Chuka Umunna confirms he will run in Labour leadership race

12th May, 2015 11:34 am

Chuka Umunna leadership launch

Chuka Umunna has confirmed today that he will put his name forward to be the next leader of the Labour Party when nominations open. The Shadow Business Secretary has made his intentions clear in a video he has published this morning on Facebook.

Filmed in Swindon, Umunna puts focus on beating the Tories in English marginals – where, he says, the Tories managed to win their majority. After speaking to Mark Dempsey, Labour’s unsuccessful candidate in Swindon North, he says:

“I’m pleased today to be announcing that I will be standing for the leadership of the party. I think we can and should be winning in seats like in Swindon: in north, south, east, west, we can absolutely do it as a party. 

“Some have suggested over the past few days that this is somehow now a ten year project to get the party back into office – I don’t think we can have any truck with that at all. I think the Labour Party can do it in five years. I want to lead that effort as part of a really big Labour team, getting Labour back into office and changing this country, building a fairer, more equal society.”

Umunna says he has spoken to almost half of the candidates in Tory-held target seats (around 40 PPCs), and decided to confirm his intentions in Swindon because the party needs to put a focus on getting outside of Westminster and London if it is to succeed in 2020.

Before uploading the video, he sent this email to members of his CLP in Streatham, where his majority increased by over 10,000 last week:

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for everything you did in the run-up to the election, and on polling day itself.  We achieved a tremendous result here in the Streatham constituency and that simply would not have been possible without your incredible efforts.

I know the result nationally was a terrible disappointment to us all, but I will be doing everything I can to fight for the people in our area in this Parliament. The work we did locally this year will help us build towards the mayoral elections next year and the council elections in 2018, and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure we win again in 2020.

In addition to thanking you, with 2020 in mind I wanted you to be the first to know that I will put myself forward to lead the national party in the impending leadership elections.  Many local members have already strongly urged me to stand and I will be setting out in more detail in the coming days and weeks what I think we need to do.  I started by setting out some thoughts in the Observer over the weekend here.  The bottom line is this: I’ve helped over 7000 constituents with their problems since my election in 2010 but it is only through the election of a national Labour Government that we can tangibly change the lives of many many more which is why I am putting myself forward.

I look forward to seeing everyone in the next few weeks – to celebrate what we achieved locally, to commiserate and talk through what happened nationally and to talk about how we win nationally in 2020.  For now, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate everything that you all have done over the last few weeks.

Best wishes,

Chuka 

Umunna becomes the second candidate to confirm they intend to stand after Liz Kendall, with Jamie Reed yesterday saying he was also considering a run. In a poll run over the weekend, Umunna came second of the candidates likely to stand. Paul Flynn MP has already said that he will support Umunna’s candidacy.

UPDATE: The Manchester Evening News reports than Jonathan Reynolds will help run Umunna’s campaign:

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  • new_number_2

    It seems the leadership will be contested by a bunch of Tories in red ties. Not very encouraging.

    • Aaron Golightly

      It’s clearly a green tie.

    • sonic

      And Ed’s cataclysmic election was encouraging was it?

      • Michael Murray

        Much more encouraging than all the Cabs for Hire who are going to throw their hats in the ring.

        • juwivive

          Gosh, it’s like the 1980s again!

          Labour hasn’t been a socialist party for years. It’s more social democratic nowadays.

          • Michael Murray

            That shows what you know.

        • sonic

          That’s not going to work, as has been shown.

        • Hugh

          “That’s 9,347,326 votes for socialism.”

          To quote Benn, without apparent irony, in 1983 – 14 years before returning to power.

          • Michael Murray

            The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

          • Hugh

            So, given population growth in that time, the proportion prepared to vote for socialism is down half a per cent.

            It’s certainly going to be a long journey.

      • new_number_2

        At least it fought under a vaguely Labour platform. What motivation is there to vote for a Tory lite Bliarite ‘Labour’ party that won’t be any different from the Tories?

    • Michael Murray

      Umunna? The man who believes Heseltine was a visionary and wants him to advise us? Try telling that to the miners. No thanks. Umunna won’t be getting my vote.

      • new_number_2

        Good man.

  • Aaron Golightly

    I’ve been impressed with the noises some of the potential/confirmed candidates for leader/deputy leader have been making. Kendall, Hunt, Umunna, Creasy. Hopefully it’s going to be a high quality short-list this for both positions. It’s early but Umunna would be my pick but I’m not entrenched in that.

    • new_number_2

      A bunch of Bliarites who will just promote right wing Tory policies.

      • sonic

        Minimum wage is a rightwing Tory policy????

        • Michael Murray

          It was a Labour policy. Introduced in 1997.

