Tuesday 15 June 2010

The Fabian hustings wrap

Here's our round-up from last night's Labour leadership hustings, co-hosted by the Fabian Society, with Compass, LabourList, LeftFootForward, Progress and the Young Fabians at the Institute of Education in London.

The debate

Here are Next Left's snapshot on the night reports

on the candidates' opening lines;

their views on AV and political reform;

how foreign policy moves on after Iraq;

their top 3 regrets about the New Labour record;

how Labour improves women's representation;

why inequality matters;

and what socialism means to them.

Contenders and campaigns

Diane Abbott (@diane4leader)

Really enjoyed the hustings tonight.Others sounding more left-wing - if incrementally - by the day!

Ed Miliband (@ed_miliband): Best moment in pub after:Joni told me my Dad prevented her dropping out of uni. cos he made Marxism comprehensible

BevaniteEllie: Just back from post #Fabian hustings pub drinks with @edballsmp & team. We're buzzing. Think hall saw real Ed.

The chair

Gaby Hinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) Mulling over tonight's hustings. I chaired so remain sternly neutral but... will say this; it changed mind both about who should win & where votes might go.

Audience comments on twitter

KateGroucott: Hustings was fascinating. My views definitely changed on several candidates and they all had good, even great, moments

Seb Dance: Thought all candidates for #Labourleader were v impressive tonight

mrcolmquinn: #labourleader impressed by Burnham and, hate to say it, Balls as well at hustings. Ed M still slightly in front for me though, just.

Rachel_Maycock: Really impressed with the talent of all candidates in this #LabourLeader hustings debate. Great points on carers/childcare/campaigning".

RachCarrell: In sum: Lovely collegiate feel, solid performances, no runaway winner. Surreally ignoring econ crisis outside these walls #labourleader

RobChesworth: @edballsmp awesome at #Fabian hustings tonight, brilliant closing remarks. Never heard anyone talk about social justice like that.

RobChesworth: "Never been more energised by the Labour party than I am now. Great evening at #fabian event. Great leadership contenders".

selina_chen: excellent hustings tonight. Strong performances by all candidates. #labourleader

Ayse_Veli: @thefabians Tonights Hustings was by far the best...really really enjoyed it & now I'm glad I joined.

s_farrington: Enjoyed #labourleader hustings. @DMiliband excellent. @edballsmp good.

One_Society: #labourleader hustings: big q on income inequality. Loving this. If you playing our #labourleader debatebingo, then lots of squares being crossed off in rapid succession.

Mousavi90k: Andy Burnham is just so human and down to earth! gotta love him. not for #labourleader though

Politicana: Pleased to hear Andy Burnham defending war in Iraq tonght at @thefabians husting. It was the right thing to do. "

tomcallow: @DMiliband was almost certain to get my second preference vote. Now not convinced. Diane Abbott has been more compelling.

deanhanley: Loving Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham at tonight's Fabian Society hustings

jonnymedland: Lots of discussion on gender equality - Ed Miliband goes furthest on cabinet representation but loads of ideas on culture too #labourleader

On the blogs

Carl Raincoat at Raincoat Optimism

The best we got was a question from the audience on what measure the candidates wish they could delete from Labour’s past, which worryingly turned out to be the question all candidates had some of their finest moments with (with the exception of, again, David Miliband, who was clearly keen on being the voice of the past, New Labour legacy intact).

It was Andy Burnham, and not Dianne Abbott, who played the divider tonight, to the surprise of many people I have spoken to. He was the one laying himself open and making friends and enemies along the way, whether on the clergy in the Lords (which he opposes, but will explain his reasons in confession for, by his own jesty admission), to selection in schools to his own class and upbringing in Manchester.

Abbott was playing it far more pluralistic than many had anticipated, being personable and less antagonistic than many would hope (leaving that space for Burham).

Working Class Tory praises Andy Burnham (on Iraq) and David Miliband (on Socialism) for "refusing to play shamelessly to the audience" and taking "stands that might damage them".

Mark Ferguson on LabourList thinks that two Eds impressed: "In terms of who was most impressive tonight, Ed Miliband was the most fluent and convincing, and certainly gave the most passionate performance I've seen from him in this campaign. His opening speech was comfortably the strongest, and his desire to make Greens “ex-greens” by winning over green voters was very popular in the hall. However his closing statement was a little flat in contrast with the other candidates - especially Ed Balls who gave a powerful closer focused on child poverty and his will to win".

Alex Smith of LabourList on the mea culpa question of Labour's mistakes in office: "An ambush, perhaps, but dealt with adroitly by the five candidates, initially dumbstruck and then crawling over each other to claim part of the collective responsibilty for the worst of a bad bunch. Somehow, though, none was too explicitly self-critical, of course".

* We'll add more blog reaction as it comes in during the day: if you are blogging with reaction the event, do please add links in the comments.

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