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Monday 11 May 2015

Labour’s New Leader - But Who?

Already, there is a fog of mind games being played - mainly, it has to be said, outside the Labour Party - over the upcoming contest to succeed not only Mil The Younger, but ultimately his deputy Harriet Harman as well. This is important: whoever takes these roles will, as with Miliband and Ms Harman, come under instant and continuous assault from the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate.
Exit Ed

The attempts to caricature, pigeonhole, smear and ridicule will be at least as bad as for the Miliband leadership: right now, 80% of the press are hooting and baying in their support of Young Dave and his jolly good chaps, egging them on to pass legislation that satisfies the requirements of Themselves Personally Now. Anyone so much as suggesting that they have an alternative offer is likely to receive less than favourable treatment.
The mind games have already been deployed following the decision of Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis that he will not put his name forward for the Labour leadership. The Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn has Tweeted “Dan Jarvis is ruling himself out of Labour leadership (ht @chrisshipitv). Big sigh of relief in No10”. Like Cameron is going to be bothered, with his Cabinet appointments to finish off.

Who, then, might lead Labour? Andy Burnham is vastly experienced. He’s a sound bloke, and, as an Everton season ticket holder, well used to smiling in the face of adversity. I like Andy. Many Labour supporters do, too. But if he becomes leader, or deputy leader, the Mail and Sun will start up the Mid Staffs smears, and all we will hear are allegations that he personally killed 1,200 vulnerable patients (totally untrue, but that is politics).
Chuka Umunna

Then there is Yvette Cooper. She is also hugely experienced, but she, too, carries the baggage of previous Labour Governments. Yes, she’s a good media performer, and a sharp debater, but the more I think over her candidature, the more it comes back that, as with Burnham, her presence will be drowned out by press abuse, not least because she is married to right-wing hate figure “Auguste” Balls.
Liz Kendall (and not Rachel Reeves)

That leaves two significant hopefuls: Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, and Streatham’s Chuka Umunna. Both would be instantly monstered by the Mail for not being Married With Children; Ms Kendall would in addition be smeared as a “luvvie” by proxy as her partner Greg Davies is a comedian. Umunna would get borderline racism, in the same way as Miliband was constantly on the receiving end of borderline antisemitism.

But both of them are tough enough operators to project their character, and their message, through the fog of media unpleasantness. This matters; if anyone in the Labour Party thinks that a new leader would get a less rough ride than Miliband, they have got another think coming. Cameron is the only leader between the Tory-supporting press and a land in which they cease to be able to carry on their Wild West Show as before.

So that’s my ninepence worth - it’s down to Chuka and Liz. No pressure, guys.


Anonymous said...

There's also a good chance of the new Labour leader will have to face Johnson as Tory PM at the next election. I expect Cameron will step aside in three and a half years.

Roy said...

What do you mean "borderline" racism? It will be blatant and full bloodied.

rob said...

Given the right wing press penchant for not adhering to the principles of reporting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth if it doesn't fit the agenda I believe Labour should the person best fit for purpose. To be a Labour shadow minister I imagine you would have to have the hide of a rhinoceros to survive.

My own personal choice FWIW would be Yvette Cooper is has shown to be a feisty character even whilst being the wife of. She seems to be more than capable of handling the pressure and Cameron can't afford so easily to be seen to be patronising to a woman opposition leader as he has been in the past to women members on both sides of the divide.

Rivo said...

The Mail have already started on Chuka Umunna - There was an article on MailOnline doing the rounds on Twitter yesterday about how he's a member of an "exclusive, invitation-only social media website for the super-rich" and goes clubbing at fancy clubs in Miami

PhilD said...

Umunna is a pretty divisive figure within the party. Not least because he's PWC's Labour hatchet man. Him praising Jim Murphy and the Scottish Labour campaign on Friday shows a serious lack of judgement as well.
Kendall lacks depth, presence, ability and support; she's a non-starter.
Which leaves the two heavyweights, Cooper and Burnham. Both are first class operators, there's nothing really between them. Myself, I'd just back Burnham, he comes across as warmer and more human, and thus more electable but it's very very close.

Dave Eyre said...

Shame about Dan Jarvis.

Anonymous said...

Labour are now where the Tories were after Major. Rudderless with no natural leader in the wings.

I would be very surprised if whoever gets it this time will be leader by 2020.

SteveB said...

Umunna has a big problem today. Alan Sugar has announced he has resigned from the party due to it's "anti-business policies" - and guess who was Shadow Business Spokesman...?

Alan Johnson is still a name to consider, loads of experience and his support for AV will leave the Daily Express struggling to complain without upsetting UKIP! But he'll be 70 at the next election so would he want to go for PM then? Even as an interim to sort out the mess he's got to be worth a try.

Ian Young said...

I've nothing against Dan Jarvis personally as I've never heard of him until two days ago but the narrative built up around that the press won't attack him because he was one of our boys is ludicrous:
Photoshop his face onto Captain Mainwaring- “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Jarvis”
Or Corporal Jones: “Don't panic- Jarvis poll rating plummets”
How about Sgt Bilko- “Army con man's budget figures don't add up”

He also looks like another ex-squaddie politician John Kerry who lost to a posh boy draft dodger.