Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ed Balls' Warning Against Soap is Timely

Ed Balls has made another telling intervention into the Labour Leadership debate; he has warned against the campaign descending into a Milliband Soap. I warned against this in an earlier piece; however the Soapishness cannot be laid at the Millibands’ feet. (I avoid any temptation to go down a road of feet-washing analogies.) Only today I heard their discussion of policy described as ‘increasingly acrimonious’. The media’s own meddlesome contribution to a leadership debate that continues to be dignified - at least from the contestants.

Let’s look at the recent reality - rather than the media take on it. Ed M talks about reconnecting with traditional voters and members - many of whose support we have lost, according to him. David B warns that we must not lose support of the wealthier voters and members, who were crucial to the Labour victories.

They’re both, of course, correct. Not only do we need the support of traditional Labour voters and members; these are the very people the Labour party is dedicated to support. We believe in equality of opportunity, decent living and working conditions, mutual respect. But it’s also true that without the support of many votes from elsewhere we cannot take office - and we are powerless when out of office. But the people David M speaks about are people who solidly, slightly or fleetingly share our beliefs. The two brothers, while focusing their arguments differently would both want the same thing; we can’t afford to have one without the other.

So Mandelson made an intervention. So what? He was only saying something that needed to be said - and it was spoken moderately; and he is entitled to his view and to express it in this debate. Now Kinnock has intervened; fair enough. I’m sorry that he has personalised his argument in the way he has but so what? He stated a long time ago he was supporting Ed M.

The leadership debate teeters on the brink of losing its dignity. And the fault is in the reporting . . . but that’s what the media wants, I suppose. Since the ConDem love-in continues through August - but how far into September, I wonder? - they need to pursue their self-seeking agenda somehow. So I’m glad the leadership campaign moves towards a conclusion, for it has been far too long. And my phones and SMS may be just a little less busy!

No comments:

Post a Comment