Wednesday, May 16, 2007

thoughts on labour

It looks, judging by the latest updates on the Labour leadership election, like left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell is going to have serious difficulties drumming up enough nominations to go head to head with Gordon Brown. He needs 45 nominations and is currently still 16 off that figure with only 26 undeclared Labour MPs left to woo. I think he may be sunk. I would have loved, however, to have seen the faces of Millburn and Byers as they reluctantly put in their nominations for Brown. Hilarious.

It will be a pity if McDonnell doesn't get to stand. He is a respectable MP whose hard work over recent months has done much to reinvigorate the labour left, although he's plainly not really leadership material at all, and as much as there is a lot to admire in his manifesto, I don't think it's really a plausible base upon which to stand. Brown would be a far better PM.

The point, however, is that a large left movement exists within the labour party and I would like that section to have a voice. We couldn't get Ken on the ballot paper in 1994, but one left-wing MP, Jon Cruddas, has put together a very well-judged, moderate and thoughtful campaign for the deputy leadership, and has already secured enough nominations to stand. It seems ludicrous that the grassroots of the party will be able to vote for him as a deputy but have to put up with a coronation for the leader. Of course McDonnell, or Meacher, could not win, but the party would be better, healthier and more open for one of them being able to stand.

In terms of the deputies, I like Cruddas a lot, although I have to admit that I would be stumped on who to vote for in that election. I wouldn't vote for Johnson or Blears, obviously, nor would I vote for Benn, who looks like he won't make the cut anyway, but I'd be more than happy with a deputy leader of the calibre of Harriet Harman or Peter Hain. Or, indeed, Jon Cruddas.

The big question of course, is whether Brown will do enough to persuade the left to re-embrace their natural party. I hope so.


Dave said...


I don't really need to say it do I?

Ali P said...

Technically you were wrong. B could stand for many many things.

Anyway, Dave, can we buy an egg from ebay and try and hatch it? Please please please!

Dave said...


Ha! Gotcha!

(actually, it was going to be 'BORING!' -How ever did you know?)