Its been an interesting couple of weeks for the leadership process. In one respect, I am quite enjoying it because I am learning more about the candidates and my opinions are changing as I do learn. I am also on the whole impressed with the way the membership is reacting to it, everyone does seem to be debating respectfully and looking for the good of the party, and the country, not just factionalism. (I’m not saying its not there, but it is certainly less).
We have also had Jess Phillips drop out. I think its a shame, but I can understand why. I think she is one of the main people who would worry Boris at PMQs, particularly in terms of being very dynamic and authenticity. But she was very much seen as the centrist candidate, and as she acknowledged herself, the leader needs to repair and reunite the party, and no-one from the Corbyn/Momentum camp will forgive the “knife in the front” incident. So she has done the sensible thing and withdrawn.
We are now churning through this phase of Union/affiliate/CLP filtering. Whilst I understand why this element was added, I do think its a ridiculous waste of time. On the face of it, it sounds reasonable, but in reality, I think we are going to lose good candidates in both the leadership and deputy leadership before the actual member vote. Lets not make believe that the unions or CLPs are fully engaging all members to get that filtering vote. CLPs generally only have a minority percentage of members turning up to meetings and therefore are not representative, and the unions seem to have not engaged the members at all, only their senior committees. In particular, I have seen much anger among Unite members, but I think they are all in the same boat. Next time, i think we should just get to the member vote and get it done.
IN particular I have been very impressed with Lisa Nandy. She did a Podcast interview with Nick Robinson which was very insightful. I think what I like mot is that some of what she says has me nodding and agreeing furiously, in other areas im grimacing and sucking my teeth. That tells me that she is getting ti about right, she is willing and able to say the things to start our healing process. I think she still has some work to do to prove she can be that larger than life leader, but she has been the most inspiring. I also had no idea that her father was Indian, which brings her some serious perspective along with her northern (i still think she is midlands) roots.
Starmer and Long-Bailey have continued to not impress. Starmer is giving good speeches, but they are not inspiring. I have no dount that he will be a competent leader, but for me he is not giving us that x factor that will drive the troops together. Long-Bailey is keeping very much in the vein of the same language and direction that lost us the last election. She seems to be being driven, not leading it. In particular her comments of saying she would address things like antisemitism, to which I wonder why she hasn’t said much about it before, she has been at the top table all this time. Thornbury has had a pretty mediocre week, not good or bad. However, with retirement of Phillips, then I think Thornbury would be the main worry for Boris on a Wednesday.
So my current preference looks like this:
- Long Bailey
The deputy race is very much overshadowed but the forerunner is still Angela Rayner. On the face of it, I have no problem with that. But I am still disappointed by the engagement I had with her team over the party position on Home Education. That said, I think she would provide a good partnership to any leader, and in many ways, I think she is in the wrong race. But the more I read and see, I think Alln Khan would be brilliant too. her insights would be fantastic.
I also think the idea of a female Leader/Deputy combo would be the ultimate response to the long criticism about Labour being the party of equality and not having a female leader. There is no reason at all why we couldn’t have a female leader and deputy, the talent and capability is there.
So my current intention looks like:
- Allin Khan
Finally, a quick well done to the GMB, the GoT artwork they have put out regarding their nomination of Lisa Nandy was brilliant.