I watched the Question Time tonight with the five Labour leadership contenders. I’ve already done the Labour Vote Match questionnaire, which showed me that Diane Abbott should be my choice followed by Ed Miliband. So what did I think after tonight?
Ed Balls – everything I don’t like a modern Labour. Smarmy, convinced he’s always right and shows it. I never understood why so many people hated him so much until the General Election and what I’ve seen since doesn’t make it any better. He also seems to be oblivious to the need to make any cuts now. OK, so you can disagree with the scale, but trying to deny that there aren’t any we can do now is ridiculous.
Andy Burnham – I always thought he would do better than he has done. OK, so he’s a bit blindly New Labour, but he sounds sensible and he seems a bit different from the others as he wants to express an opinion (and not just because he was the only one not wearing a purple tie – Hat Tip: Jamie Matthews). Maybe it’s because he’s a Northerner, but to me he sounds more normal, or maybe it’s because he’s a Northerner that’s he’s been ignored.
Ed Miliband – from what he’s said recently he sounds like someone who genuinely might enthuse a grassroots campaigning organisation and do something a bit different. However, before this campaign I thought he came over as a New Labour automaton and I still think he comes across as too polished, except for one thing – his voice. I just find his voice a bit strange and it might soon grate – just as Tony Blair’s did.
David Miliband – people often said that it was Ed who was the lesser known but more talented brother. I never understood why as I think David Milband comes over as more normal and more Prime Ministerial. I can’t say I know much about his views compared to the others, but he does talk about building up a different type of Labour movement that isn’t all about the unions, which I think is positive. Would perhaps be my choice if I had a vote (I won’t say if I was a Labour member as I know lots of people who have had a ballot paper despite being members of other parties).
Diane Abbott – I’ve always had a soft spot for Diane Abbott despite my previously mentioned concerns. I also enjoy This Week a lot and so don’t want her to stop being on it. But of course she isn’t going to win. She’s a pleasant distraction in this campaign and is putting across a point of view that might not have been there otherwise. Too left wing for me, but speaks with some conviction at least. You wouldn’t want her running the country though.
I suppose on a programme like this when people don’t get a lot of chance to really expand on what they believe, then part of your judgement is superficial. I gave this away a bit with my comment on David Miliband, but unless there is a huge ideological divide, and given that I am not Labour anyway, you perhaps go far more with first impressions and on that, David Miliband and Andy Burnham were the winners.