With ballot papers due to arrive on party members’ doormats from September 1, the five candidates of the Labour party leadership election have upped their game.
They have been darting about to communicate to Labour members – including 30,000 new joiners – their visions for the party and reasons why they should be its next leader. There are now just four weeks left until voting closes on September 22nd.
Diane Abbott, the candidate whose selection granted the competition a hit of two birds with one stone – her being Black and female, reiterated the working-class plight in an article for the Independent. She said:
“…it is unlikely that anyone, in any political party, is going to forget middle classes any time soon. They largely dominate the discourse and personnel of modern politics. Most newspapers are written by the middle class, for the middle class. Even when they deal with issues of concern to the poor, the writer is almost always a middle class commentator. Most metropolitan think tanks are peopled by the children of the middle class. And the number of working-class MP’s in the Labour Party has sunk to an all-time low.”
Ms Abbott says on her website that her politics are unchanging and that she wants to preserve the country’s welfare state.
The Miliband brothers have each avowed the other a no-go area for personal digs – to prevent the contest seeping into family life. Yet, in the heat of the last lengths, within the latest speeches intended to emboss his entire campaign David Miliband says he will put Labour’s modernised Clause Four into practice and that any leader other than himself would plump the cushions of opposition; remaining “naïve” and “behind the times”.
David Miliband “must be talking about someone else”; one of the other candidates, Ed Miliband told Jeremy Vine on Radio 2. The younger Miliband has opened party arms to embrace disgruntled Liberal Democrats who want to defect in protest to the blurring of a yellow identity while holding blue hands in the “love-in” coalition. Seeing the opportunity for a “once in a generation realignment of politics,”
Ed Miliband wrote in an article for the Guardian:
“I want to take my party on a journey to a different identity for the future: social democratic on economic policy, standing for redistribution and tackling inequality, liberal in our respect for individual rights.”
Andy Burnham’s “reconnecting” to do list features rewarding those who do the right thing, helping young people who do not have connections and honouring the elderly. He hails his Aspirational Socialism manifesto as a vision founded on the best of old and New Labour models – without the negatives. Mr Burnham’s campaign against “metropolitan elitism” also promises support for paid work experience and free travel for students.
Ed Balls asserts that he will be a leader who does not just listen but hears; speaks the language of the many as well as of the finance ministers; someone who is in touch, a team player and a winner. His ‘Contract with the Labour Party’ offers the party’s first ever Diversity Fund “to help all those who are under-represented get selected, including BAME groups, disabled people and those from ordinary backgrounds”.
OBV will be continuing our coverage of the race with our exclusive interviews with the leadership candidates. Log on to our YouTube channel for more.
By Davina Kirwan