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Why has Owen Smith MP lost all momentum in his leadership campaign?

owen losing momentum














It’s totally clear to me now having spoken to several MPs who had not voted for Jeremy Corbyn originally, who then said, “Believe me we wanted to make it work!”, those MPs had no intention of ‘making it work’ whatsoever. They invariably incite the most petty and vindictive examples of where it is ‘impossible’ to work with Corbyn’s office, such as not picking up the phone over lunchtime. We got a whiff of this over the entirely over the top way Seema Malhotra reacted to somebody from estates using a keycard to inspect an office one would customarily have vacated weeks before on resignation. We also got a whiff of this with the way Wes Streeting attacked Shami Chakrabarti for become a member of the House of Lords, together with full innuendo of the ‘apparent bias’ without explaining the full test given by the Porter v Magill case (i.e. how it would look to a reasonable observer KNOWING ALL THE FACTS.)


The smear was even more excruciating to watch on BBC News 24 as it implied that somebody of Chakrabarti’s standing in the legal profession (wiki education and training here) would not have been aware of what the ‘apparent bias’ test isbut somebody with minimal legal training like Wes Streeting would (wiki education and training here). Instead of focusing on why heads of publicity in David Cameron’s office had received high honours for doing their job, including stylist work for SamCam, Streeting went on a tirade against a lawyer held in extremely high esteem for her impartiality, professionalism and legalistic advocacy. The proper arena for these smears for Streeting is the Bar Standards Board, if he really feels there is a case to answer.

If there is a genuine complaint over the independence and impartiality of the work done by Chakrabarti, it has to be done through the correct channels not by smear on TV news (which is exactly the same means of communication used to discredit Corbyn.) The most relevant clause in the current code of conduct for barristers from their code of conduct is 301.


Overall, it’s dreadfully easy to pick up a picture of the sheer degree of nonsense with which John McDonnell MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP have had to deal with. These #Labour171 are not professional MPs, but the majority of Labour MPs are nasty, vindictive idiots who need the publicity of TV studios to make their vacuous post corporate life publicity work.

But this TV interview from the HardTalk series with Lord Mandelson from 3 November 2015 is very revealing. Bear in mind that the leadership election result had only been disclosed publicly on Saturday 12 September 2015.

And the disarray of Mandelson’s answers explain fully why Owen Smith MP’s campaign is in utter disarray, even if you discount complete own goals like standing up for female lib while claiming simultaneously, albeit in a half-jokey way (according to him), to “‘smash’ Theresa May back on her heels”. Owen Smith MP came later to defend the need for promoting gender equality within Labour, having deprived the only female candidate in the leadership contest from going in competition with Jeremy Corbyn MP.

You see, I can’t find anyone at all – and I’ve searched pretty comprehensively – any Owen Smith MP supporter who can explain at all how Owen and Jeremy materially and substantially diverge on policy. Apart from Trident, which could be offered as a legitimate answer (but bear in mind Corbyn got a huge applause for arguing that Trident was not the most appropriate defence spend given current problems), there are no massive policy differences. Jeremy Corbyn MP has maintained that he is a reluctant Remainer in the European Union, seeing a strong case for certain legislative protection from EU laws including human rights and a good working relationship with people in Europe. Corbyn managed to get about 10% more of his party members to vote Remain than Cameron – Corbyn did more media appearances rallying for remain than the rest of the shadow cabinet put together.  But it is worth noting that there is a substantial number of members of the party, who completely unlike the parliamentary party, wanted ‘out’ on Europe, and like Frank Field MP think a second #Brexit vote would serve no utility. I lost count of the number of times Owen said, “I agree with Jeremy“, in the hustings from Cardiff.

In the HardTalk interview, Lord Mandelson trots a complete argument for why the current leadership bid by Owen Smith is a complete nonsense, and a waste of everybody’s time, when Labour MPs could and should have been concentrating on the Conservatives. Mandelson talks about “my party”, when in fact it is “our party”, and then describes Jeremy Corbyn as “far left” when his policies, which apply to a world of 2016 not 1983, on getting rid of PFI, tackling the lack of social housing, tackling aggressive tax avoidance, stopping rampant privatisation of the NHS, producing a national investment bank to build up infrastructure in harmony with many European countries, re-nationalising the rail industry, are policies which are hard to disagree with. These are in fact policies which successors to New Labour could have produced themselves between 2010-2016 if they were so desperate to produce their own successor. Even Blairites concede that they need to win in the world of 2016 not 1997 now. Mandelson says critically of the Blairites “but in fairness to Corbyn, the modernisers had failed to modernise themselves.”

