I say chaps and chaps-of-the-alternative-gender, it's time for fun and lashings of ginger beer – steady on! – as all the old gang get back together again: Ed, Ed, Anne(dy), tomboy George (short for Dave) and Token the Dog, off on a spiffing adventure to recover the lost election plans, find out where Uncle Quentin (Mr Frown) buried the secret of being popular, and unmask the nasty people-smugglers so no more of those icky immigrants can get in. Hurrah!The ASTUTE READER may have noticed a small touch of SATIRE there, and I should like to apologise if anyone was OFFENDED by the suggestion that Ms Enid Blyton's much loved famous five characters were as frighteningly-right-wing as the nonimees for next Hard Labour
The favourite to win is still creepy wearer of bum-fluff beards, Mr David Millipede, formerly Secretary of State for Denying that Britain had Anything to do with Torture, and Minister for Making Sure the Man in the Orange Jumpsuit was On that Unmarked Plane at Midnight. His campaign slogan: "Will you shut the badword up about badwordy Iraq already, bro!"
Mr Millipede has of course done his best to engineer the best possible contest for
The main PURPOSE of this leadership election… yes, I know you think it's to pick the poor sap who will be getting slapped around by Mr Balloon at the despatch box for the next five years, but it's not really, but like ALL Hard Labour Elections it's about settling some scores internally and who gives a fluff about the outside world… so the main PURPOSE of this leadership election is to stage the "fight that never was" between Lord Blairimort (in the Millipede Corner) and Mr Frown (as represented on Earth by Mr Bully Balls).
Mr Balls, formerly Secretary of State for Signing off on Millions and Millions of Pounds worth of School Building Programmes that could Never have been Paid For just so that he could Point the Finger when the Coalition Cancel Them, is a total political animal. Close friends speak of him as a kind and generous young man… who then met Mr Frown in the nineteen-nineties and turned to the DARK SIDE. Or at least they WOULD speak of him thus if he HAD any close friends. And if anyone could find their bodies. He was badly damaged by the close squeak of nearly losing his safe seat in the election, but he still remains a strong candidate because of his
What Mr Millipede knows is that the great secret of Mr Frown's powers in the Labour Government was that Lord Blairimort made a DEAL with him rather than standing against him and proving who had the real support of the Party. Which is why he sees this leadership election as the one and only chance for the Blairite and Brownite factions finally to bury the hatchet. Preferably right between Mr Bully Balls'
But it is ALSO why he went to so much trouble to make sure Ms Diane Abbott-and-Portillo was bumped over the starting line by people who are never going to vote for her. Namely himself. Never mind all this touchy-feely now Hard Labour can tell itself that it's the real Party of Diversity™ guff. THAT'S just a BONUS. His real aim is to make sure that the left of the Party have a candidate in the fight so that when he wins they can't sit on the backbenches griping about a stitch-up. I mean they WILL gripe about it, but he can slap them down, and the membership will have to buy it.
Unless, of course, she wins. Which would be hilarious. And it's not actually impossible. As a TV personality and loud-mouthed opponent of some of the NASTIER aspects of Labour policy, not to mention the only one not TAINTED as a former Government minister, she could attract a lot of support from the ordinary members who feel betrayed by thirteen years of THATCHERITE Government that they're pretty sure they never voted for. But they only count for a third of the vote. Obviously she'll never win the MPs. So it does depend on how many of the unions ballot their members.
On the down side, she doesn't really stand FOR anything. Not that that ever did Mr Balloon any harm! Her voting record is a bit of a mixed bag: for and against climate change laws, for and against I.D.iot cards, for and against transparency in Parliament, for and against powers for ministers to intervene in inquests… she seems to have voted strongly against the Iraq war, but then against an INQUIRY into the war too. It makes her look like a bit of a POPULIST, even an OPPORTUNIST. Still, supporting an elected House of Lords Club, gay rights and Europe and opposition to terrorist laws, student fees and anti-asylum seeker legislation all make her much more appealing to a Liberal voter than the boys with their draconian Government records.
I am in two minds as to whether all the gerrymandering will HELP or HINDER Mr Andy Crash-and-Burnham. On the one fluffy foot, the presence of Ms Diane seriously undermines his Unique Selling Point of being ever-so-slightly not-exactly-the-same-as the other three posh white boys; on the other fluffy foot, perhaps it gives him the chance to "come thought the middle" by playing the "I'm different but I'm not THAT different" card.
Which just leaves us with the "compromise candidate": Mr Ed Millipede, product of a TRANSPORTER ACCIDENT between Mr Ed Bully Balls and Mr Dave Millipede. Because his Cabinet experience extended only to being Secretary of State for Fluffity Bunnykins people are saying that he has the EXPERIENCE to lead without any of the getting-your-hands-dirty RESPONSIBILITY that goes with the sort of jobs like the one his brother had.
Ironically, I think he would actually be the WORST leader for Hard Labour, for precisely the reason that he would always be seeking to establish his credentials, to define himself as something OTHER than "the one who's neither Ed nor Millipede".
You can see it happening already with his nakedly "I'm to the left of big brother" promise to keep the 50% tax rate forever. He's trying to appeal to a constituency within the Hard Labour, regardless of the longer-term consequences – in a way it's like Mr Balloon courting the RIGHT of the Conservatories with his silly promise to pull out of the SENSIBLE Centre-Right Group in Europe… and look how THAT promise came back to bite him on the bum! Remember how Lord Blairimort and Mr Frown RULED OUT income tax rises – not because they expected people on higher incomes to vote for them, but because they wanted the (many more) people who ASPIRED to higher incomes to vote for them.
Ultimately, Hard Labour's problem is that all the leading candidates are basically the SAME: a bunch of Mini-Me's of either Lord Blairimort or Mr Frown or both, all equally responsible for the ghastly state that their Party left the economy and the country in.
Ms Abbott-and-Portillo may be a vacuous, opinionated, populist, tribalist, self-publicist and narcissist… but at least she's proved to be an EVIL vacuous, opinionated, populist, tribalist, self-publicist and narcissist.
And if the Coalition's Cuts make Liberals and Tories as popular as a Greek Prime Minister promising to sell the rest of the Elgin Marbles to the British Museum, she might even get to be Prime Monster!