The retro farce
Today we will finally see an end to the Miliblair and Milibrown show. Or rather, to the first act thereof. And I think I’ve decided which of the candidates I’d vote for, if anyone asked me.
There are two considerations: who is the best (or least bad) candidate in policy terms, and who will do the best job of keeping the current government on its toes. For if our recent history teaches us anything, it’s that absence of opposition is a Bad Thing. That may or may not be less critical when the government is itself a coalition, but I suspect that if Labour fall apart, there’s less pressure on the awkward squads of both governing parties, and more risk of it all falling apart.
Let’s start by eliminating the most unspeakable. Balls’s newly-discovered debt denial shows either a mindblowing level of economic illiteracy, or a cynical opportunism to make Macchiavelli blush. I suspect the latter: he’s positioning himself to do maximum damage to the country while not in power, and to try again for the leadership when the leader currently being elected falls. Soundbite Miliblair has yet to demonstrate the level of corruption of his Guru and Master, but he sounds every bit the devoted disciple, and his behaviour in government was deeply scary.
His little brother seems to be concentrating on catching the mood of the union militants, a direction that threatens a repeat of the lack-of-opposition of the 1980s. I wouldn’t rule out his using that platform more constructively once elected, but neither would I rule out his taking a path of maximum damage, albeit less blatently than Balls.
Ms Abbott and Mr Burnham seem to me the more interesting candidates: the ones who speak their minds. Honesty may be problematic in a politician, but I respect it even when I don’t agree with them, and those two seem to show more than their rivals. Abbott is a mix of certifiable loony and sometimes-interesting, and her strongest point is that she’s not Ms Harfwit. Burnham too is a mix, but in his case the ideas could perhaps make a real contribution to the national debate. Specifically, he’s putting forward (albeit timidly) an option that’s neither pure denial nor ever more tax on our already-grossly-overtaxed hard-earned to reduce public-sector cuts. His tax ideas, with which I partially agree, deserve to enter mainstream debate.
So I think I’d be inclined to vote Burnham as a most-interesting wildcard choice. With serious reservations about his track record, but less than Miliblair. Failing that, Milibrown, then just hope like **** he uses his union platform constructively. Just as well I don’t get a vote, perhaps – though if I had that responsibility, I’d’ve done a bit more research into the candidates.