So Mandelson refers to poor poll ratings of Jeremy Corbyn MP – but without any reference to the general unreliability of polls (take for example their uselessness in the EU referendum or the 2015 general election). Or, for that matter, he does not refer to the pretty dreadful poll ratings of Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband. Mandelson views Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership chances entirely through the prism of a ‘beauty contest’, when it is clear that Mandelson is ‘no oil painting’ himself. Mandelson trots out the need for electability, the Hilary Benn ‘winning’ argument, when Labour were annihilated in Scotland in 2015 (down from 41 MPs to 1 MP), disasters in 2010 and 2015, and a declining % of the vote for Labour from 2005 roughly onwards. Mandelson appears to resent that “the doors were thrown open to new members”, all of whom were vetted, and did contain many people returning from Labour having been totally pissed off with Labour during the Blair years. Mandelson refers to the other three candidates in the 2015 leadership election as “business as usual”, when that is precisely what Owen Smith MP appears like. Owen Smith MP flip flops from one position to the next, whether it’s on PFI or 100% state ownership, and there is absolutely no consistency in his policies from week to week.

Mandelson said of Corbyn in September 2015:

“Nobody will replace him, though, until he demonstrates to the party his unelectability at the polls. In this sense, the public will decide Labour’s future and it would be wrong to try and force this issue from within before the public have moved to a clear verdict.”

Mandelson then describes Corbyn as “not the election winning person he presents himself as he pretends to be” – but there’s the rub. Corbyn critics were desperate for Corbyn to put a foot wrong, but this opportunity did not present itself in the Labour or Bristol mayoralty elections or in 4 by-elections (which Labour all won including increasing its share of the vote in three). Mandelson continues “we have to be ready..with serious new fresh policy ideas to win support from in the party and then in the country“. But there has been no alternative vision from Corbyn critics – if they really want to be ‘electable’, is it, for example, their plan not to do something about the rip-off PFI, just ignore aggressive tax avoidance, think the debacle in Southern Rail is ok, do nothing about rip off energy bills, do nothing about the disaster in social housing, or to promote yet further privatisation of NHS and social care? Would that do it for Mandelson and his ideological-terrorist sympathisers?

Without a hint of irony, Mandelson continues:

“We’re not going to win this time with brilliant public relations. We need a renewal of policies”.

“We need to organise not only in our grassroots but also in communities where we want to win”.


So – let’s get this straight – Corbyn has done what he’s been done, i.e. produced a ‘national debate’, and mobilised new supporters and members of Labour, and he’s being criticised for this?

Mandelson then goes onto sneer at “quantitative easing”, in the context of a wacko Corbynomics policy, when the Bank of England announced a further boost of quantitative easing only this week as described in the Guardian:

“Plans to pump an additional £60bn in electronic cash into the economy to buy government bonds, extending the existing quantitative easing (QE) programme to £435bn in total”


Mandelson admits, “we ceased to be exciting”.

I think it’s worse than that – despite early successes such as the Human Rights Act and the national minimum wage – and especially after Chilcot – New Labour has become a very toxic brand, so much so Ed Miliband MP couldn’t wait to wash his hands clean of it (whilst signing up to ‘austerity lite’ and having few exciting visionary policies of himself.)

And months and months of a time period where Mandelson and colleagues could’ve planned for ‘their moment’, it is quite incredible that no credible candidates have been stumped up at this point in time. It could be that good candidates like Lisa Nandy MP or Sir Keir Starmer MP, if we believe the Labour PLP at face value, would rather Labour MPs to succumb to their fate as per the Battle of the Somme, rather than put themselves forward and genuinely ‘save Labour’. Mandelson continues with the meme, ‘we have to decide as to whether we want to be a party of government rather than a party of protest‘, when it is perfectly clear Mandelson and his merry band of ideological-terrrorist sympathisers are getting off on the high of being a Blairite party of protest within the Labour Party.

So Owen Smith MP is likely to lose – badly.

A pity really – despite being a Pfizer ex-lobbyist etc. I think he’s quite a fun and pleasant person. But there were always two stalking horses in this particular contest.

And will the Labour MPs then unify under Corbyn?

