Should a campaign revolve around a leader?

Parties' home pages make interesting viewing.

A quick click on the three main parties' websites, during what is still in effect the calm before the storm, makes for a noteworthy contrast.

The Conservatives go for one major "story" next to a big picture of a determined-looking David Cameron.

The Lib Dems go for an even bigger picture of Nick Clegg.

But Labour's site is an altogether more mixed affair, with more text than pictures, and images of anyone who has "posted" in recent hours, from Jack Straw to Douglas Alexander to Peter Mandelson. It also has Tony Blair's Trimdon speech prominently displayed on the home page.

Some would say that the party is trying to "hide" Gordon Brown, who appeared with the cabinet outside Downing Street to call the election yesterday. But it could also be said that, by relying on their young leaders so heavily instead of presenting a full team, the Tories and the Lib Dems are taking a risk.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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