Labour’s leadership race turns sour…
One of the dismaying tendencies over the last couple of weeks has been the slow creep of negativity into the Labour leadership campaign. Diane Abbott’s campaign has always distinguished itself by its particular brand of negativity but now, with still just under a month to go, it seems to be creeping into all the campaigns. Witness this story in the Daily Mail yesterday; an obvious plant by the elder Miliband’s campaign. Ed has clarified his position but I still have to say his actual remarks clearly left him open to the charge levelled against him. However, if your going to plant a story you really should be more subtle, using an MP that by the articles own admission is supporting your chief rival defiantly lacks a certain elegance.
Meanwhile, Politics Home, directs us to a story behind The Times pay-wall about the elder Miliband ‘outrageously’ using a government grace-and-favour mansion to entertain Labour donors who ‘went on to donate to his campaign’. It’s probably not surprising that some people who donated to Labour went onto donate to his leadership campaign; the implication is to lend weight to the allegations he is ‘buying the leadership’. Where this story originated from is anybody guess except it was most likely from one of the rival camps. My personal view is that the growing negativity is a product of the length of the contest, something I initially welcomed but now see as a bad thing. All the candidates are running out of positive things to say and in what is a tight race between the two leading contenders that is fermenting negative feeling.
Luckily, since it’s the silly season and people are not paying much attention to politics it is unlikely to present too much of a long-term problem. However, we should be watchful because the last thing this Party needs is a return to the permanent state of clandestine warfare that scarred the Blair/Brown years. Once the leadership result is declared; whoever wins, has a duty to the Party to put their personally wounded feelings behind them and make sure their supporting camp does the same.