Will they hell…




Labour leadership pains: It’s not where you’ve come from, it’s where you’re going to



I must admit that I was taken aback when Gordon Brown quoted a former ‘successful’ Labour Prime Minister thus, “And, in Harold Wilson’s words, Labour is “a moral crusade or it is nothing”. I wasn’t so much amazed that Brown had decided to name drop a Labour Prime Minister who was well known for making policy up on the hoof, and possibly more into style than substance, but the fact that Brown had quoted one of Tony Benn’s favourite quotes ‘of Harold’. To understand the general approach of Jeremy Corbyn, you could do no worse possibly than to watch the film ‘Last Will and Testament’, where like Brown, Benn sets out the historical events which have inspired his quest for social justice. Brown’s penultimate line of conclusion was “And follow what Bevan called that decent instinct to do something that will help the lives of people most in need”, but I think that it is through looking that through this prism you can begin to understand the pain at the lack of efficacy of Labour’s so-called ‘opposition’. For example, Labour has never committed to reversing the destruction of the English legal aid system and the network of English law centres, claiming that such plans would not be possible given austerity. Austerity itself is the reason the NHS is being driven to do ‘more for less’, except the whole world and his dog knows that hospitals get by with the basic of staff on on-call cover, and idea of stretching out existing resources into a seven day way is laughable for most professionals within the service. It is therefore easy for me to understand the immediate popularity of Jeremy Corbyn; that he is defying the neoliberal doctrine, ‘there is no alternative’, with an alternative to austerity. This indeed is not an unelectable formula – look at Scotland (even though one can rightly moot whether SNP policies as actually legislated are particularly left wing). One can argue about whether Corbynomics will work, but the sheer defiance of the ‘there is no money tree’ with quantitative easing is worth raising an eyebrow at least. I have no idea whether Corbynomics is pro-inflationary, but then again no one else unless he or she happens to be an astrologer.


I went up to the Labour Party Conference in 2010 in Manchester. I got to Manchester Piccadilly precisely at the time that they were announcing the Labour Party’s new leader – who was Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband had defied the critics, and had come from nowhere to ‘seal the deal’. This was to much happiness of those who at that stage hated the Blairite wing of the party. I as such do not hate Blairism in the same way that I do not hate any corporates. I do not see Blairism as a social movement, but as a group of some extremely bright people but also some rather sanctimonious disparate people who can see no wrong in Tony Blair. I think many people use Chilcot as an excuse to hate Blair personally rather than a reason, but then again whether the UK went into war legally is a serious issue. I was greeted accidentally by Michael Meacher MP as I entered the ground floor of a pub in 2010 for the Socialist Societies meeting. I asked Michael if he was happy at Ed Miliband’s election: he said, “Not happy – ecstatic.” But he then added, “We’ve got our party back.” And I was to hear this phrase often during conference. And yet he struck me for the remainder of his term as leader that Ed Miliband was never a socialist, but a social democrat. That’s why I thought that the attacks of Red Ed were deeply fraudulent – but clearly not as ridiculous as the bacon butty jibes. When Gordon Brown referred continually to ‘Labour values’, this inevitably was a ‘fist pump’ moment for many, but it is essential to deconstruct whether Labour values, as espoused say by Keir Hardie, have been at the heart of the private finance initiative, where you end up paying for state assets through unconscionable loan agreements, or whether it is particularly Labour values to flog off the State’s infrastructure which you’ve invested in for decades. Lord Mandelson was one of the principal architects of the Royal Mail privatisation, so was it really possible for Labour to ‘oppose’ this when the time came? Is it a Labour value to remain relatively supine about the relative lack of nurses’ wages for many?


What has been incredible for me has been the sheer vitriol aimed at Jeremy Corbyn MP. Representing a different part of North London to the one I’m in, I ‘get’ his views on social housing. When you consider that the Mayor of London, currently Boris Johnson, does not have qualms about selling ‘new buys’ in Paris, making property prices unaffordable for residents of London, you get his point. When you also realise that without any forms of rent controls, landlords are regularly receiving state subsidy to provide accommodation at a huge profit, you see where Corbyn is coming from. However, there are substantial problems with Corbyn’s pitch in various areas, such as possibly exiting NATO. I remain unconvinced whether he really wants the Labour Party to stay in Europe. We all know his ‘friend and mentor’, as indeed he has called him himself, Tony Benn said ‘No Non Nein’ in the original EU referendum. Benn’s socialist reasoning was that he didn’t want everything to be run from unelected people in Brussels, which saw his logical reasoning go into an unholy alliance with the late Enoch Powell’s. But there is a substantial grouping within the Labour Party who do not see Europe as the great competitive nirvana that multinational corporates espousing free movement of capital and labour can do. They see it as a body which does not protect adequately workers’ rights. Corbyn may wish to take the EU negotiations from first principles with Labour. The attack on Labour during the Scottish referendum was that it was indistinguishable from the Tories – the scope for history repeating itself with the EU referendum is there too.


