Some quick thoughts about the leadership fiasco:
*It would have been better for the Labour Party, irrespective of what people think of John McDonnell, to have had a leadership contest. It would have helped with the membership drive, it would have helped to get the different ideas that Brown and McDonnell have debated and challenged in public, and it would have meant that we had more time to show people who are interested but not obsessed with politics that we can have a comradely debate about the future. Some of McDonnell's ideas were not so good, some were great but probably unaffordable, and some are immensely popular and achievable and should be part of Brown's policy agenda.
*John McDonnell's campaign team ran a sharp and effective campaign over the past year - it didn't quite get him on the ballot paper, but a year ago it would have been utterly improbable that he'd have got so close - the strategy of campaigning at the grassroots was the correct one and also a very positive one. They are people well worth listening to when it comes to future campaigns.
*Leaving aside who ended up nominating who and why, Jon Cruddas is obviously and publicly the most left-wing of the candidates for the deputy leadership. If in future McDonnell supporters want to argue that there is a strong support in the grassroots for leftie candidates and therefore we wuz robbed, then spending the next few weeks sulking at Cruddas or backing a less left-wing candidate out of spite is silly. If the deputy leadership contest ends up something like Blears 1st, Johnson 2nd, Benn 3rd, and Cruddas 6th with a pathetic vote, then the lesson will be that New Labour has won and lefties in the party are a tiny and irrelevant minority. If Cruddas wins or gets close, then it sends the message out to the PLP and more generally that Labour ought to listen more to the unions and shift a bit leftwards. This is important both for the future direction of the party, and for the next set of elections, whether they are in 2 years' time or many more. Most of the left-wing MPs who nominated McDonnell are old and likely to retire soon, so any future challenger from the left needs to start making friends and allies now, not lashing out at the 'careerists' or 'anti-democratic traitors' or whatever.
*There is no law against running a good campaign, and no point complaining when your opponents within the party do it. Gordon Brown has run an extremely good campaign, and we need to work over the next couple of years to make sure that we can do to David Cameron what Brown did to his rivals within the party.