Tuesday 18 May 2010

Cruddas does want to run ... for deputy

As Anthony Painter points out, highlighting this in Cruddas' official statement:

“I am determined to play a full role in the re-invigoration of a party that stands as the best hope for the people of this country. But to put it simply, that role of rebuilding and energising the party is a job that doesn’t have a vacancy.”

Painter had previously blogged that Labour should have a leadership and deputy contest, calling for Harriet Harman to run for both posts, as acting leader Margaret Beckett did in 1994:

“The party conference should be a hustings conference, not an election conference as the Conservatives did so successfully in 2005. And there should be a Deputy Leadership contest too. This is not just about the leadership, it’s about party renewal too – so a Deputy Leadership contest becomes necessary. And yes, there absolutely should be a female candidate in both the leadership and deputy leadership races, and Harriet Harman – with her record on equalities and increasing the diversity of our MPs in Parliament – should stand as a strong candidate in both.”

I agree with that. Harman should open up a contest for deputy leader, so that the party can choose a deputy team. It would be much better if she would run and open up what risks being a too narrow leadership race too.

A Harman-Cruddas deputy contest focused on mobilising Labour as a campaigning force would energise the party. I think Harman would probably prevail.

Many would also be reluctant to end up with an all-male leadership ticket. That probably makes a good case for having a leadership triumvirate in future, with two deputy leaders, so that - whatever the gender of the leader - the party is guaranteed gender diversity in its leadership team.

Another good option would be to have a Party Chair, elected by Labour members.


Harry Barnes said...

Now that we have been rushed into a leadership contest, there is an urgent need for those MPs who see themselves as democratic socialists (of whatever hue) to get together at a meeting in the Commons to agree on a candidate for the leadership election. It is the main way that a candidate can be found in the time available who just might be able cobble together the necessary 33 nominees. Otherwise we are in danger of having a series of hustings in which the candidates all share similar limited horizons and we finish up with a series of non-debates where we are expected judge who is likely to be the best celebrity. It is only if we can have serious discussions about values, ideas and programmes that those exercising votes will benefit. I don't for a minute believe that a democratic socialist can win such a contest. But their voice should be heard. Otherwise, the best that some of us will be able to do is to organise a campaign for absentions - explaining why we are doing this.

Sunder Katwala said...

I agree with Harry.

It would be good to have a candidate who was not in the government and from the left, to extend the debate, even with no chance of winning it. If they were a few short on the nominations, I would like to see a few MPs from the centre of the party lending a nomination to get somebody in the race, even if their vote is going elsewhere.

aliqot said...

As someone who is not a party member, just a voter (Labour, even this time), I think that an open contest with lots of discussion of principles and not just pragmatism, is necessary. It could even get some of us disillusioned old cynics on board.
Good ideas for a genuine 'left' candidate.