Why the Labour leadership battle has been like adding a bath bomb to dish water

Bath Bomb
This week has livened up the dishwater that was the Labour leadership contest.
Photo: Philippa Willitts

This Labour leadership contest is getting rather exciting and colourful all of a sudden. Well, comparatively so anyway. Because up until last week, the so-called ‘contest’ had been as dull as dishwater – to call upon a cliche.

The candidates who have been nominated to save the Labour party from its election blues are Liz Kendall, Jeremy Corbyn, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burham. Together, they have looked like a four-pack of kitchen scrubbers. You know the ones: yellow and green, useful for cleaning but not all that exciting.

Well, that all changed last week when a poll revealed that the previously-thought outsider, Jeremy Corbyn, was in the lead. That news sparked wild-reaction from the other campaign teams.

Journalists were soon briefed about the prospect of Liz Kendall pulling out of the contest so that Jeremy Corbyn, the left wing candidate, could be more easily defeated. Liz has since faced a barrage of questions from journalists about her future as a candidate – thus deflecting away from her arguments on policy.

This was a very clever tactic from whoever issued the briefing. From a neutral perspective though, I don’t think anybody should pull out of the race. All four candidates made it this far because Labour MPs voted for them. They have every right to remain.

Though, to be quite frank, if anyone should pull out then it should be Yvette Cooper. She’s been the personification of dishwater so far. (Sorry Yvette!) She’s had nothing original to say at all which is very disappointing for someone who seems honest, capable and decent. However, she doesn’t seem like someone who can galvanise mass support in elections; something Labour desperately need.

I don’t, however, subscribe to the view that neither of the women in the contest are capable leaders. These were comments made by Lord Falconer – a backer of Andy Burnham. His words forced the two ladies in question to come out fighting and talk tough.

Some have construed his remarks as sexist. I don’t agree. I think Lord Falconer was merely saying that neither of the female candidates were good enough. Not that they aren’t good enough BECAUSE they’re women. Although, I may be proved wrong on that one. Only he knows.

In any case, I happen to think the two female candidates would be better than the men. I seem to be in a minority though.

And finally, our esteemed former Prime Minister crawled out of the woodwork to have his say … again! That’s right Tony ‘peace envoy’ Blair livened up the debate – like a bath bomb in dishwater – and duly attacked the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Mr Blair rather crudely said that supporters of Corbyn needed a heart transplant.

Jokingly, I remark that Blair cited the wrong organ. Rather it being the brain that needed transplanting.

Anyway, this came as little surprise as we sympathise with poor Tony who obviously doesn’t want his beloved centrist New Labour to jolt off to the left.

And if they do, which the latest opinion poll seems to suggest will be the case, then don’t expect to see a Labour government until at least 2025. And who knows what may have happened by then? We could be on “Taken 7”, Donald Trump could’ve finished his tenure as President of the United States, and Nancy Cameron (David Cameron’s daughter, once lost in a pub) could be running for the Cabinet.

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