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Daily View: Labour leadership

Clare Spencer | 09:44 UK time, Thursday, 15 July 2010

Commentators discuss the Labour leadership contest in the context of revelations about New Labour revealed in Peter Mandelson's memoirs.

The Telegraph editorial urges the Labour leadership candidates to learn from "Labour's ghastly soap opera":

Labour leadership contenders

"Lord Mandelson recalls a conversation with that party wiseacre, Sir Gerald Kaufman, who tells him: 'Gordon is what he is... we're stuck with him. What you cannot cure, you endure.' But Labour was not stuck with Mr Brown - they put him in office and then kept him there. Nobody in the Cabinet challenged him for the leadership when Mr Blair resigned, and on at least three occasions the opportunity to remove him from Number 10 was ducked. The four former Cabinet members who are now competing for the Labour leadership should look back on this period and consider how they might have behaved in the public interest, rather than their own. They will have plenty of time in opposition to reflect."

In the Independent, Steve Richards looks at what the conflicts exposed by Peter Mandelson's memoirs mean for the contenders for leadership:

"[T]he biggest lesson from this latest version of the soap opera is that running a party from the very top becomes as destructively intense as one in which virtually every member is consulted in advance on what should be in the Budget. Sometimes, a leader and a Chancellor benefit from being compelled to consult more widely before making policy decisions...
"That does not mean giving control back to a party. Parties are too weak to acquire such assertiveness. But there must be a model for party politics that navigates between two extremes in which mad, bad and dangerous becomes an inevitable epitaph. For now New Labour leaves behind a perceived legacy that is almost as dangerous for the party's next leader as the one that a series of leaders faced after it left power in 1979."

In Guido Fawkes' blog, Paul Staines imagines a fake diary entry of Ed Balls' which would deal with Gordon Brown trying to get involved in the campaign:

"Think I have got Gordon off the idea of 'helping' with the campaign. Told him I would be proud to have him sit behind me in the chamber. It dawned on him that he wouldn't be sitting on the front bench. Pretty sure we won't see him in parliament being mocked by the Tories."

In the blog Political Betting, Henry Manson speculates that Ed Miliband is the likely winner of the leadership battle:

"David Miliband is running the most professional campaign by far and I hear whispers he may receive a valued endorsement any day soon. However unless he can considerably pull away from his brother, he will surely be reeled in once transfers kick in on all sections of the college - as the Socialist Health Associate figures so clearly demonstrate.
"Despite not knowing for certain how the big unions will fall, I believe Ed Miliband should be evens at most to be the next Labour leader. He remains the clear value bet."

Mehdi Hasan says in the New Statesman that none of the five candidates have "the vision thing":

"The scandal of this contest is not that four of the five candidates are former special advisers and ex-cabinet ministers, or that five out of five of them are Oxbridge graduates, but that all five of this quintet of well-educated, well-informed, elite and wonkish candidates have failed to come up with a Big Idea between them. Instead, there are nudges to the left or the right, on this or that issue; shifts in tone or emphasis that give them room for tactical, if not strategic, manoeuvre."

Links in full

Telegraph | Labour's ghastly soap opera
Steve Richards | Independent| Were new labour mad bad and dangerous?
Paul Staines | Guido Fawkes' blog | Ed Balls Campaign Diary*
Henry Manson | Political Betting | Henry G says EdM should be evens or tighter
Daily Mail | If only Tony Blair had stuck to his ambition of being a rock star

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