A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Miliband vs Cruddas

I'm not sure the Torygraph is a very reliable source of Labour gossip but it claims No10 wants a "dream ticket" of Brown for Leader & David Miliband for Deputy Leader - with the aim of keeping Jon Cruddas out of the Deputy Leadership.

I'm relaxed about and can see the merits of the eventual result of the election being something that can be labelled up as a Blairite/Brownite dream ticket but I don't think a pre-result campaign as a "ticket" is appropriate - there are a range of good candidates and Brown - or for that matter any other leadership candidate or the current PM - should stand back from the Deputy race and let them all fight it out and let Party members have a genuine pluralistic choice. There shouldn't be a "line" on who to back for deputy from No10 or No11 and if there was it would probably backfire and hurt the annointed candidate(s).

If there was a "dream ticket" result I don't think the Blairite half of that ticket should be Miliband.

In the unlikely event that it did come down to a choice between Miliband and Cruddas I would definitely vote for Cruddas.

I think that's mainly a cultural thing.

I hear only good things about Miliband from people that know him (I've not met him) and he is clearly very able, but I worry that he is too much an "inside the beltway" Whitehall figure who went straight from No10 to Parliament. Yes Cruddas did too, but he had a pre-history before going to No10 in the party and the unions and just comes across as a more gritty, grounded character. I find Miliband too academic and theoretical and his speech to Spring Conference this year was very bland.

If Brown is leader - a hugely able and academically gifted man but not really having a "common touch" - we will need a more down-to-earth populist Deputy to balance that.

Up against smooth upper-class Tories like Cameron and Osborne we shouldn't try to copy them - we should be trying to contrast Labour with them as being led by people who have more in common with the average voter.

That's why I expressed support for Blears a couple of days ago, and why in casting second or lower preferences I will be giving them to candidates who I perceive to have the ability to connect with ordinary voters rather than splitting hairs over their exact position within the sensible end of the Labour Party - hence under the Torygraph's scenario I'd go for Cruddas over Miliband.

At 41, Miliband has a lot of time to play with as a politician and may well develop into a strong enough player to go for a top job in the not-so-distant future - but for the moment I think it's premature for him to take a run at deputy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb. This deputy leadership contest gets more interesting by the day. Milband would be crazy to get used like this. I think this now shows that Cruddas is an extremely serious contender. Just watch people start gravitating towards him!

2:45 pm, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, my main draw to Cruddas is not due to him being left or right, I think he is saying the right things on our need to re-engage with working class voters as that is where we can make most of a difference.

4:12 pm, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A surprising thing indeed, for which I can only credit you... except on the basis that I think Miliband is a cgood contender, even though I am a cruddas supporter. He is my favourite blairite because He comes up with new ideas, and they seem to be well thought out.

I'm particularly pissed off with AJ at the moment, because the faith schools idea was the best thing he's ever said, but he let it drop.

You do have that working class pro-union edge luke, so I can see why cruddas appeals.

I actually think Brown and Miliband are pretty similar... serious fabian types.

I agree that there should be no tickets. we need to get the best candidates in both positions.

(I'm erring towards Brwon and Cruddas at the mo, but I'm still not decided on the leadership).

The blairite vote is going to be split all over the place...

4:53 pm, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the moment Cruddas seems to be attracting equal suspicion from both Blairite outriders and the far left.

And that's the best recommendation he could get in my book...

6:50 pm, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm split between:-

-Was 100% decided on Alan Johnson but the faith schools stuff is drawing me back to Brown

- Cruddas who has the working class, blairite, anti racist, upholder of multiculturalism, trade union credentials that I would go for.
- Benn is incredibly good tho and would play better with the country than Cruddas who would be better at reinvigorating the party.

11:51 pm, November 01, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging from this post maybe you should change your heading to Blears versus Cruddas. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006500820,00.html An announcement in the sun no less! Just a shame for Blears that voting Labour party members actually read the mirror ;-)

10:17 am, November 02, 2006


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