Harriet Harman addresses the press. Photo:Getty Images
Show Hide image

Labour must ensure the widest possible debate, or the party will lose again

Labour avoided the wide-ranging debate it should have had in 2010. If it does the same in 2015, it will be defeated again.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s acting leader has, not for the first time, risen to the occasion. Allaying the concerns of many, that we might rush to judgement, close down the debate and not allow enough time for the candidates to become better known, we are now having a longer leadership contest that will be “open and inclusive”.

It is vital, as Harriet says, that the wider Labour family and the public are “let in on the conversion”. If Labour wants to win again, let alone as soon as 2020, we must choose a leader, not because he or she pushes our buttons, but because he or she has the greatest potential to attract people who don’t vote Labour, or, at least, haven’t for some time.

There was a danger, a week ago, that we would be seen to be closing down the debate and rushing to install a new leader quickly, because the priority was to provide firm opposition to the Government as soon as possible. But we can provide an effective opposition in Parliament and outside, at the same time as the Party more widely has an open and civilised debate about our future.

If we’re serious about having an “open and inclusive” process, it would look terrible if we ended up with only two names on the leadership and deputy leadership ballots. It is not the job of the MPs to appoint the next leader, any more than it is the job of trade union leaders.

Yes, I have an interest to declare. I am running for the deputy leadership. Without a strong, regional bloc behind me (there are only 12 Labour MPs outside London south of the Bristol Channel/Wash line) it will be a challenge to get the nominations I need to get on the ballot. But that is exactly one of the reasons I’m running – the areas where Labour needs to attract the most new voters are the areas where we have the least parliamentary representation.

Labour did badly across the whole south of England. Despite some great candidates who ran excellent local campaigns we failed to win seats in places like Reading, Swindon and Norwich where Labour has to win if we are to form the next government. In 2010, after what was then a crushing defeat, the Party didn’t have the debate it should have had.

The challenge we face in 2020 is even great than we faced in 2015. Party members are entitled to a proper debate and a genuine choice of candidates from across the party and across the country.

Ben Bradshaw is the Labour MP for Exeter. He sits on the Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, and tweets @BenPBradshaw.

Show Hide image

Appreciate the full horror of Nigel Farage's pro-Trump speech

The former Ukip leader has appeared at a Donald Trump rally. It went exactly as you would expect.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce Nigel Farage is at it again.

The on-again, off-again Ukip leader and current Member of the European Parliament has appeared at a Donald Trump rally to lend his support to the presidential candidate.

It was, predictably, distressing.

Farage started by telling his American audience why they, like he, should be positive.

"I come to you from the United Kingdom"

Okay, good start. Undeniably true.

"– with a message of hope –

Again, probably quite true.

Image: Clearly hopeful (Wikipedia Screenshot)

– and optimism.”

Ah.

Image: Nigel Farage in front of a poster showing immigrants who are definitely not European (Getty)

He continues: “If the little people, if the real people–”

Wait, what?

Why is Trump nodding sagely at this?

The little people?

Image: It's a plane with the name Trump on it (Wikimedia Commons)

THE LITTLE PEOPLE?

Image: It's the word Trump on the side of a skyscraper I can't cope with this (Pixel)

THE ONLY LITTLE PERSON CLOSE TO TRUMP IS RIDING A MASSIVE STUFFED LION

Image: I don't even know what to tell you. It's Trump and his wife and a child riding a stuffed lion. 

IN A PENTHOUSE

A PENTHOUSE WHICH LOOKS LIKE LIBERACE WAS LET LOOSE WITH THE GILT ON DAY FIVE OF A PARTICULARLY BAD BENDER

Image: So much gold. Just gold, everywhere.

HIS WIFE HAS SO MANY BAGS SHE HAS TO EMPLOY A BAG MAN TO CARRY THEM

Image: I did not even know there were so many styles of Louis Vuitton, and my dentists has a lot of old copies of Vogue.

Anyway. Back to Farage, who is telling the little people that they can win "against the forces of global corporatism".

 

Image: Aaaaarggghhhh (Wikipedia Screenshot)

Ugh. Okay. What next? Oh god, he's telling them they can have a Brexit moment.

“... you can beat Washington...”

“... if enough decent people...”

“...are prepared to stand up against the establishment”

Image: A screenshot from Donald Trump's Wikipedia page.

I think I need a lie down.

Watch the full clip here:

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland