The Miliband strategy, with a better striker? Photo: Getty Images
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We're beginning to see the outlines of the Labour leadership race

Both Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall have reasons to be cheerful after the GMB hustings.

The race is still open, but we’re beginning to understand the candidates a little better at least.

The hustings in front of the parliamentary Labour party didn’t do much to shake up the three-way race between Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, but it did ensure that it won’t become a four-way. Those left-leaning MPs who could switch from Burnham’s camp to put Jeremy Corbyn left the Attlee Suite feeling more confident in their choice – Burnham’s line that the party had to be careful “not to distance ourselves from the last five years” was approvingly cited by some – which means that there is only a small chance that Corbyn will get the numbers he needs to get past the nomination stage.

Mary Creagh, too, is unlikely to get the numbers. It’s not in the interest of the Kendall campaign to have another candidate with an near-identikit message in the race and it’s not in the interests of the Cooper campaign to have another woman on  the ballot paper.

So what do we know about the candidates who will make it? Burnham seems to have abandoned anything beyond a tonal shift from the Miliband leadership, describing the 2015 manifesto as “the best manifesto that I have stood on in four general elections”.

Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, of course, depends on your perspective. One Burnham supporter, approvingly, told me that the shadow health secretary offers “the same gameplan, but with a better striker”, while one MP from the Cooper camp refers to him as “a Scouse Ed Miliband”. Who’s right? It comes down to the big argument of the leadership election: was it Miliband’s personality, or his programme, that turned off voters?

Burnham is now firmly on the side of personality and tone. He sounds more reassuring than Miliband towards business, looks the part, but, policy-wise, he’s Miliband Mark Two, at least at present. That's better news for Team Burnham than it sounds: he is, far and away, the campaign's best assest and focussing on "Burnham the salesman" isn't a bad place for their campaign to be.

But it will also cheer the Kendall campaign, who will believe they can successfully persuade party members that a bigger change than the man at the top is needed to win. “Don’t forget that Labour members quite liked Ed,” one supporter points out, “I don’t think they’ll be as receptive as the media thinks to the ‘It was all Ed’s fault’ narrative.”

As for their candidate, this was another tricky away fixture after last Saturday’s hustings at the Fabian Society. That she didn’t leave with a flea in her ear shows that she can win, and she burnished her credentials as the most unambiguously pro-immigration candidate out of the three contenders, repeating her “Labour must offer a chance, not a grievance” one-liner. That may be enough of an offer to the party’s “soft left” for them to look over her policy heresies if they think that she’s the candidate best placed to win in 2020.

As for Cooper, her campaign still looks like it has a problem with definition. Her performances are getting better all the time but it’s still a struggle to complete the sentence “I’m voting for Yvette Cooper because...”. 

You can see the outlines of her support base – members who think it’s time for a woman but don’t want a candidate from the party’s right, activists who want Andy Burnham but are uneasy about his Blairite past – but both those groups are likely to be just as turned off by her hostile tone on immigration as they are by Kendall’s heresies and Burnham’s U-Turns.  If Cooper comes second, she ought to win on second preferences. But the real risk is that her core is simply, in her own words, “too narrow” – and instead of pulling off an astonishing victory, she comes a humiliating third place.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

@Simon_Cullen via Twitter
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All 27 things wrong with today’s Daily Mail front cover

Where do I even start?

Hello. Have you seen today’s Daily Mail cover? It is wrong. Very wrong. So wrong that if you have seen today’s Daily Mail cover, you no doubt immediately turned to the person nearest to you to ask: “Have you seen today’s Daily Mail cover? It is wrong.”

But just how wrong is the wrong Mail cover? Let me count the ways.

  1. Why does it say “web” and not “the web”?
  2. Perhaps they were looking on a spider’s web and to be honest that makes more sense because
  3. How does it take TWO MINUTES to use a search engine to find out that cars can kill people?
  4. Are the Mail team like your Year 8 Geography teacher, stuck in an infinite loop of typing G o o g l e . c o m into the Google search bar, the search bar that they could’ve just used to search for the thing they want?
  5. And then when they finally typed G o o g l e . c o m, did they laboriously fill in their search term and drag the cursor to click “Search” instead of just pressing Enter?
  6. The Daily Mail just won Newspaper of the Year at the Press Awards
  7. Are the Daily Mail – Newspaper of the Year – saying that Google should be banned?
  8. If so, do they think we should ban libraries, primary education, and the written word?
  9. Sadly, we know the answer to this
  10. Google – the greatest source of information in the history of human civilisation – is not a friend to terrorists; it is a friend to teachers, doctors, students, journalists, and teenage girls who aren’t quite sure how to put a tampon in for the first time
  11. Upon first look, this cover seemed so obviously, very clearly fake
  12. Yet it’s not fake
  13. It’s real
  14. More than Google, the Mail are aiding terrorists by pointing out how to find “manuals” online
  15. While subsets of Google (most notably AdSense) can be legitimately criticised for profiting from terrorism, the Mail is specifically going at Google dot com
  16. Again, do they want to ban Google dot com?
  17. Do they want to ban cars?
  18. Do they want to ban search results about cars?
  19. Because if so, where will that one guy from primary school get his latest profile picture from?
  20. Are they suggesting we use Bing?
  21. Why are they, once again, focusing on the perpetrator instead of the victims?
  22. The Mail is 65p
  23. It is hard to believe that there is a single person alive, Mail reader or not, that can agree with this headline
  24. Three people wrote this article
  25. Three people took two minutes to find out cars can drive into people
  26. Trees had to die for this to be printed
  27. It is the front cover of the Mail

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.