I have written previously about the Labour leadership election (click here) which covered the background. Now events have moved on. Some candidates have already failed. Others have shifted their brand to makes themselves more eligible.
First the failures. Chuka Umunna dropped out very mysteriously, a bit like Harold Wilson’s resignation. There is lots of speculation why but it looks very much like he was unhappy with what the searchlight of investigation into himself would reveal. Tristram Hunt failed to gain traction. People say he is too posh for Labour, hardly likely when they embraced Viscount Stansgate so closely to their hearts. More likely he just doesn’t belong in any internal Labour tribe. Jeremy Corbyn from the foaming mouthed, swivel eyed, nutty left is just too obviously unelectable in a General Election so hasn’t attract enough backers thus far. But, obviously, grassroots Labour loves him. Mary Creagh is anonymous and has failed to mount a campaign.
Which leaves us with three candidates who currently have enough support.
Andy Burnham. The Unite controlled, Ed Miliband continuity candidate. Expect more of the same policies and attitudes that lost Labour the last election. He carries the baggage of Mid Staffs and PFI so will always be a very easy target. Also he is a Scouser so nobody in constituencies south the Crewe will vote for him.
Yvette Cooper (Mrs Ed Balls). Some say she is a machine politician. An apparatchik who will say or do anything to gain power. Just blowing with the prevailing wind with no cogent thoughts of her own. An opportunist. So she comes over as Burnham light. Certainly she will never take hard decisions or face uncomfortable truths. And as part of the metropolitan elite of career politicians she is completely out of step with Labour’s core electorate, just as Ed Miliband was.
Liz Kendall. A social democrat, which means that she is hated by the unions and the rabid left. More brains than the other two candidates put together. Telling the frank truth of Labour’s past failings and explaining what the road is to future electoral success. The only candidate who might even vaguely worry the Conservatives. But woefully badly media trained, thus losing the telegenic competition. She has the advantage of being the only non leftie candidate, so her vote won’t be split. She has the disadvantage of being cleverer and having better ideas than Len McCluskey, so the trade unions will go to war against her.
The real world fact is that these days the trade unions own Labour. Especially Unite, as Red Len explicitly makes clear. Len controls most Labour MPs and very many ordinary members of the party. So his choice will become leader. Len hasn’t learned the lessons of why Labour failed so abysmally in the General Election, so he will pick a candidate to lead Labour to further defeat. Which is fantastic for Great Britain.
The social democrats within Labour are very unhappy with this. They realise that the lefty unions are making them unelectable. And they hate being told what to do by a union thug. So the possibility of a split in the Labour party is very real. Especially as they could join the rump of what remains of the LibDems to instantly create a credible political force.