Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It ain't worth a bucket of spit..

I see in the news over the weekend that Hazel Blears has entered the race to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party - making her the sixth candidate. While it's not been top of my priority list, I have been mulling over who I should support.

I've pretty much decided that I won't be supporting Peter Hain, even though he's the only candidate who would actually know my name. We all know the polls are showing the next election will be close, and I just don't buy what seems to be his theory that getting out the core vote will be enough for victory. Sad to say that under first-past-the-post, the only way for Labour to win a General Election is to convince both the floating voter and the core voter to back you, and Peter's only speaking to the heartland.

I've also pretty much decided not to vote for Harriet Harman or Hilary Benn. I've got a lot of time for Harriet, and she can claim a lot of credit for pushing childcare and family-friendly policies up the political agenda. However, I think she comes across as a bit insipid on tele and was really crap talking about regional government just before the referendum (some of us have long memories). I could have supported Hilary Benn, but his campaign has been dire and I have no idea why he's standing,. For example, his website is full of boring departmental speeches that look like they have been written by civil servants.

So that leaves Alan Johnson, John Cruddas or Hazel Blears. I like the fact that Blears and Johnson have based their campaign in Salford and Leeds respectively, that Cruddas is taking seriously the woefully weak state of local parties and that Blears made a pitch for the 'aspirational voter' (which I take to mean the floating voter). I also like the fact that each of them seem normal, and after seeing and hearing so-called bright young things on the radio and tele recently I think that's vital. Jim Murphy, Pat McFadden, et al - each of whom impressive in many ways but sometimes give the impression that they've just woken up from a coma.

So I'm not going to decide just yet, but have a look through their websites and mull it over for a little while longer.

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At 2:21 pm, Blogger Jamie said...

Who says civil servants can't write speeches?

At 2:51 pm, Blogger Anthony Adams said...

As you know I don't have a vote in the leadership election - but as a floating voter I'll say how I see it....

Hazel Blears - really comes across as smug. All politicians answer the question they want to on TV; but with her it's a lot more obvious - consequently she just looks and sounds like a Blairite robot. No appeal at all.

Peter Hain - does seem a bit unctuous to me. However that ridiculous attack on city bonuses going to charity (although they are very high) made me think of the 1970s incomes policies and old fashioned envy.
Plus personality failure on Andrew Marr just looked like sour grapes.

Hillary Benn - had his campaign been launched? Was not aware of that and doesn't seem to be getting on the media enough, so probably struggling to get enough votes for nomination?

Harriet Harman - I like her, want to listen to her when she speaks and does come across as being reasonable and open. Not aware of her side-swipe on regional devolution, but that wouldn't be a red line issue for me anyway.

Alan Johnson - what on earth was he wearing those sunglasses for? Like seeing your dad dancing at family weddings - just looks sad. Used car salesman or estate agent comes to mind when I see him on the TV. Is he really the best candidate you have to offer - seems to be average.

John Cruddas - well - probably not an awful lot in common with him, but I have read what he says about the white working class in East London and on that point I have to say I agree with him on that. Probably has limited appeal.

Ed Balls - aka - Gordons robot. Really not appealing - uses too much political and policy jargon - have noticed he spends all his time attacking the opposition and not defending his own policies - is that what we have to look forward to?

Not aware of the other two you mention.

Of the above - Harriet Harman would be the one that appeals to me the most.

Have looked out alot for David Miliband and although he was coming across as a nodding dog a year ago, he is improving and I would say that he would help balance the ticket the most. I think they need someone that can add a bit of youth, although he is another political junky.

Personally Brown has no appeal to me at all - he looks grumpy and I have no respect for him given he's failed to put the knife into Blair's back even though he had the chance. His talking up of the economy is starting to sound too hollow.

Having said all that, Labour are probably about even with the Tories for me. The Liberals are simply a home for protest and tactical votes.

I am interested in Cameron - he certainly sounds like he's offering something new, something I want to hear but it's too early in the cycle for him to actually commit. We need to wait to see over the next year I think.

Have also seen a couple of devolved debates on BBC Parliament and I have to say I am very disappointed in the standard of debate in the Scottish parliament - it's just a shouting match. It's like two drunk men arguing over an empty bottle of beer - no value to it at all.

The Welsh Assembly is much better - it seems far more practical and sensible. They seem to concentrate on delivery of policy a bit more.


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