The 2010 Labour Leadership race was from the start a two-horse race. Not because of any great difference in quality between the 5 contenders, but constrained by the media narrative; which Milliband would win? Personally, I would have liked the contest to have been broadened to include the Alan Johnsons, John Denhams, Harriet Harmans or even Jon Crudas’s of the party, but for whatever reason we were presented with the 5 choices.
Given that the race was so clearly between the two brothers but the voting system was AV, really all that mattered was how you listed one brother against the other. My choice was Ed rather than David but I wasn’t bowled over by either and I certainly didn’t want to give either the sort of endorsement we gave to Blair those years ago that allowed him to be contemptuous of cabinet government, party democracy and ultimately international law. That latter point was the sole reason for placing Diane Abbott as no1 on the ballot paper. She’d scare me to death as leader and had there been any danger of her winning, I wouldn’t have given her the vote, but she did actively oppose the war in Iraq and that mattered. I’m glad I gave her my no1 choice.
My second choice went to Ed Balls. Ed had ran by miles the best campaign in the contest, the only candidate to argue coherently for a winning argument on the deficit. The shame is that he is condemned for the bullying and ruthless behaviour of those in the Gordon Brown camp. He deserved his position as highest non-Miliband in the ultimate result. A strong vote in this election shows to him that he has a place at the top of our party; and if he can lose his reputation for the dark arts, this might not be his last chance at leadership.
My third choice went to Andy Burnham.
My fourth went to Ed Miliband – There is a great deal of potential in Ed and it is my view that at this stage he is the only one who could win the next election for Labour. (I just don’t think David could project the emotions and character as well as Ed can). I don’t buy the idea that there’s much between them politically. David Miliband has handled himself incredibly well since the result.
Had it been first past the post, I would have voted for Ed Milliband.
I’m pleased with the overall winner, but not happy with the manner of the win. Elections should be fair and free from interference. There’s no point in pretending the behaviour of a single union hasn’t left a bad taste. We don’t know how much that influence made a difference; and we can’t rerun the whole thing, but GMB haven’t left themselves smelling of roses.