Seeing as Tony Blair’s London booklaunches were cancelled, I went to my second and I expect last Labour leadership hustings meeting last night with the Fabian sisterhood. It was a women only meeting so questions were oriented accordingly
Highlights/ Memorable utterarnces:
– Ed Miliband pointing out that at the last election, despite a number of women in the shadow cabinet, the most prominent one of the entire campaign was Sarah Brown
– Diane Abbott answering “we haven’t got all night” in answer to the question to provide an example of Labour’s macho behaviour
– Andy Burnham replyling “I’m worried there might be two sets of expenses” to the question on whether MPs should operate by jobshare
– Ed Balls’ answer “but I’m going to be leader” when the same question was paraphrased to him by chair Mary Riddell asking if he’d jobshare the shadow chancellor role with Yvette
– David Miliband declaring in answer to a question on the Big Society “We’re socialists not statists. We have become technocrats and managers rather than value-led politicians”… a state of affairs he clearly wants to reverse.
– David Miliband declaring that he has set aside a third of the mega-bucks he has raised from his campaign coffers for a fighting fund for the next general election – whoever wins – to level the playing field all round
Since the Tribune/Howard Society hustings earlier on on in the campaign, no real clanger has been dropped/ relevation has been made in this protracted campaign but having recieved 2 sets of ballot papers (my union one not yet turned up?) I am voting for David Miliband. I believe he is quite simply the most prime ministerial of the line up on offer. His apperance early on in the campaign on “This Week” when being grilled by Andrew Neil on the US’ role in torture tactics was calm and assured, unlike some of the others who did the same slot and came over as flustered. The statements quoted above made last night were also reassuring for me. He has also shown “new politics” in action by co-opting London Citizens to run his campaign amongst community organiser principles from the grassroots up rather than via a command-control model. He has adopted a good line on the Blairite v Brown-ite question too: “Tony Blair is not on the ballot paper, Gordon Brown is not on the ballot paper. For the avoidance of doubt, Michael Foot is not on the ballot paper.” He said this at the recent Channel 4 hustings debate and on a smiliar Sky News programme too to great effect. It is time instead to move forward.
It’s said in internal Labour selections that people are more likely to vote for candidates who have visited them to solicit their votes, well David Miliband is also the only only candidate to have been round for tea chez moi, pictured on his site and latest leaflet. Ballots must be in by 22nd September so get yours in pronto if you have one (or more) and do the right thing.