Vote early, vote often
A round up of some of what I thought were the best arguments on the deputy leadership:
Reasons for voting for Jon Cruddas
"In a section that appealed particularly, he talked about refitting old Labour prescriptions for current circumstances (and anyone who’s read the statistic in the previous paragraph about the rate of change in one London borough in 15 years will understand why the language of “repeal the Thatcherite xyz” doesn’t quite cut it). I’ve never been happy to describe myself as either old or new Labour: I can’t be old because I like equality for women and gays, having a set of policies around childcare and families, and not passing on parliamentary seats from favoured son to favoured son, despite appreciating many of the policies; I can’t be new - well, do I need to explain that one? - despite liking modern communications methods and winning elections.
So Jon Cruddas’ words were welcome. He was careful to make the distinction between old Labour solutions, and the ones that are needed now: “Our policies can’t just be a hangover from old Labour, but a new and vibrant response to a modern problem.” He talked about the trade union freedom bill, which he supports despite its silly name as a good response to the challenges of contracting out and cheap immigrant labour, calling it “an illustration of whether you can render intelligible for a modern world some of the old solutions without just hitting the rewind button”."
Reasons not to vote for Harriet Harman
"We recall her leading the effort, as Secretary of State for Social Security in 1997, to reduce the benefits payable by the State to single mothers – people dependent upon those benefits for a decent quality of life for themselves and their families – at a time when she was herself on a total salary package of over £100,000.
This was a proposal that while in Opposition in 1996 she described as “a disincentive to work, as well as being wrong” (you can hear her saying it on the BBC website at the bottom of this page here). It may be said that she argued against it privately and in Cabinet: this may even be true. If she did argue privately against it, she was not successful and is a well-meaning but crap politician; if she did not, she had clearly forgotten all her Labour values in the struggle for the advancement of her own career."
Reasons not to vote for Hazel Blears or Jon Cruddas (in the comments, not the drivel in the post itself) :
"Cruddas may well be actually left and a bit too hard lefty for my taste - and more importantly when he loses his underdog tag people will start to see his demeanour as a bit thuggish - as that's how he's come accross at the hustings I've been at. I also fear that he may not actually be as totally genuine as people make out - worked at No. 10, voted for the war as a backbencher (worse, from an anti-war perspective which I don't share, than as a member of the government for a whole range of reasons).
I wouldn't support Hazel as whilst I like her organisational message, and her style, and share many of her politics I think this is also a political and symbolic election - and electing somebody who is so apologetic about our leadership to the public is electoral madness. In much the same way as Hain, Harman, and Cruddas would be viewed as an apology for ten years of Blairism, I think Blears has made the mistake of making her election about apologising for Brownism, even without actually saying anything about it - just by her approach. I think that would be electorally embarrassing to have a deputy leader who either sent the message to the public "sorry we've been crap for 10 years" (on which Hazel is absolutely right) but also "Sorry Gordon's not tony, but i'm here so it's ok" which would be just as bad."
I voted Cruddas 1 Benn 2 Johnson 3 Harman 4 Hain 5 Blears 6 on my Labour party ballot.
I might vote the same or put Benn 1 on my Unite ballot - while I want Cruddas to get a good vote to show grassroots support in the Labour Party for the policies he's been advocating, I'm not sure I actually want him to be Deputy Leader (I think he's got the Party chair / internal organisation job sown up even if he doesn't win). Deputy Leader is also about being a public face of the Labour Party, and I think Hilary Benn will be best for that. Anyone want to persuade me either way?