A Laboured process

To paraphrase what Frankie Boyle said in The Guardian last week, group photographs of the four Labour leadership candidates  look like the staffroom of an inner city bog standard comprehensive which has just been handed a particularly damming Ofsted report.

Having been humiliated in May’s General Election by both the Conservatives and the SNP, Labour now seem incapable even of winning their own leadership election. Astonishingly the campaign, which feels like it has been going on for ever, still has another week to run.

The sad reality is that none of the quartet seems like a credible Leader of the Opposition, never mind a credible Prime Minister. Be honest, can you really see Liz Kendall standing alongside the likes of Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin at any high powered international summit?

As many people have pointed out, Jeremy Corbyn has certainly run the best campaign, cleverly presenting himself as a political outsider, despite the fact that he’s been a Westminster MP for over 30 years. There is little doubt that a number of his policy ideas, such re-nationalising the railways or scrapping Trident, will appeal to many people. However some of his other proposals, withdrawing from NATO or women only train carriages, remind you of why Labour was unelectable in the 1980s.

Andy Burnham seems to have spent most of the campaign criticising the mistakes of the Blair and Brown years while conveniently forgetting that he was a member of those Government. One of the reasons why many NHS Trusts are in financial difficulties is that they are lumbered with ruinously expensive PFI contracts, many of which were introduced by Burnham when he was Health Secretary.

As for Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, neither seems to have anything particularly exciting to offer. Cooper in particular seems to have based her campaign on the fact that she is not Jeremy Corbyn.

Football’s transfer window closed this week. If political parties were run like football clubs then surely the sensible thing for Labour would be to offer a blank cheque for the services of Nicola Sturgeon.



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