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Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers. 

1. Who really wants to roll back the state? Not the right (Guardian)

While this government props up big business and delves into our private lives, there is a tradition of individualism on the left waiting to be reclaimed, says Owen Jones. 

2. Hedge fund titans are testing US democracy (Financial Times)

If branches of government bow to big business, public policy will be decided by the highest bidder, warns Edward Luce. 

3. John Smith would have led us to a decent world (Guardian)

The Labour leader, who died 20 years ago today, was a political giant who ought to inspire a better kind of politics, says John McTernan. 

4. Unemployment will scar us for years (Independent)

The figures make it look as if unemployment is going down, but they hide a multitude of sins and as usual it is the poorest that suffer the most, writes David Blanchflower. 

5. Local elections matter more than their European equivalents (Daily Mirror)

They may be at the bottom of the democratic pile, writes Kevin Maguire. But we need good councillors much more than we need MEPs.

6. Could John Smith have envisaged where his "parliament" would lead? (Daily Telegraph)

The institution he so desired has nourished the very political ideology he despised, writes Alan Cochrane. 

7. The NHS is being suffocated by cynical politicking (Independent)

But let’s never forget that it represents the best of British idealism and energy, says Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. 

8. In our own modest way, we’re living in a Boko Haram world (Daily Telegraph)

There is no consistency or fairness in the BBC’s disgraceful treatment of its Radio Devon DJ, says Boris Johnson. 

9. There is a way to cut knife crime – the Tories just aren't delivering it (Guardian)

Grayling and co, eager to win headlines and dish the Lib Dems, aren't so bothered about a policy that actually works, writes Chris Huhne. 

10. Humans are not all the same under the skin (Times)

There are genetic variations between races, but they don’t matter, writes Matt Ridley. It is co-operation that brings progress to our species. 

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.