Politics.co.uk Blog

Friday, 24 September 2010

Tories pray for Ed

The system used by Labour to choose its leaders is already so absurd it may as well have another layer added to it.

In addition to the votes of party members, affiliated unions and MPs being given I would suggest those of opposition parties – specifically, the Conservatives – be considered.

Ignoring minor technical difficulties, this would involve working out who the Tories don't want to be leader and knocking off votes accordingly.

It is a matter of no small significance that the senior coalition party are dreading a David Miliband victory.

They fear his New Labour rhetoric would prove extremely awkward to combat. They know David Miliband's politics are of the centrist, pragmatic, concede-and-move-on type which worked so well for Tony Blair. And we know what effect he had on the Conservatives' general election performance.

By contrast an Ed Miliband win, which bookies are getting excited about after a flood of last-minute money on the younger brother, would delight the right of British politics.

He is a more uncompromising candidate, prepared to return Labour to an earlier era which the Tories are far more comfortable with.

These views, surely, are useful in informing the choice of who should become the next leader of the opposition. If the government don't want them in, so much the better, say all champions of decent British politics.

(This article may be followed by more details about my proposals for the fifth, sixth and seventh layers of Labour leadership voting: a panel of newspaper political editors to ensure a flowery personality, the readers of the hotornot.com website and – most ridiculous of all – the general public. Pshaw!)

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