17 May 2010

Jon is outstanding... but he ain't standing

So Jon Cruddas has ruled himself out of the Labour leadership.

This is a pity in many ways: I don't know if Jon could have won if he'd stood, or even if he would have been a good leader if he'd won. But for many years he's been offering the most coherent critique of New Labour from the soft left. That's the level of insight Labour needs if whoever wins this election is going to turn things around to be able to win next time round. And we haven't seen it yet from other candidates, potential or actual.

I'd hoped that Ed Miliband would get to that level of incisiveness at the Fabian conference last weekend; but he didn't really get there, which was a disappointment. David Miliband's campaign "re-launch" (what, one week in?) also falls a bit flat for me. And the thinness of the candidate field so far is a little worrying. With Jon out of the running, and no other obvious left candidate, we're not going to have the kind of excitement that the Clarke-Redwood ticket, for example, brought to the Tory campaign of 1997 (or was it 2001? I can't remember). This could be a deadly dull Labour leadership campaign - which would be a real shame. OK so we don't want a repeat of the 1981 Labour deputy leadership contest (and at least there's very little chance of a party split) but it would be great if someone in the contest could display a little passion. At this rate we'll end up drafting in Liam Fox to give the pretenders lessons...


Van Patten said...

I'm disappointed, as he seems to at least be someone who actually knows something about working class issues, and his record against the BNP is second to none. MicroBlair or MicroBlair II would be a bigger disaster than the lete Michael Foot. Despite their record as the least competent administration in recorded British history (at least since Roman times), the Condems show little sign of grasping the necessary nettles on the size of the state, the need for carefully directed spending towards infrastructure (rather than Political correctness) or anything else so it is all to play for next time round. (could be next year as things stand)

giroscoper said...

I think it's a bit unfair to characterise Lib-Con as the "least competent administration in recorded British history" given that they've only been in office one week and they haven't really done anything yet.