Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John McDonnell Wins Again

The Newsnight Debate between the five contenders (as shown above) for the Labour Leadership can be viewed here. I forced myself to watch it last night. I thought that it was poor stuff and wasn't helped by Jeremy Paxman cutting people short and having his back to his studio audience so he hardly let them in on the questions. The winner for me was John McDonnell due to his failure to qualify for the contest. I think that he would also have known how to handle both Paxman and his leadership rivals. But perhaps that is sour grapes.


calgacus said...

I agree with you on that Harry. None of them were impressive. Diane Abbott did at least vote against Iraq and has a generally solid socialist voting record, but she's not that impressive in interviews or debates.

The rest are all amazingly right wing. Even Ed Balls and Ed Milliband, who weren't MPs at the time of the Iraq war vote, said they'd have voted for the invasion if they had been MPs at the time.

All of them except Diane Abbott talk in meangingless catchphrases like 'reform', 'change' and 'reconnect with the voters' - bunch of Blair clones.

The process for qualifying as a leadership candidate is seriously flawed because it only gives MPs a say in practice - and those MPs mostly had their candidacies handed to them by previous party leaders.

Candidates shouldn't have to get the support of a certain number of MPs to stand. They should just be allowed to stand and the majority of party members should decide who's elected leader through one member one vote, scrapping the electoral college, which also gives disproportionate influence to MPs and far too little to ordinary members of the party.


Harry Barnes said...

There is a campaign shown on the thread above this one to try to get the 5 candidates to issue Manifestos. John McDonnell is supporting this, whilst so far out of the 5 only Andy Burnham has agreed to do it. See -

I think that the nomination rights should be divided into three categories. (A) Elected Representatives. (B) Constituency Labour Parties. (C) Affiliated Bodies. The threshold should be much lower, say 5%. But each candidate should need to cover the threshold in all three categories. I would also insist that "Manifestos of Intent" would have to be issued in advance by each would-be candidate, so that those with nomination rights had some idea of what they stood for.

I would have supported John McDonnell if he had cleared the current nominating hurdle. Now I want to hear them argue detailed and intelligent cases before I opt for anyone. John had done this in the past.