The Thick of It


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Deputy Leader Hustings

Last night's Fabian - Progress Deputy Leadership hustings certainly helped me decide between the six candidates. When the carousel started I didn't see much between the candidates, though I thought that a Brown premiership should be balanced by a female deputy. My favoured female candidate was Harriet Harman, though I felt her performance was woeful.

When Harman spoke I switched off, she didn't show any passion, rambled and didn't grab my attention.

Blears = passion.
Hain = polished though not engaging.
Johnson = relaxed.
Benn = kept talking about international development. Not enough Party talk for me.
Cruddas = looked out of his depth.

You could tell it was a Fabian audience, I felt there was too much talk about education, though there was an interesting discussion about the 11+. Peter Hain said selection is not a socialist issue, Alan Johnson thought it electoral suicide to scrap the existing grammar schools and I agree. I'd like to see an end to selection, however Labour's electoral position makes that impossible at the moment.

Michael Crick thought Hazel Blears the winner of the night. I agree. She showed passion, desire and enthusiasm, exactly what the Labour Party needs to reinvigorate itself and campaign to win. At university I used to go to Salford Labour Party to phone canvass every week and she was infectious one on one as she was last ngiht in front of an audience.

Peter Hain came across as slick and polished, every bit the professional politician. However I didn't get the feeling from him that he was "one of us" - a party member in cabinet. I feel he wants the job for status, not for what Blears would do, to motivate the Party.

Alan Johnson, up to now, my choice, came across as relaxed and natural. I think he would make a very strong Deputy Leader. He had all the best quips and reminded those present that Labour needs to win elections to do anything, which is why some compromises have to be made.

I'm now undecided between Blears and Johnson, though I'm tipping in favour of Johnson. I do so because I think he comes across better in public. Blears can often come across as "media trained" and like a bit of a Blairite robot. That is harsh I know and she really isn't like that, but on TV it sometimes looks like it.


Stuart Bruce, PR Consultant said...

Hi Tim, hopefully you'll be able to make it to some of the other DL events or an event that Alan is attending on his own, so you get another chance to meet him and make your mind up. The reason I agreed to be Alan's communications director is because I was so impressed when I actually met him.

Stuart Bruce, Communications Director, Johnson for Deputy Campaign

Timmymc said...

I'd certainly be keen to meet him