John Woodcock, who is openly supporting Liz Kendall for leader, has said the following regarding Cooper and Burnham:
“If those who seek to take his place think the route to victory in the leadership contest is Continuity Miliband with a different accent or gender, or with a higher level of emotional connection, they will consign Labour to another defeat. If that happens, Britain will face another decade of Tory government from here, not just another five years.”
Ouch. The fact that everyone word the Rt Hon Woodcock said above was 100% true does not change the fact that it was also a pretty in your face statement. This is the problem with internal leadership battles: it’s not like when you slag off the Tory you run against in your constituency. All of these people are in the same party together. They will need to work together again at some point in the very near future. Which is why, even though the temptation in politics is always to win at all costs, going too far is usually worth watching out for in this type of race.
Nothing John Woodcock said falls into that extreme a category. But it’s pretty close to the edge. Essentially saying that Cooper is a female Miliband, or that Burnham is more of the same but in scouse (which I think is actually flattering to the guy, all things being equal), is very pithy stuff.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has stepped up with another gem. He’s led on a letter asking David Cameron to cancel the Greek debt. Completely. I’m serious. Here’s a snippet:
“We call on David Cameron to support the organisation of a European conference to agree debt cancellation for Greece and other countries that need it, informed by debt audits and funded by recovering money from the banks and financial speculators who were the real beneficiaries of bailouts.”
Which other countries “need it” then, Jeremy? I can think of a small island off the coast of France that’s got a hefty debt, £1.6 trillion, costing that country £43 billion every year in interest payments alone. That island, if you hadn’t worked it out yet, is Britain. Oh but we’re different I guess, because we have a first world economy. So we’re going to start treating a nation in the Eurozone like a third world banana republic then? There are bad ideas, then there are terrible ideas. And then there’s the idea of writing off Greece’s debt, which falls into a category of stupidity all on its own.
So where does the Labour leadership contest head from here then? This is actually probably as exciting as it’s going to get – some fireworks from the Kendallites, a notion from Jeremy Corbyn so silly there’s no way he could possibly top it. The candidates are too sensible (well, all of them bar Jeremy anyhow) to risk any long term party damage.