George Parker, Political Editor of the Financial Times, under the heading “Labour war erupts as Blairites turn on Ed Miliband” foresees a bitter ideological battle for the party leadership:
“Lord Mandelson (Ed: firmly allied with the ‘mega-rich’) said Mr Miliband and his supporters had made a ‘terrible mistake’ in abandoning the New Labour centre ground and undertaking ‘a giant political experiment’ that went badly wrong”.
Ed’s ‘vanity project’? He dared to express some care for the millions in need rather than the already prosperous
Philip Collins, a former Blair speech writer and columnist, tweeted that it would take more than five years to repair the damage of the defeat: “That is the price of the Ed vanity project. He lost two elections in one night.”
The trade union bogeyman
Lord Mandelson said the trade unions that helped to deliver victory for Ed Miliband in the party’s 2010 leadership contest could do the same again by enrolling Labour supporting union members to vote in the 2015 contest. “We cannot open ourselves up to the sort of abuse and inappropriate influence that the trade unions waded in with in our leadership election in 2010,” he said, failing to mention the type of influence he favours.
Bookmakers William Hill 2-1 favourite self declared candidate Chuka Umunna abandons the underprivileged millions
Since Mr Miliband announced his resignation on Friday, Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary, has signalled his intention to run, echoing the Blairite theme that Mr Miliband had abandoned the centre ground. “For middle-income voters there was not enough of an aspirational offer there,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.
Parker ends: “Labour’s national executive committee will meet this week to draw up a timetable for the leadership contest. A shorter timetable might benefit Mr Burnham, who already has a great deal of party support, while other less well-known candidates would prefer a contest that runs into the autumn”.
The FT’s editor surmises that the burst of activity by the Blairites was intended to stall any potential momentum behind Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, who is ‘a firm favourite with public sector unions’. Corporate shudder . . .
Media appearances present Andy Burnham as sincere, caring and capable – a socialist in the tradition of those who brought in the welfare state and national health service – though his record with regard to reported Stafford Hospital failures gives pause for thought.
If elected, he could work well with the progressive, humane SNP as long as he rejects the mainstream tradition of welcoming – even courting – advantageous corporate overtures. Untrammelled by corporate fetters, such a government could make decisions in the interests of electors rather than corporations.