Labour leadership contest devalued?

Posted on: 27 September 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

For those of you that watched the announcement of the new Labour leader on Saturday from the Manchester conference you must have been awed at the quality of acting from the candidates!

Each had been told the result 30 minutes earlier in a locked room, where no mobile phones were allowed. They came out to conference and played the part for the TV – pure, Britain's Got Talent! Ed Balls had tears in his reddened eyes (I think these were real, though), Diane Abbott was her natural self – well, she knew she had no chance of winning, and dear old Andy Burnham tried to hold on to his dignity with a wry smile. David Miliband’s face said it all – stern composure and no sign that he knew he had lost to his leftist brother, Ed. What must have been going on in his mind?

Miliband the younger, with little experience, still sporting puppy fat and already tabloid christened as ‘Red Ed’, had snatched the crown from the former Foreign Secretary's head. Those weekend visits home will never be the same again. In a rather ‘constructed’ election, all David's dreams of being Prime Minister were dashed by an antiquated voting system.

In the first three rounds of the voting, David had beaten Ed hands down. When it came to the fourth and final round a significant change occurred: the power of the union vote came into play and, with a significant amount of lobbying, emails and outbound telemarketing, Ed snatched the prize.

Where does this leave David Miliband? I would hazard a guess that he is not in a happy place. However, much the same applies to the voter. With a party leader hamstrung by promises made to the trades unions, Labour could easily find itself in opposition for two terms or more.

Ed Miliband must now build his appeal to the middle ground of voters, though, from where he’s starting, he has much work to do. Cameron and Clegg must be finding this all very amusing. The last person they wanted to fight at an election was David Miliband. The opposition's most credible and experienced candidate; undone at a stroke by the union vote.

If the Coalition policies work as well economically as is expected, we are likely to have a Tory government for the next 15 years. By this time the Labour party will have moved on and Ed Miliband will be but a memory!

NICE work if you can get it!

More nonsense from the quango, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). It is proposed that we as taxpayers pay people not to be obese. Have you ever heard such nonsense?

The next thing we will be doing is paying people not to have illegitimate children, be alcoholic and take drugs or smoke cigarettes. These ‘nutters’ argue that in the long run it will save money for the health service. I have a better idea - people who do any of the above have to pay extra for NHS care or go without treatment. This seems far more equitable to the rest of us.

Adulterers Reunited!

There is a new web site for people who want to have extra marital affairs. It’s more than likely a good idea for the company running the website but not much good for the sanctity of marriage. Imagine the surprise if you went to the site, filled in all the questions and then were matched up with your own wife or husband. This would make interesting pillow talk!

To find out more about this grubby service for the respectably deceitful, visit

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