Polygonic

That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

The Mili-battle goes haywire

Diane Abbott suggested recently that Labour shouldn’t simply “anoint its next leader,” and it seems as though her message might be getting through. Not in the way that she perhaps intended, but in terms of affecting Labour party supporters’ perspective on the Mili-Battle.

Brother Ed is for the first time seen to be leading Brother David in the race to lead the Labour Party. Abbott’s calls for blue-sky thinking does play a role in this turn, I think, as she is someone to whom the media flocks for opinion in the leadership race, if not for seriousness regarding her own competitiveness.

But there is a real element, as well, of Brother David starting to display some very negative characteristics. Arrogance, Blairism, Condescension. It’s a simple ABC recipe for alienation.

These two Polly Toynbee interviews (15 minutes long each, but worth it: here’s David’s interview, and here’s Ed’s) are telling, with each brother highlighting some differences between them – in vision, but perhaps most crucially, in character. David is aggressive, frequently interrupting, not a little self-idolising. Ed is more responsive, thoughtful, and in many ways seems more committed to Labour ideals, if not perhaps to the principle of the party’s electability.

I see Labour’s dilemma as this: “should we be a party of principled opposition (Eddism), or a party of compromised government (Davidism)?” I suspect many Labour supporters are torn in this way – there are loads of Eddists who nevertheless consider seriously voting for David, calculating that he is the more likely victor in a 2015 slug-fest against the Tory war machine. The Tories apparently fear the same, though I find this “leak” somewhat suspect meddling from the Prime Minister….

While Eddists are convinced that Ed’s the good guy, the heartfelt intellectual with a moderated modernist vision for Labour, they’ve not yet been convinced he has the mega-watt charisma and the power to rally others to his cause. Thing is, if Eddists view David as a bit of a prick, they may now be wondering whether the whole of the country would draw the same conclusion at election time – if that suspicion snowballs, they may decide “it would be better that Labour lose for being too lefty, rather than for being too smarmy.”

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Filed under: Politics, UK, , , ,

One Response

  1. polygonic says:

    Should have added earlier, but here’s the YouGov poll of the moment – Ed’s lead comes through second-preference votes, so shouldn’t be exaggerated – but the trend in this direction still has time to either continue or retreat…

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-YouGov-LabourLeadSummary-100910.pdf

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