          • juwivive

            That’s not what sonic was saying. S/he was questioning branding *all* Blairite policies as right-wing, such as the minimum wage (which the Tories were *very* opposed to).

          • Ian

            … but which they have increased by above the inflation rate.

            Doesn’t make sense, does it?

          • Michael Murray

            If the Tories could get rid of the minimum wage they would.

  • swatnan

    I’m backing Chukka because he’s pukka; what you see is what you get, what he says he will do, and what he says he actually means. He’s not a dissembler like some of the others throwing their hats in the ring. Labour need honesty and a winning formula, and Chukka will provide it.

  • David Pickering

    Who is their right mind would vote for a politician who calls normal people, trash?

    • Dez

      Exactly what a snob.
      I would suggest that a Savile Row socialist is the last person the party needs as leader.

    • bikerboy

      And with that, a song:

      Or maybe, maybe it’s our nowhere towns, our nothing places and our cellophane sounds, maybe it’s our looseness

      • wolfman

        If you ever have anything decent to contribute warn us all first !!

        We don’t want to die of shock !!.

        • bikerboy

          Says the erudite

    • wolfman

      Wow the Tories are shaking already !!

      • David Pickering

        Perhaps you should ask a Tory what they think of Chuka. Not much, is my guess.

    • Matthew Blott

      Lots of people if they think he or she will be good at the job. Did you not notice evil David Cameron beat nice Ed Miliband?

      • Malatesta!

        There’s no record of him insulting the British public though, is there?

      • David Pickering

        Thats a big “if”. I think the Tories would love him as the next Labour leader.

        • Matthew Blott

          We’ve just had an Etonian re-elected PM so I suggest the class war stuff doesn’t resonate as much as you think.

          • David Pickering

            This is not a class issue. It’s about someone who wants to be Labour leader who called the man in the street, trash.

            Last time I looked, Labour were proclaiming they were the representatives of the man in the street. That’s why Chuka is toxic.

          • Dave Postles

            I recognize that you are not a Tory, but the Tories, despite Cameron’s professions to his cabinet, are just the same. Their new intake comprises 50% privately educated. Five of their MPs, including Priti Patel, now minister for employment in place of McVey, composed a book denouncing English workers as lazy. It would simply be a competition between representatives of the snobbish elite.

          • Matthew Blott

            I see no common ground on this argument and have no more to say.

          • Matthew Blott

            Another lesson. What happens on Twitter doesn’t necessarily resonate with the rest of the public. If Umunna offers credibility on the economy and people think he will improve their lives nobody cares what he may or may not have tweeted on the spur of the moment years ago.

    • Dave Postles

      Priti Patel seems to have managed and even achieved the ministerial office for employment, although describing English workers (allegedly) as lazy.

  • sonic

    Chuka will make a great Labour leader. Ed was a total failure as leader, now is the time for a new beginning.

    • RWP

      how will his establishment, centrist message help to win over the voters who switched to the Greens, SNP and Ukip?

      • sonic

        So going FURTHER left is the answer? What about winning Tory/Lib Dem voters?

        • RWP

          I’m not arguing that we need to move further left. It’s a genuine question – in 1997 Labour won 43% of the vote including many voters on the left and in the so-called working-class north. It’s not impossible – but I can’t see anything in Chucka that will increase Labour’s appeal to these people.

        • Michael Murray

          You seem to have forgotten that the whole of Scotland went further left.

          I believe that our Labour manifesto was not far Left but sensible Left. But to hear the Tory Blairites you’d think it was Michael Foot’s letter from dystopia.

    • Ian

      Ed was a fantastic leader of the opposition, Chuka won’t even manage that.

      • sonic

        Fantastic for the Tories! I’m not sure losing the election and losing MPs is the definition of “fantastic”…

  • bikerboy

    It’s aspirational to want a large villa in Ibiza, right?

    • Ian

      Well, he rents it out so I suppose it’s aspirational to be a private landlord too.

  • RWP

    NO! Although his message is right, the messenger is a preening, self-regarding, over-ambitious slicker who will not go down well with the public. Too arrogant.

    • Dez

      Spot on.

  • Andy Harvey

    One myth that needs exploding is that we lost because of the ‘London factor’ when, in fact, London returned more Labour MPs than ever. Blair was a privately educated lawyer who appealed (to start with) across the party and to a wider audience. There is no reason why Chuka can’t do the same but focusing just on Tory marginals will be a mistake – we lost most votes to SNP on left and UKIP on right and we need a politics that appeals across that ridiculously wide chasm. I suspect the UKIP factor will only go away once immigration recedes as an issue which it will eventually. Good luck Chuka – not got my vote yet but I am open to be persuaded.

    • Hugh

      “One myth that needs exploding is that we lost because of the ‘London
      factor’ when, in fact, London returned more Labour MPs than ever”

      You do reaslise the two are not contradictory. A party that is too London-centric to appeal to the country at large could be expected to do well in London, no?

