Leadership Election round-up

Labour leadership leaflets

So, here we are at the final furlong. Votes close in the Labour Party Leadership Election 2010 on Wednesday (21st September) and the result is announced a week today (Saturday 25th September). Handy timetable from the Party’s website.

I voted online earlier today – for those who don’t know, they send you physical ballot papers but also codes so you can vote on a special website – and I am not telling you who I voted for. Also included were various other internal elections, of limited interest to those outside the Party. I had two leadership votes, as a member of Labour Students as well as the Party proper. I used my preferences slightly different on each – Labour Party leaders are voted in using the AV system of preferential voting. I will back whoever wins as unity is important. Also I’ve met them all and heard them all speak, and there’s only one candidate I would be seriously unhappy with as leader, and that candidate is unlikely to win.

The picture at the top of this post is of a mere fraction of the gubbins I have been sent or handed during the campaign, and doesn’t include the vast number of emails, texts and phone calls I have also received. The Party send you booklets with statements from the various candidates, the candidates’ teams post and hand out leaflets and I also signed up to several campaigns directly for more information, so it’s my own fault that I now have a shoebox full of stuff relating to this election.

Here are my past posts on the subject of this election, most recent first:

David Miliband in Horsforth
Andy Burnham in Leeds
Leeds Hustings
Meeting A Miliband (Part II)
Meeting A Miliband (Part I)

And a link to all my photographs, also most recent first. Please note that the number of photographs per candidate, quality of shot and which candidates I have had my photographs taken with only reflect the lighting conditions, distance from the candidate and access I had, rather than indicating my preferences:

Bronchia photos from Labour Party Leadership Election 2010

Channel 4’s handy guide to the candidates and election

BBC Question Time hustings with all the candidates, on iPlayer (UK only)

Roll on Saturday 25th September! If only I had the time and money to go to Conference this year…

Leeds Hustings


The Leeds Labour Women’s Event and Leadership Hustings took place last Sunday. The latter was meant to be the only women’s only hustings, but blokes complained. As they do. This was a real shame, as the women’s event it followed was really inspiring and all about trying to get women more involved in the Party etc, and yet only something like two questions were selected by women – we had to submit them in advance – and only one related to anything we had discussed. This was Laura’s question about protecting the woman’s right to choose – candidates mostly gave excellent answers, though Andy Burnham shouldn’t have said that there is an argument on scientific grounds for looking at reducing the time limit, as there isn’t.

Andy Burnham

I know he’s brave as a Catholic MP to be pro-choice at all, but if you use that argument to reduce the time limit then we may find ourselves in a situation in the future where many cannot get a termination when they need one because the number of weeks at which a baby can be born and still survive might shrink away to nearly nothing. It also panders to the religious right, not science and scientists. A shame, as other than on that issue and that of civil liberties, Andy Burnham came across extremely well on the day and we had a nice chat about Half Man Half Biscuit.

Ed Miliband

The best bit of the women’s event was the “speed dating” – in small groups, we got to quiz each candidate for about 12 minutes each. Much more productive than the large general hustings and showed a more human, humorous side to Ed Balls and David Miliband in particular. We were one of the later groups to get Diane Abbott, and I think she was a bit tired and fed up by then as she was quite abrasive – or maybe it was just her way of trying to pack as much into the short time frame that meant the friendly tone was lost.

Ed Balls
Diane Abbott

I recorded the audio of the keynote speech made by Yvette Cooper at the start of the day, introduced by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, and here is the MP3: yvette.mp3

The photographs I am using are my own photographs from the hustings. I was a couple of rows back from the front on the left hand side, but on the left was a lectern that wasn’t used and then the candidates from left to right with the chair in the middle: David, Ed M, Andy, Ed B, Diane. As a result, the photos aren’t great and slightly favour certain candidates based purely on the view I was able to get. No candidate moved to the middle to answer a question or even used the lectern for their final speech, though both Milibands moved more towards the centre for that final summing up and Ed M walked off the stage and into the crowd.

Andy Burnham

It was interesting to watch what the candidates did as the others gave their answers. Diane played incessantly with her fingers and smiled wryly a lot, but did look at whoever was speaking. Ed B looked with interest and considered what was said, as did Andy. Ed M looked straight ahead, at his hands and at the floor quite a lot, which showed that he is still not as self-aware as some. David made notes and looked on with interest. He always knows he is being watched, and moderates his behaviour accordingly – perhaps as a result of Bananagate. Diane forgets that if the “camera” is not officially on her, we can still see her.

Generally, it was a positive and interesting event. The women’s conference was exciting and engaging. As for the hustings, the candidates are starting to take on board what people are actually saying, so I think the length of the campaign is not overlong as some might have said. From hustings to hustings they are changing for the better because they are listening.

David Miliband

Read Bryony’s report for another view.