competence or ideology?
I've had the opportunity, over the years, to campaign for many excellent Labour candidates. I have also campaigned for a few rubbish ones. The former is far more enjoyable than the latter. When it comes to internal selections or elections, therefore, I think that there are other important things apart from deciding which candidate is closest to my political views.
For example, if the leadership election is between Gordon Brown and Michael Meacher as the candidate of the Left, then I will vote for Brown without any hesitation. If Brown decided that he didn't want to have all the bother of being Leader and the election was between John Reid and Meacher, then I would cry and then vote for Reid. As the winner of my competition put it, 'even a left-wing radical Green wouldn't vote for him as he is too bonkers'.
If John McDonnell stood, and if he continued getting people back to support Labour and putting forward leftie ideas in an effective way reaching out beyond those already persuaded (as he seems to be doing at the moment), then I'd happily vote for him.
Labour activists do no one except our opponents a favour when they vote for an incompetent member of their faction over a better candidate of another internal faction. This may sound obvious, but it has always been a cause of fierce debate amongst lefties that I've known (if any Tories are reading, this doesn't apply to you - you should pick candidates who reflect what you really think and ignore any carping that they might seem to be a bit extreme by the public).
I'm really only mentioning this because I got an e-mail today saying that the only reason why I have been criticising Michael Meacher is because I fear that Meacher might be a stronger Left candidate than McDonnell and hence might pose more of a threat to my real master Gordon Brown. This most certainly is not the case and Ed Balls told me that I should deny it absolutely.