There is no doubt that Jon Cruddas is one of the most interesting and thoughtful politicians around at the moment. That’s why a growing number of people in the Labour Party have pinned their hopes on him to lead them out of current woes – or at the very least add some intellectual/ideological heft to a front bench in the near future.
His wide ranging interview with Mary Riddell in the new issue of the Fabian Review, published today, will both fuel the Cruddas love and disappoint his fan club: he displays all the characteristics that make him so appealing - that unusual mix of the human and the wonk - and then rules himself out of ever moving off the back benches. Hard to see any wriggle room here:
"The leadership doesn’t interest me. There are certain identikit characteristics which a leader has to have, and I don’t have them. I don’t have the certainty needed to do it. I couldn’t deal with it. I have a different conception of how I want to live my life.
“I literally am not interested. A lot of blokes in and around Cabinet could do it. Harriet Harman has shown real steel. There’s the Miliband lads, James Purnell and younger people...I’m not ambitious – that’s my problem. Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and David Cameron are physiologically interchangeable. They are merging into the same person – constructing a politician that fits the rubric.”
This is pretty emphatic stuff. And the honesty and modesty of his critique of himself and those politicians that reach the top might make you wish someone could change his mind.
You can read the whole thing here. The interview is part of a special issue of the Review that looks for the "Red Shoots" of intellectual recovery on the left. There has already been good coverage of our polling on constitutional reform post-expenses and Alan Johnson's renewed call for AV+ - have a look at the Fabian Review page on our website for full details of what's in the magazine.
** Listen to Jon Cruddas' podcast interview with Rachael Jolley on the Fabian website here.
PS - anyone attracted by Teal's great cartoon above can contact him on 01604 234 878 / 07885 021 217 or at firstname.lastname@example.org