Harman, the members’ choice

The result of the Deputy Leadership elections yesterday was a bit of surprise. Unity over at the Ministry of Truth has an in depth analysis of the round by round results. Personally I would not know how to set a ‘left / right’ divide among the contenders, only Blears, Cruddas and Harman were really identifiably from any particular ‘wing’.

Basically, Harman was ahead in the members’ section all of the way through. Johnson was leading the MPs & MEPs section all of the way through too, and Cruddas topped the Union and Affiliates section until he was eliminated.

Seeing as consistent complaints from some members are that the ‘leadership’ overrule them, and that the unions often are used to override the constituency votes at Conference, it’s interesting to note that in this case the Members got their way over the MPs, MEPs, Unions and Affiliates.

Personally I’d rather Cruddas had won, although he did creditably, leading in 1st preferences and coming third overall. As the votes that transferred from him to Harman in the last round included mine, I can’t complain too much I suppose. She performed pretty well in the hustings and appeared to move away from the “vote for me, I’m a woman” stance towards picking up on Cruddas’ agenda.

And what does Harman do? Straight away she mentions Crawley in her acceptance speech (where Blears appeared to have forgotten about us in her lists of SE marginals).

With Brown announcing that the Deputy Leader would take on the ‘Party Chair’ role in cabinet (a particular bugbear of mine was that none of the preceding Chairs were ever elected by anyone other than Tony Blair), I’m feeling pretty positive about the outcome.

For Hazel Blears this was a disaster. Despite coming 3rd in the MPs & MEPs section on first preferences, she was some way behind overall and so was the first eliminated. As the current ‘Party Chair’, she’s also already lost her cabinet post into the bargain. Not a good result for the Blairites there.

The Tories are also starting to wobble – the latest polls are going against them – but today they had a good chance to make capital out of Europe. Here’s hoping that they don’t end up tearing themselves up over the EU again (well, not hoping too much?).

[Update: Tory MP defects to Labour, with Europe as a prime reason. What else should I wish for?

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