Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ed Miliband wins crucial backing from Neil Kinnock in Labour leadership race.

I'm never sure how useful endorsements are from former leaders, especially from former leaders who have never won an election, but Neil Kinnock has stepped up to endorse Ed Miliband rather than his brother who the bookies have placed out in front.

In many ways I am not surprised at Kinnock's choice, as Ed Miliband is markedly less New Labour than his brother David. David is very much a Blairite and, although he seeks to shun the labels of Brownite and Blairite, he only does so because he is very much associated with Blair, the Iraq war, and all that that implies.

The former party's leader's decision to go public is a serious setback to the former foreign secretary, who is seen by some in the party as lacking the common touch and to be too closely associated with the Tony Blair era.

Kinnock, who stepped down after Labour's election loss in 1992, remains highly influential on the centre-left of the party and among the unions, which will have a third of the votes in the contest.

He says Labour has "an embarrassment of riches" from which to choose Gordon Brown's successor, in the form of four ex-cabinet ministers, the two Milibands, Ed Balls, the former children's secretary, and Andy Burnham, the former health secretary. He does not believe the leftwingers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, who are also standing, are serious contenders.

Kinnock describes the younger Miliband as a "modern democratic socialist because he has got strong values and he is very practical". He says he has an ability to "lift" and "inspire" people, but firmly rejects any comparison with Blair's gift for communication.

"Tony Blair is a method actor and there is no thespian in Ed Miliband, so it's that much more natural, much less affected as it were."

He adds: "I say that in an affectionate way for Tony because the thespian arts have got their place as well, but Ed is not an actor so it is not the Blair thing, it is just Ed, you know."

Ed Miliband has stated that Labour has lost it's way with Britain's working class and that the Iraq war led to a catastrophic loss of trust in Labour; all of which in undeniable.

He strikes me as easily the Miliband brother who is most in touch with my values, but I am not yet convinced that he is the guy who will bring us electoral success.

And, at the end of the day, that's what we are looking for. An endorsement from Kinnock simply reminds us of a time when the leader said all the right things but couldn't pull off victory.

We really don't want to go back to that. Ed Miliband is saying most of the right things, but he has yet to land that sucker punch which tells us that he is the guy to take us forward.

Click here for full article.

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