Labour Leadership Contest Predictions…

After weeks of non-stop political action the voting has concluded in the Labour Leadership Contest. Or as I like to call it “The Neverending Story”. Here are my thoughts on each candidates’ chances and their future prospects in the shadows. To paraphrase Finnish rockers The Rasmus.

Diane Abbott- Abbott should finish in fifth place. She is the furthest left of the field politically (by quite a margin), plus she has spent by far the least on campaigning (reported to be less than £2000 in total). She has applied herself admirably in the televised debates, but I think her standing in contest was a move to increase her standing in party, bagging herself a Ministerial role and maybe the Labour nomination for London Mayor in 2016. Abbott will likely end up as the Shadow Secretary for Universities and Skills because of the recently implemented Shadow Cabinet female quota rule.

Andy Burnham- Young, good looking, and a candidate who comes across as semi-credible about the deficit facing the country. Three factors that mean Burnham is destined to finish a distant fourth. Burnham seems to be the second furthest to the right of field after David Miliband, stuck somewhere between Ed Balls to the left and David Miliband to the right. A great position to be a viable choice for both the Labour core voters and the wider voting public. However, his campaign has never gained momentum and he has seemed isolated (but entirely right in my opinion) on the issue of public spending cuts within the gang of five candidates. Burnham should keep his role as Shadow Health Secretary after the contest, which is arguably the hardest opposition role given the Coalition’s commitment to increase spending on the NHS in real terms over the next five years.

Ed Balls- The Joe Bugner of politics (effective in short bursts but ultimately lacks the invention to win big fights), Ed Balls has had a solid campaign which will see him finish a creditable third. His haranguing of Michael Gove over education cutbacks has shown him to be a force to be reckoned with, but not exactly what you would call a compassionate enough soul ready to lead an opposition for five years. In short, Balls lacks the ability to connect with his party and the electorate as a whole. Balls will move on from his current role after the contest, perhaps to become Shadow Home Secretary or Shadow Defence Secretary (I’d favour the latter as his combative style would query Dr. Liam Fox’s actions infinitely better than Bob Ainsworth).

Ed Miliband- The trade unions’ preferred candidate, Ed Miliband has had the greatest momentum during the campaign which will seem him finish second- just. He has provided the opportunity for Labour to elect a left leaning candidate to be it’s leader for the first time in well over twenty years. If he were to win the contest would he steer the party into political oblivion? A lot of activists from the right would say a resounding “Yes” to that statement, but I’m not so sure. The Coalition could become hugely unpopular as soon as the cuts start to take effect and a party of the left would surely pick up votes from disaffected Lib Dems and the left leaning Tories (bit of an oxymoron there I’ll admit). Ed Miliband’s endorsement by the trade unions could come back to haunt him if there are mass strikes, but I do feel he has been underestimated as potential leadership material by some in his own party and the wider media. After the contest (if he doesn’t win) I fully expect him to become Shadow Foreign Secretary, taking over from his brother.

David Miliband- The candidate who leans furthest to the right, David Miliband should become Labour Leader on September 25th. The fact it has not been a coronation is testament to his brother’s tireless campaigning and the complex AV voting system. He has performed well in the televised debates and has not pandered to the trade unions unlike his brother. If he wins, David Miliband has to quickly formulate a strategy for opposing the Coalition’s impending cuts, and it has to be a better strategy than the one being employed now (one of opposing every Coalition cut). Whether or not he can become Prime Minister will become clearer over time, my gut feeling at the moment is he and Labour are almost expecting a default General Election victory because of the unpopularity of the Coalition. Whoever leads the party, Labour are going to have to provide a coherent, powerful economic and social argument to gain power in 2015. If David Miliband doesn’t win, he may take a senior role in the Shadow Cabinet, or he may decide to bide his time on the back benches.


One Response to “Labour Leadership Contest Predictions…”

  1. I reckon Abbot will beat Burnham, and possibly Balls.

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