Predicting the results of the Labour leadership election should be left to the professionals (like Dan Finkelstein or Paul the Octopus). But Charlie Edwards will try to foresee the foreseeable future of the Labour party.
Cameron, Clegg and one more white, middle-class man (either an Ed or a Miliband) will lead the three main parties throughout the 2010-2015 Parliament. It is important to mention here that the relationships between these three men will determine the outcome of the 2015 election, the future of British democracy and of the political party system.
A strong leader of the Labour party will not simply be the one who can bash the Coalition the loudest. Many Conservatives are confident that the Coalition will succeed in reducing the deficit and tackling society’s ills. The Conservative Party can hold their hands up in five years’ time and say we acted out of national interest, casting partisan politics asunder in favour of good transparent governance. This is a very electable line to take, and a strong Labour party leader should attack the Conservative party, not the Coalition. Albeit, this will be very hard given the immediate popularity for some of the key Coalition policies drafted up in CCHQ.
Another leader to disenfranchise himself from the working classes -a la Blair- will be a grave decision. As the Conservatives’ post-Thatcher hatred dwindles, their electability improves among the lower classes, especially in Wales, where Conservatives made considerable gains, and as is predicted in the Scottish elections. Another centre ground candidate may prove the death knell of the working-class party, and for those voters who either are not wooed by the ‘big society’ or are still anti-Tory, the void left by Labour will be filled by the Liberal Democrats as the new second biggest party.
That does not mean to say you should choose a ‘loony of the left’. Centre ground does not mean a compromise of the best of both worlds, it means thinking and acting beyond class politics. One of the Labour campaign team’s biggest mistakes was trying to make the affair as tribal and petty as “The Rich” versus “The Poor”, which simply resulted in a loss of dignity on Gordon Brown’s part. A post-class age, where policy is the dividing line between two candidates, will be a welcome thing. I look forward to it when it happens within the Labour party.
Have a watch of the closing statements from each of the candidates in today’s Sky News debate: http://playpolitical.typepad.com/labour_leadership_electio/2010/09/watch-the-opening-statements-from-sky-news-labour-leadership-hustings-.html