I wonder what the reaction would be if in a Tory leadership race two of the candidates were brothers and one of the other candidates was married to another potential candidate, who is female but had decided to stand down in favour of her husband. Same old Tories would be the cry from the other side. And understandably so. But this hasn't happened to the Tories, it's what's happening in the Labour Party.
Tomorrow Ed Balls joins the Miliband brothers in the race to be Labour leader. So at the moment, the next Labour leader will either be called Ed or Miliband, or both. There is speculation that the eyelid flutterer in chief, Andy Burnham may also stand, but quite how he could differentiate himself from the Milibands is open to question. He does speak northern, I suppose.
Jon Cruddas has bottled it again. It's a serial problem for him. This time he realised he didn't have what it takes to be leader, which is hardly surprising when only three years ago he realised he didn't have what it took to be Housing Minister. Cruddas has always beebn overrated. His performance as Dagenham MP has been lamentable - just ask Margaret Hodge, who will be only too willing to tell you.
I still wouldn't rule out a bid from Harriet Harman. I know she's ruled herself out but she has until the end of July to change her mind. You can just imagine the circumstances. She could come under huge pressure from the Labour sisterhood to stand, purely because there is no other woman candidate. I can hear them now. "Harriet, it's your duty," they will cry in unison. And this may be especially true if she shines in the Commons over the next few weeks as she speaks for Labour at PMQs.
You watch, stranger things have happened.
Surely, simply on the grounds of equality, Ms Harperson CAN'T rule herself out.
A rather churlish contribution Iain and a shame given your generally excellent offerings post May 6.
The fact that two of the candidates might be called Ed is neither here nor there. Surely what is relevant is that Ed Balls is a ghastly character. I would prefer to have a contest between the Milibands on the basis that both are electable and competent rather than fabricate a contest between one Miliband and a blinking twat who can't say his Rs properly.
As for Cooper standing aside for Balls, again it's not relevant. She was a shite minister and would be a terrible leader. Just because she has two X chromosones doesn't mean that she should be a contender anymore than the equally execrable Harman. I thought you Tories were against positive discrimination but who knows what the Tories stand for in the ConDem era. Raising taxes on their core vote and bending over in Europe, it seems, but that's another issue.
What Tories are uncomfortable about is that thus far, Labour have two candidates who will give you a run for your money at the next election and you're disappointed that Labour do not appear likely to descend into internecine warfare resulting in the election of a Trotskyite in a donkey jacket or a semi autistic Jock.
Sorry to disappoint!
No, the Harridian does not have until the end of July - according to SKY the nominations close in 9 days.
You make good points. Look at labour and the cupboard is bare. No women and no talent and no variety.
I guess if labour had any sense they would avoid whoever Mandelson is backing and given Browns track record of never ever making a correct or sane decision they should avoid Browns favoured candidate.
Not much to applaud there is there. Ed M is the obviou8s one they should vote for - of the rubbish available.
Iain, you're a journalist, why don't you ask Hodge what she thinks and then publish it here?
I dont see any tasty candidates on the current list, they are all ever so slightly dull, samey and stink of the same stuff as Gordon Brown. I predict one of the dullest leadership contests in british politics, and after that i predict one of the dullest leaders.
Iain, you're hurting.
But your party is now in (coalition) government.
No need to score points off the opposition anymore.
At least this time all the candidates aren't the same person...
"Stranger things have happened".
Isn't this phrase used when talking about something that is actually quite strange? An experienced party member, deputy/caretaker leader and the most prominent female in the party running for leadership wouldn't be a strange thing at all.
And you'd have a point about the "same old Tories"/"same old Labour" line you've gone down if it wasn't for the fact that:
a) Ed and David being brothers means absolutely nothing;
b) they were both educated in comprehensive schools whilst Ed Balls had a private education.
c) David has studied political science at MIT which is at least a subject related to his profession as opposed to a History graduate being Chancellor having had relatively little experience of, well, economics.
Oh and, "John Cruddas has bottled it again...His performance as Dagenham MP has been lamentable"
Constituents decide whether or not their MPs performance has been lamentable; not failed politicians. And seeing as Cruddas got re-elected just 12 days ago, I don't think you can have any validity at all in saying his performance has been such.
If we're REALLY talking about bottlejobs: http://www.wattonandswaffhamtimes.co.uk/content/election-2010/north-norfolk/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=ElecNnfk&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=ElecNnfk&itemid=NOED05%20May%202010%2010:59:30:693
"So at the moment, the next Labour leader will either be called Ed or Miliband, or both."
Not sure who gives a toss. Didn't the Tories have a leadership contest with just two candidates, both called Dave?
"His performance as Dagenham MP has been lamentable - just ask Margaret Hodge, who will be only too willing to tell you."
Bet she won't!
You might be right about Harriet. Something similar happened when Margaret Beckett stood in after John Smith died.
Harriet will stand if no other female candidate does.
