The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Quick Thoughts On Labour’s Newsnight Debate

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 16, 2010 @ 21:48

The Contenders

I was intending to write a slightly more in-depth post about my assessment of the candidates based on last night’s Newsnight, but real paying work put paid to all that. Instead, a short summary…

Andy Burnham

Why was he there? Believe it or not, Andy is actually the biggest “no change” candidate there is. Offered nothing different. Offered the same old Blairite New Labour shit with a new face. Tried to spin everything as if his Northern roots gave him some amazing insight on the decline of the Labour Party than all the other candidates. Sorry, Bambi, but they don’t. Lightweight and pointless.

Diane Abbott

Makes a very good argument, but her body language is very off-putting. Pushed all the right buttons as to being the candidate that most represents a clean break for the party, and will definitely win a lot of the left wing votes. Came across reasonably polished; perhaps all those years on This Week have helped her media performance. Remarkably played the experience card; not what you’d expect from a proper lefty. Just don’t think there is sufficient votes in there to win. A welcome addition to the race though.

Ed Balls

Combative, dogmatic and shameless. Washed his hands resolutely of Gordon Brown, kept arguing with the others. Seems to have very sharp elbows. Is clearly going to bash hard on the immigration line, reckons that will win him back the core Labour vote. Unfortunately, the core Labour vote are not going to vote in this election. Most of them have either died or left the party. Not quite the candidate I was expecting though. Is going to be worth watching.

Ed Miliband

Surprisingly poor. My tip at the start of the year for the Labour leadership seems to be running aground. Held his own amidst the very crowded field, but at times made himself look a bit too bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Had some good points to make, and clearly wants to be a bit different, but there was nothing of substance in there to justify the nice words. May be just a little too innocent and naive to take on the bruising Ed Balls, the argumentative Diane Abbott and the forceful…

David Miliband

Authoritative, commanding and resolute. But too geeky and robotic. He’s in command of himself, his demeanour and the arguments, but he feels too much like the perfect technocrat. A steady pair of hands is not what Labour needs in Opposition. It needs a street brawler. He was never beaten in the discourse, but is too stiff and formal. Unable to relax, unable to take a joke. Worse: is unable to make a joke. Just doesn’t feel human enough. Could well win, but it won’t be any good for Labour.


No one really won last night. And, after all, this is going to bore us all summer long, so it’s just as well. But Andy Burnham clearly showed he was out of his depth, and Ed Miliband will have to loosen up and get more rough and tumble or he will crash and burn in the same way.

Meanwhile, David Miliband, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott did themselves no harm at all. This is a crucial arena, as it is what we’re going to see in all general elections from now on. They need to be able to do well here, and they showed glimpses of that.

A promising start…


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