Contenders Ready!

The Times online edition is reporting that David Miliband and Harriet Harman are preparing to challenge Gordon Brown in a leadership election. As you would expect, Harman has denied that this is true. The article does state that the most likely contenders in a leadership election would be Harman and Miliband. This fits in with thinking that other potential candidates do not have the support of either the unions or the party membership. Whilst Miliband has always been pretty popular within the party, Harman won the deputy-leadership election recently, hence her 'minding the shop'.

It is, of course, clear that they are not our own Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. Neither has the huge support network from outside of the party. However, both could put up a good fight. Harman has already shown her capability in the deputy-leadership election and in standing in for the Gordon Brown whilst he is on vacation. Miliband has single handedly held together Britains foreign policy in the face of a PM who, unlike his predecessor, seems uninterested in anything taking place outside the borders of the UK.

Some in the Labour party fear a leadership election on the grounds that it would show the party divided in the eyes of the public. I think that this is completely wrong. Labour has been in power for eleven years, the public are bored of the same old thing, to them Labour is stale. Nothing can help improve the parties approval ratings like an open leadership battle where candidates are willing to publicly criticise their own party and Blair and Brown. This would effect a renewal of the party. Rather than defending the failures of the party, the candidates should acknowledge mistakes and criticise those who have made them, just as both Obama and McCain are doing in the US. A leadership challenge is probably the only thing that can revive the dead stick that is the Labour party.

Another thing to remember is that Labour currently has debts of £17 million to £25 million. Only a new leader can attract new donors and give Labour a campaign fund to fight the next general election on. One thing is clear, if Brown stays, Labour will be outspent 25-1 at the next election. At the moment, the party needs hundreds of thousands a year just to cover the interest payments on its loans. This cannot go on.

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