Why does she have until July? Nominations close on May 27th
Don't underestimate the importance of 'speaking northern' like Andy Burnham. As I explained when he announced he was a candidate for the leadership back in January, the yuppies lack one of Blair's secret weapons, namely the chorus of northern vowels from Messrs Blunkett and Prescott to keep the core vote on board.
For further details, see 'Vowels, voters and the voice of authenticity: the leadership case for Andy Burnham' http://bit.ly/8IGWba
He may come from the wrong side of the Pennines, but at least he knows where the Pennines are - unlike the Milibands, Balls, Coopers et al. who I'll bet hadn't a clue where South Shields, Normanton and Pontefract were until they were parachuted into their safe seats. Ditto Blair and Sedgefield...
There aren't many stranger things than Harriet Harman.
The Beeb would be up in arms if it were the Tories !
It looks like John McDonnell is currently gathering names to support his own bid, so there could be up to six contenders: Miliband x 2, Balls, Harman, Burnham and McDonnell.
At least it should make it a bit more interesting...
I'm impressed that you are sufficiently well connected to know Yvette Cooper's reasons for not standing.
I just find two brothers calling for 'change' after an election campaign calling for more of the same rather odd. In fact, I don't know which 'Mili-bland' is more dull. I've blogged at www.betterpol.com about it - would be interested for your thoughts.
I do so hope harpee chucks her lot into the race - it will be a priceless gift to the tories if she wins. Her shrill zealotry and hectoring piety will help further alienate Labour from the electorate.
Well, i supose the Party could be in worse hands... Edd Millipeed... David Millipeed... Ed Balls...
Like I said on another blog not a million miles from here, I'm standing behind Ben Bradshaw, the member for Exeter, to get in line for possible Premiership.
Him and and that Andy ('Eyelid Flutterer' - love that Iain!) chap will make a fantastic Comedy Duo.
Just what the country needs right now - a good belly laugh.
Iain, the candidates in this leadership election will together form the most talented shortlist in Labour, Tory or Lib Dem history. The strength of the choice being put to Labour members is defined by who will not be on the ballot paper. When Jack Straw, Alan Johnson, Alistair Darling, Yvette Cooper et al don't stand because they don't think they can win, that is one powerful shortlist. And who cares if two are brothers and one is the husband of another potential candidate? What matters is who emerges as the winner and if that happens to be Miliband (D), (E) or Andy Burnham then I suggest Camerlegg shouldn't get too comfortable on the government benches.
I think you've been misinformed. She's got until May 29th, I think...
Balls and Harman Please.
Sadly it will never happen.
It would be worth letting the Harman nutter shine for a few weeks if it means she gets the job of leading Labour.
Herperson won't shine in PMQ's; she's sh*t and always has been; just look at her performance today - I had to turn the TV over it was that cringe-worthy.
The question to which the answer is Balls:
Q: What's ugly, needs constant monitoring and is the nearest thing to a turd?
The Labour Party moves into the corporate phase of its decline. If you had to pick the winner on the basis of having some real world experience, then Ed Balls would actually win it given his years as a hack on the FT.
The Milliboys, unfortunately, lack even basic roles outside the Leftie hierarchy. However, so well connected are they that they did their respective internships with Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone while the rest of us slummed it stacking shelves at the local supermarket.
And didn't Young David get the kind of A-level results that wouldn't have got you through the doors of a semi-respectable Red Brick university in the 1980s? And yet he ends up at Oxford. He must have learned that particular trick from Polly Toynbee.
Leftie connections - will always see you through.
Being Leader of the Conservative Party or of the Liberal Democrats is at least a proper job while those are the parties of government.
But electoral reform will sweep away what have become those microscopic Darby and Joan Clubs as surely as it will sweep away the other one.
Why would anyone want to be the last ever Leader of the other one?
Oh yes has to be Hattie...please please let her throw her hat in the ring and get the jobbie full time.............it should keep her in gainful employment as the leader of the opposition for a very long time..
I hope that Harriet stands. I voted for her as Deputy Leader (odd situation - I'm not a Labour Party member but I am a member of the Fabian Society and that gave me a vote!).
There is a number of good leadership candidates - but as either Harman or Balls are the once most likely to get up Tory noses I'd be happy with either. Or Cooper for that matter...
I've watched Jeremy Paxman interview Harman Harman and make her look like a complete idiot.
In all honesty it isn't THAT hard to do and I cannot ever imagine her as this country's Prime Minister.
If it DID happen she would be ten times the disaster than Gordon Brown was.
Hattie shine? About as possible as polishing a dog turd Iain.
Having been a member of both parties in their most recent incarnations, you cannot put a fag paper between them when it comes to the make-up of their elected representatives.
Listen to Ed Balls getting his campaign off to a good start on Wednesday's PM http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00sccf2 (about 50 minutes in).
The wonderful Eddie Mair quietly allows another politician to show exactly what he's made of.
Is it true that she has months? Isn't it the case that they have to be nominated THIS WEEK by up to 33 MPs if they want to stand, in fact, BY TODAY? That's what various news outlets are saying anyway.
OK, it's Thursday 27th May they have to be nominated by. Iain's piece is incorrect.
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