give him a great big sloppy kiss!  When a clip of Jon Cruddas was shown to the group, the audience felt that he was “too old fashioned”. Why? Because he was talking about housing? Things that actually matter to a great many people instead of what shoes his wife/life partner is wearing?

I somehow got the feeling that Rowlatt and his pollster had shown them soundbites, not lengthy clips but something that was no longer than say, 10 to 20 seconds. A whole speech would have been hard to stomach for most, especially if the speech was full of the usual platitudinous guff you get from today’s machine politicians. I really hope that this small, unrepresentative group of people is not an indication of a much wider and deeper malaise because if it is, then the next 30 years are going to be hell.  On the basis of this Newsnight report, the sight of Simon Cowell hosting Question Time in the future is a distinct possibility.

Back to the leadership contest, the Milibands have already announced their candidacies, Ed balls has yet to declare but of all of those who have been tipped for the leadership all come from the Blair-Brown faction of the party. There are no outsiders. Even Cruddas worked for Blair, so he cannot be considered a proper left-winger…even if the press says he is. The sad truth is that Labour has abandoned its base in order to concentrate on middle class anxieties. The left wing of the party was marginalised after the witch hunts of 1987 and it never recovered.

If electoral reform actually happens, then some of us may get to vote for a candidate that represents our views instead of being forced to vote for either Team A or Team B…or voting for Team C to keep Team A out of power. The Tories don’t want electoral reform and Labour are divided on the issue. For now, though, we watch as Labour choose a Blair clone, who will schmooze the City and wage war on the working classes. Meanwhile


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