I am now officially bored of the Labour leadership contest. There’s been some tedious squabbling on Twitter between the two Mili camps, and the mainstream media is determined to make it into a tale of sibling rivalry.
Having said that, I’m still following a lot of what’s going on with a view to finally settling my second preference. Thought David was surprisingly good on Stephen Nolan show last night, on Five Live. Not surprisingly because he isn’t usually a good media performer – he’s obviously very smooth, very capable – but because he reacted to very annoying questioning with just the right mix of self-deprecating humour, sarcasm and the occasional flash of tetchiness. Didn’t catch much of Andy Burnham, who was on beforehand, and, as with Ed M the night before, found myself distracted by just how annoying, not to mention politically illiterate, Nolan was. It’s one thing trying to trip politicians up, but you have to have done your homework first and actually have a point to your questioning, rather than just being smug and irritating.
One thing which I don’t think anyone has asked candidates about yet is whether any of them has started work yet on the Leader’s speech, which traditionally takes place on the Tuesday of Conference. Blair and Brown used to spend months in preparation for this, and, as Alistair Campbell’s diaries show, there were still frantic all-night sittings during the opening days of Conference, trying to nail the right tone and content.
The winner will know on the Saturday afternoon whether they’ve won, and then presumably they’ll have to do a little victory speech, and then embark on the round of Conference receptions, trying not to say exactly the same thing at each one, and remember that’s he’s at the Yorkshire region reception not the South West, and all the names of the regional MPs he has to namecheck. (Somewhat easier in the Southwest than in Yorkshire). Plus loads of media, e.g. Marr and Boulton on the Sunday morning, and so on and so on.
David M has an advantage I suppose in that Douglas Alexander, who was Gordon’s speechwriter and was roped in to help Blair too on occasions, is leading his campaign team. He may well already have been set to work…
Addendum… Have decided this needs musical accompaniment: