yay for Harriet
I think Harriet Harman winning the Deputy Leadership is good news. It means that our members are focused on winning the next election and think that we need some changes in policy direction and to acknowledge past mistakes to help us win that election.
One of Harman's key messages right from the beginning was that she was the candidate who would appeal to swing voters, and that message got through to people. Whether or not that turns out to be the case, we shall see, but I know plenty of people in Liverpool who made up their minds to vote for her because although they didn't agree with everything she was saying they thought she was best placed to appeal to middle-class southerners. I don't get the sense that most Tory Party members at the moment are so prepared to put aside their own personal views in the quest for electoral success.
The stance she took on Iraq, Trident, housing and inequality were ones which members shared (seen also in Jon Cruddas' strong showing). A few people got very excited about how she had changed her mind and abandoned her principles, but more didn't care about that and were pleased to see candidates acknowledging past mistakes. Following Jon Cruddas' policy platform may have attracted scowls and jeers from insiders, but it was the right thing to do. Cruddas was another winner out of the election campaign, and I think that he'd be better at the moment as a housing minister than as one of the main public faces of the Labour government.
She might not have been the activists' choice, but it's a good choice and one made for the right reasons. And after months of drift, we're back in the lead in the polls and things are looking up.