Harriet Harman MP was adamant that Labour should not be opposing for opposing’s sake, and that Labour had to have a moral drive and logic to its opposition. And yet it is Labour which perpetually gives the impression of being utterly toothless and taking it regardless. Its response to the Budget was pretty unmemorable, apart from Chris Leslie for all the wrong reasons. Andy Burnham MP somehow seems to arrived at losing from the clutches of victory, in no way helped by Harman’s stance on the Welfare Reform Bill. Burnham in ‘abstaining’ instead of giving an impression of firm opposition in the form of a ‘reasoned amendment’ which accounted for ‘collective responsibility’ looked instead as if he didn’t give a shit about the devastating effect of welfare cuts, including for the disabled community. Prof Germaine Greer in BBC’s Any Questions unsurprisingly therefore arrived at the conclusion that she expected HM’s ‘Loyal Opposition’ to oppose. There is clearly a feeling now that Labour should not oppose in a long-winged convoluted fashion. It is pretty hard to escape the conclusion that if you want to afford the NHS (not fraudulently articulated fraudulently in neoliberal language as ‘unsustainable’), you have to be willing to pay for it through general taxation. And yet Andy Burnham wants to set up a ‘Beveridge style Commission’ to arrive at this answer. His reasoning for this was presumably because his cherished National Health and Care Service, a great idea which would do much to make a ‘parity a reality’ (one of Burnham’s slogans before he railed against slogans), did not receive its democratic mandate. But there are vast swathes of NHS policy which seemingly do not operate on the basis of a democratic mandate, take for example the suggestion from McKinsey’s of £2 bn or so efficiency savings, or PFI. TTIP is yet another policy arm which, to give him credit, Burnham has been to Europe to oppose. Labour was not in government during the negotiations, but there is a general feeling that Labour did much to put in place the market infrastructure which made subsequent privatisation of NHS relatively easy.


clunking fist

(Cartoon by @BarkerCartoons)


As for Gordon Brown’s ‘Labour values’. where was tub thumbing Brown given the precipitous and disastrous privatisation of social care? It is a honest and settled view of many that social care funding is now on its knee, having not been ring fenced for the last few years. This simple fact makes Cameron’s view that England is the best place to live with dementia frankly delusional. A lot of reasoning behind Labour’s stance has been that it’s been ‘austerity lite’. Whilst socialism does need lots of money to succeed, or as the critics say ‘someone else’s money’, the state infrastructure does need a modicum of investment – even if the return of the investment is later to the City of London, as will inevitably occur when CrossRail or HS3 are flogged off. Tuition fees is another golden example of where a universal right  to higher education has been marred with a requirement of an ability to pay. They say that somebody can easily land himself or herself a £60K debt bill at the end of university education, and I can well believe that. I am grateful for my university education, but equally I understand that university education is not the ‘be all and end all’ (for example we might wish to extend legal apprenticeships). I don’t like the A level system, as it’s my opinion it reflects more how well you’ve been taught than anything else, but there is so much mileage to be gained from my ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ arguments.


