I have been a member of the Labour party since 1994 when I was in the final year of my Social Work degree. I almost joined when John Smith was leader but it was Tony Blair’s ascent to the top job which inspired me to take the step. For the first time I felt genuine resonance with a political leader’s vision and thinking. His famous comment, now easily dismissed as a mere sound-bite, that a Labour government would be ‘tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’ captured my attention and made sense. It was a succinct synthesis of much of the discussions around personal and social responsibility which lay at the heart of my course.
Mainly due to Iraq and his own personal wealth, Blair is now one of the most despised political figures. Similarly to the Conservative Party following Margaret Thatcher, who also won three elections in a row, Labour has experienced an extended hangover from Blair’s spell as leader. Gordon Brown played the John Major role, struggling painfully through an economic crisis. And, as history now shows, Ed Miliband’s tenure as leader was just as painful was William Hague’s had been of the Tories after Major in the late 1990s.
At a loss
And when it comes to the election for the new Labour leader, I am at a complete loss about who to vote for.
I can see why some people are getting excited about Jeremy Corbyn because he stands so clearly for something different and distinctive. And I can see that he could do well for Labour in Scotland – but all I can see happening is that Labour become less electable than ever. Labour may end up being purer in its principles but simply be reduced to a party of protest.
But the problem is that none of the other candidates are impressing me. They may be decent and solid but at the moment, I just can’t see them having what it takes to lead the party.
An R&R poll
I have to confess, that I voted for Ed Miliband at the last leadership election back in 2010. It was a decision that I came to regret very soon after making it when I realised I could not hear him speak without wincing at how poorly he communicated.
So I thought I would ask R&R readers to help me out. It won’t dictate how I vote but I am interested in your opinion. Please vote in the poll and if you have time leave a comment about who you rate and why. Who would be the best leader of the Labour Party?