Wednesday 16 June 2010

A most unlikely set of Labour heroes

Over at the New Statesman's Staggers blog, I cast a sceptical eye on the choices of their Labour political heroes offered to us by the Labour leadership candidates in last night's Newsnight hustings.

With the leadership candidates asked for a Labour political hero during the Newsnight debate, we were at least spared their tributes to Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

But what an unlikely set of personal nominations we were offered. Each of them could be seen as somewhat dissonant with the candidate's past careers or their campaign messages.

Read it here.

The chutzpah prize goes to Ed Balls for his nomination of Tony Blair, but he was far from the only one offering a rose-tinted history to answer the question.

David Miliband seemed a bit grumpy about his commendable nomination of Tony Crosland, but would need to rewrite history to make him a lost leader given how badly he flamed out when finishing sixth in 1976, having a very sweary moment when he failed to get even his acolyte Roy Hattersley's vote.

Ed Miliband nominated Saint Clem, who came very close to refusing to campaign in prose, never mind the poetry of a political movement.

And the appeal of John Smith seems to have grown quite a lot on both Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham since 1992-94.

Plaudits as Next Left's political anorak of the week will go to anybody who knows, or can source, whether Diane Abbott voted for Bryan Gould or for John Smith in 1992.

[UPDATE: Kudos to Michael Crick and the BBC research department for digging out the information that Diane Abbott did vote for John Smith, not Gould, in 1992].

1 comment:

Jane Chelliah said...

tonight we've spent a lot of time talking about how we build a better yesterday".
David Milliband superbly summed up the substance of much of the debate. A lot of time was spent dissecting the past. Though an analysis of past mistakes is important to enable progress to be made in the future something of this was lacking in the debate.