I do not happen to agree with the ‘savage’ attacks from the BBC in framing Gordon Brown’s speech as a devastating attack on Jeremy Corbyn MP. For example, Brown quoted Mandela in reference to the notion of the need for hope especially after years ‘in the wilderness’. My interpretation of what Brown was trying to say, albeit with a twang of ‘Don’t blame me if it all goes horribly wrong’, was that any Labour leader must receive the popular vote to get elected in the first place; but once elected it will require a huge effort from all sides to make Government work. I think this is particularly the case for Jeremy Corbyn. At one level, the popularity for him is not the same as left populism, it might be argued, and that the echo chamber Corbynmania and packed out lecture halls are not representative of the Labour voting public at large. We’ve been there before with a heightened sense of optimism, for example Milifandom. You don’t have to go far back in time to get constructive knowledge of polls which have been totally wrong – it could be all the ‘hard entryists’ into Labour do not vote for Corbyn at all, though I have no idea what a million Toby Youngs or Dan Hodges are like. There is a huge risk that Labour is about to enter an extended period of mockery, but you have to remember that Labour had relatively little hope of winning 2020 in any form anyway. Tony Blair is to blame in my opinion definitely for not having done the ‘succession planning’ properly; or you can argue that he is in fact an incredibly successful politician for having pulled the ladder up from underneath him. I think Blair has left in many areas a very formidable legacy as a social democrat, for example LBGT equality, public services reform, devolution, national minimum wage, but the essential problem with all of these policy planks is that we remain utterly clueless about the destination of travel. But the same can be said of Gaitskell or Wilson. But not Attlee – and therein lies some of the trouble.  And as Nye Bevan said, “It’s not where you’ve come from, it’s where you’re going to” – or “If you remain in the middle of the road, you’re bound to get runover.”

For Diane Abbott MP for running a brilliant campaign

I think Diane Abbott has run the best, most principled, campaign of the whole leadership contest.

I don’t think Britain will be fit to elect a black Prime Minister for several decades.

Anyway, that doesn’t reflect on Diane’s abilities or principles in my opinion.

Ed Miliband's (non-personal) letter to me: Time for change!

Dear Shibley,

I am writing to you for the final time before the end of this campaign to ask for your help to win the next general election — because only change can win.

I believe we have won the argument for change in this election. Every day of this campaign we have been winning support from people who recognise that Labour must turn the page on the past if we are to reach out to those we lost and win again. But we can take nothing for granted. In these last few days, your help could make all the difference. I hope you’ll do everything you can in these next 48 hours.

** By phoning 30 members in your area it could make a real difference to the result. Please reply to this email and tell us where you are in the country — then we will send you a list of undecided voters in your region for you to speak to. **

I am more convinced than ever of the scale of change we need. And I believe more strongly than ever that I am the best person to reconnect with the millions of voters we lost and take us back to power.

I have said throughout this campaign that we cannot win again without first understanding why we lost.

We heard on the doorsteps that many felt we no longer spoke to the challenges of people’s lives and their hopes and aspirations for the future. People are struggling to make ends meet and fearful for their jobs. They are working harder for longer for less. They worry about the future facing their children — the debts they will take on just to get an education and whether they’ll ever afford a place of their own.

After the 1992 election and our fourth general election defeat, Tony Blair said the problem was not that we had changed but that we hadn’t changed enough. I don’t want to wake up after the next general election and have to debate why we didn’t change enough to win.

I believe I am the best person to build a new winning majority for Labour — to reconnect with our lost voters, and to reach out to the millions of Lib Dem voters in the centre of British politics that Nick Clegg has deserted by his lurch to the right.

This country cannot afford even one term of this Coalition. As leader I will work every hour of every day to remove this government so that we can once again provide the leadership this country needs.

** Please reply to this email now and we’ll be in touch with a list of 30 members in your area to call. You could make all the difference. **

This election is not yet decided. By supporting me you are choosing change. By choosing change, you are choosing for Labour to win again.

Thank you,

Ed Miliband

PS — If you haven’t already, please vote online by clicking here, using your unique security code on your ballot paper. Ballots close on Wednesday at 5pm, so please vote for me as your first preference now!

Lilla Bruce, worried about her bus pass, is voting for Ed, whereas Andy Coulson receives a £140,000 salary. Fairness, Mr Clegg?

Soon the reality of the spending cuts will bite, making the Andy Coulson stuff, whilst potentially illegal, pale maybe into insignificance. Lilly has her mind on other things much closer to home, away from Mr Coulson’s £140,000 tax-payer funded salary.

Lilla Bruce, 83, who lives in the North East of England, is worried about pensioners because of the bus pass and the winter fuel payments.

It turns out that areas in the North East are possibly least likely to withstand the economic shock of cuts which are proposed by the Coalition, new research suggests.

I will vote for David Miliband if we move on from New Labour

I know that the title sounds incredibly petty, but many including the Mirror wish him to become leader, and the Tories apparently terrified for him. I’m seeing Ed at Haverstock Hill School on Sunday in one of his last hustings, but if this is true I will take it seriously.

