“We must let the public in,” said Harriet Harman this morning as she announced plans to allow the hoi polloi a vote in the Labour leadership contest:
“We will allow people who are not party members or who are not affiliated supporters through a trade union or Labour linked organisation like the Fabian society to have a vote. Anyone – providing they are on the electoral register – can become a registered supporter, pay £3 and have a vote to decide our next leader.”
There are one or two examples from recent history which suggest this idea is about as good as Hattie’s pink bus.
Millwall FC recently allowed the general public – including opposition fans – to choose the colour of their away kit for next season. With somewhat predictable results:
While Liverpool’s player of the season competition was opened up to the public too, leading to mischievous Man United and Arsenal supporters voting en masse for Mario Balotelli, who, well, certainly wasn’t their player of the year.
All it would take is a generous Tory donor and a few thousand Tory activists and Tristram Hunt is the new Labour leader…
Red UKIP came second in a swathe of seats across the north, polling above 25% in places like Boston and Skegness, Heywood & Middleton, Rotherham, Hartlepool and Rother Valley. 8,000 people voted UKIP in Morley and Outwood, where Ed Balls lost by 400 votes. If a few hundred of those UKIP voters had chosen Labour, Balls would still be an MP.
Hence why Andy Burnham’s pitch for the Labour leadership could easily have been lifted from a UKIP posters during the Wythenshawe & Sale East by-election. Big state, big spending, cutting immigration, ‘protecting’ your benefits, ‘saving’ the NHS and bringing forward the EU referendum. All offered to northern voters by Red UKIP before Purple Andy…
No reason given, though as Guido reported in the Sun on Sunday at the weekend:
“his allies are urging him to run to replace Boris as Mayor of the capital. This would allow him to build a similar power base outside of Parliament, leaving him in place to lead Labour into the 2020 election.”
UPDATE: Chuka statement:
“Shortly before the election campaign, I made the decision, in the event that Labour was defeated and a new Leader was to be elected, to stand for the leadership of the party if there was a desire in the party for me to do so.
“I dearly hoped Labour would win the election and it was a decision I would not have to implement.
“I also thought I understood the scrutiny and attention a leadership contest would bring.
“As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, I am used to a level of attention which is part and parcel of the job. I witnessed the 2010 leadership election process close up and thought I would be comfortable with what it involved.
“However since the night of our defeat last week I have been subject to the added level of pressure that comes with being a leadership candidate.
“I have not found it to be a comfortable experience.
“One can imagine what running for leader can be like, understand its demands and the attention but nothing compares to actually doing it and the impact on the rest of one’s life.
“Consequently after further reflection I am withdrawing my candidacy.
“I apologise to all those who have kindly supported and encouraged me to do this and for disappointing them. I know this will come as I surprise to many but I had always wondered whether it was all too soon for me to launch this leadership bid – I fear it was.
“Most importantly, I continued to have very real concerns and worry about this bid’s impact on those close to me.
“I intend to carry on playing my full role as a proud member of our Shadow Cabinet taking on the Tories. I also hope to play a leading role in Labour’s campaign to keep the UK in the EU during the forthcoming referendum which is absolutely crucial. Most importantly, I will as ever continue to serve the area I know and love – the Streatham parliamentary constituency.”
“The plain truth is this. The party that I love has lost its emotional connection with millions of people.
The way to get it back can’t possibly be to choose one group of voters over another – to speak only to people on zero hour contracts or only to shoppers at John Lewis.
Our challenge is not to go left or right, to focus on one part of the country above another, but to rediscover the beating heart of Labour.
Labour wins when it speaks to everyone and for the whole country, for Middle England but also Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And it needs a leader whose voice can carry into all the nations and regions of the UK. Be heard in every home, someone who people can relate to, who understands their lives. I am that person. I can unite this country.”
His video is much sharper than Chuka’s…
Not a short campaign or a long campaign but a halfway house.
Press Association reports there will be a four month wait to find the new Labour leader, with an announcement made on September 12.
They will be in place – and have their team in place – two weeks before conference…
Chuka is in Swindon to make his announcement:
“I’m pleased today to be announcing that I will be standing for the Labour leadership. North, South, East, West – we can absolutely do it as a party. I think the Labour Party can do it in five years and I want to lead that effort as part of a really big Labour team.”
Video to follow…
UPDATE: India Knight tweets it well ‘Unfortunately Swindon is a London person’s idea of “not London”.’
Most of the analysis of the pollsters’ collective nightmare has blamed the ‘Shy Tories’ – people who planned on voting Tory but didn’t tell the pollsters. Ipsos MORI have a different theory: that ‘Lazy Labour’ supporters not turning up to […]