The polls closed on the Labour leadership election earlier today. I voted last week, before the Question Time special was aired (which I barely watched anyway).
I didn’t choose how to vote by reading all the tittle-tattle in the press. I tried to ignore all the guff about personalities and concentrate on my own opinion. I also tried not to ‘game’ it by trying to think about who would be a more favourable candidate in the media or who the Tories claimed to be scared of. Whoever wins will have to face a hostile press and the Tories anyway.
But I did skim their manifestos as provided to Harry Barnes and his Dronfield Blather site. Well done to Harry for getting all five candidates to submit something over the summer. The only one of the five who I saw talk was Andy Burnham who visited Rugby at the end of August. So, how did I vote (if you care, of course)?
- Andy Burnham
- Ed Milliband
- David Milliband
- Diane Abbott
And why? Well, first of all I don’t like Ed Balls for leader at all. And as he was my number 5, there’s actually no point putting his name on the list at all (because you can only ever have your first four preferences count with five candidates in the AV system). Diane Abbott is probably the one I’d have most in common with in terms of policy, but I think she’d be divisive and when I’ve seen her she comes across to me as arrogant.
Really, it was about which Milliband I liked best. Ed is pitching slightly to the left, David is suggesting we should stay the course. For me, the problem for the last 8-9 years is that we’ve become stagnated on the New Labour path, and we need a refresh. So I plumped for Milliband Beta over Milliband Alpha.
Which leaves my top choice. I don’t know if Andy Burnham can win it, and it seems unlikely, but I did want to register a vote for a non-Milliband, and of the three it is only Andy Burnham who seems to me to represent the ‘normal’ party. He does have some interesting policy ideas, and he does want to change the focus of the party so that it more devoted to the people that it was set up to represent.