Dear Shibley,

I respect both Tony and Gordon deeply. But their time has passed. Their names do not appear on the leadership ballots. And now we need to stop their achievements being sidelined and their failings holding us back.

I’m sick and tired of the caricature that this leadership election is a choice between rejecting or retaining New Labour. It does a disservice to all of the candidates and, even worse, a disservice to the thousands of members who’ve been participating in this contest over the last few months and working hard for years.

To those trying to trash our past and those trying to recreate it, I say enough is enough, it is time to move on.

I joined the Labour Party back in 1983 because I believed then, as I do now, that we are stronger when we stand together. And that has never been truer than when applied to our Party.

I believe that this election is about pulling together all the talents of our Party. It’s about teamwork, mutual respect – and a rejection of the tired old Westminster games of closed door briefings, posturing, attack and rebuttal. I want to change the way we do politics.

Because I want to lead a government not a gang, a movement not a machine, where honest debate can be a source of strength, not a sign of weakness.

And we do this for a simple goal – because we want Labour to be the Party that enables hard working people to achieve their aspirations.

That means building a new economy – to drive down unemployment right across Britain. It means ensuring work pays with a living wage. It requires tackling the too wide gap in life chances.

In politics, moments matter. So as your ballot papers land on your doorstep in the next few days, I humbly ask for your vote for Leader of our Party.

If you’re planning to vote for me as your first preference or second preference please let me know by clicking here

Or if you’re still undecided please click here and a member of my team will be in touch

Together we can cast the old play book aside – we can once again reflect the lives, the communities and the best hopes of the British people.

The first 100 days of the Coalition Government has shown their creed – and made our task all the more urgent. There are millions of people who need Labour to win again to deliver them a fair chance in life. And I will not let them down.

I am ready to lead. But at this crucial moment I need your support to make the Labour Party the change Britain needs.

Please vote for me as your first preference.

Thank you,

David Miliband

I will not be joining Jon this Saturday

Actually, the title of my blog post is supposed to be a pale irony about trumpeting something which is really completely insignificant. For example, Jon Cruddas is now backing Gordon Brown – stop press, he is now backing David Miliband. So courageously, in his latest e-mail to Labour Party members, Jon Cruddas writes

“There is general agreement amongst everyone that Labour has to reconnect with its voters, but what does this mean and how will we achieve it?”

And whose fault is that then? Earlier this year, Jon Cruddas was offering constructive criticism to Gordon Brown in a pleasant way worthy of a badly treated stomach ulcer. So I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the news that Jon Cruddas declared he would not run against the Miliband brothers for the party leadership. Cruddas is seen as seen as influential as a Dagenham MP, a person who has strong union backing, and who finished third in Labour’s 2007 deputy leadership contest previously on Labour’s own “Opportunity Knocks”. People were hoping that this announcement would give David Miliband a clear run at the leadership.

I strongly believe, in fact, that this is profoundly wrong. Jon Cruddas recently described David Miliband’s Keir Hardie Memorial Lecture as “the most important speech by a Labour politician for many years”. The irony is that David Miliband is sure to reward him with a cabinet seat, even though many people did not vote for him in a popular way. Sound familiar?

Actually, the ‘left wing candidate’ with whom I am most familiar, Diane Abbott, is most unlikely to get a look in once Miliband transplants Cruddas into the cabinet. I think that this is grossly unfair to Diane Abbott supporters, but obviously David Miliband cannot make a statement about this in advance of such an event happening.

And of what this lecture? David Miliband said recently of Gordon Brown, “I supported and voted for him. I agreed that we needed greater moral seriousness and less indifference to the excesses of a celebrity-drenched culture. I agreed with him when he said that we needed greater coherence as a government, particularly in relation to child poverty and equality. I agreed with him on the importance of party reform and a meaningful internationalism … I agreed that we needed a civic morality to champion civility when confronting a widespread indifference to others. But it didn’t happen. It was not just more of the same. Far from correcting them, failings – tactics, spin, high-handedness – intensified; and we lost many of our strengths – optimism born of clear strategy, bold plans for change and reform, a compelling articulation of aspiration and hope. We did not succeed in renewing ourselves in office; and the roots of that failure were deep, not recent, about procedure and openness, or lack of it, as much as policy.”

No. With friends like that, who needs enemies? I am certainly not voting for the Miliband-Cruddas dream ticket for the reasons explained. Incidentally, I shall be voting for any one but the Milibands instead.

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