      • Andy Harvey

        I agree, but too simplistic to think of London in homogeneous terms. Party appealed to people across spectrum in London and not just the so-called ‘metropolitan elite’. I agree there is a problem if people outside of London see this as being something they cannot relate to, and I am sure that did happen.

    • Malatesta!

      “we lost most votes to SNP on left and UKIP on right and we need a politics that appeals across that ridiculously wide chasm.”

      The answer is definitely not Chuka Umunna or another Blairite.

  • Aaron Golightly

    Again the usual voices out in force who have nothing to say other than reminding us again they dislike Tony Blair. That’s great but the party needs to win elections not be a sounding board for grumpy people in cardigans to air their grievances about what happened 20 years ago

  • David Morton

    This would be the Chuka Ummuna whose private office is funded by big city consultancy firms. Just what’s needed.

    • I am not yet backing anyone. I shall have to wait to see the full list of candidates. Since these days I shall have only one vote despite my multiple affiliations, I had better be absolutely sure before I cast it.

      But I am not convinced that Umunna is anything like as “Blairite” as his critics would have us believe. He and Tom Watson, whom at this stage I expect to win the Deputy Leadership and for whom at this stage I intend to vote, offer political, regional, generational and class balance. At this stage.

      As for the metropolitan liberal elite, did that hold every seat in County Durham? Did it deliver 81.3 per cent of the vote at Liverpool Walton, 78.12 per cent at Knowsley, 75.57 per cent at Liverpool West Derby, or 74.46 per cent at Bootle?

      Few of the Labour-voting 77.57 per cent at East Ham will have identified, or will have been identified, as belonging to any liberal elite. Had they been so identifiable, then they might not have voted in such huge numbers, and not for the first time, for Stephen Timms.

  • Ian

    Heaven help us – he’s even posher than Ed – I suppose if Labour are going for the posh vote he’s the man for the job but somehow I think Camoron and Osbourne already have that sewn up.

    Wouldn’t it be better to have someone who can regain the UKIP votes in the North and Midlands and win back Scotland?

  • David Morton

    This ‘Ed was too left-wing and anti aspiration’ nonsense needs stopping right now. A return to the New Labour same-as-them-but-a-little-bit-nicer would be a disaster.

    Don’t forget that Milliband got his best ratings when breaking with the market-knows-best orthodoxy – energy price caps just one example.

    And get into any pub. Whatever people voted, they ALL agree on some fundamentals: the banks are shafting us all; corporations should pay their taxes; politicians know nothing of real lives. These universals feelings are all anti-market fundamentalism and, therefore, open to an appeal from any party that is prepared to question markets.

    So why did Labour lose? Lots of reasons, but a couple of the biggest are clear:

    • huge numbers of Labour’s ‘natural’ support didn’t vote (because being abandoned by New Labour made them ask, quite reasonably, why bother when they’re all the same).
    • huge numbers of the ‘natural support’ voted UKIP, who knows how many seats this cost.
    • of the rest, not enough believed that Labour could run an economy able to pay for their promises.

    None of this has got anything whatsoever to do with not being business-friendly enough. That’s just self-serving tosh from the usual suspects.

    • Ian

      Our pubs have all closed thanks to Labour’s smoking ban.

      • Dave Postles

        They closed because they are no longer a pertinent part of the social scene. The young pre-load at home with cheap booze and then go to clubs. The middle class have always been secluded, drinking at home, and that seems increasingly to apply to people who would previously have been of the working class, but aspiring to middle-class habits. Now, the former working-class and middle-class patronize only restaurant-type pubs.

        • Fred Worthy

          Same here Dave,one place that you could call a pub,further up the high street the new cafe bar is packed with youngsters, snorting and quaffing, how times change.

          • denise clendinning

            And smoking ecigs

      • Monkey_Bach

        Win-win. If the smoking ban discouraged people from visiting pubs fewer citizens would be drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. The end result: A healthier nation! Seriously though, all the pubs I know and have visited are as much gathering points for social interaction as anything else. Not being allowed to smoke tobacco in a pub wouldn’t stop people from wanting to continue meeting, drinking, eating, socialising, playing games and drinking alcohol and so forth surely any more than tightening up on exhaust emissions from cars in the MOT stopped many people from driving.

        Eeek.

      • denise clendinning

        it was the european directive law that did it not labour.

    • There was nothing “aspirational” about this General Election. Not unless there are people who aspire to different ancestors. Good luck to them with that.

      No, over the last 30 years, the Bullingdon Boys of both sexes have become the vanguard class of a totally unrestrained economic and social liberalism, and have used to that status to cement their age-old claim to a natural right to rule.

      On that basis, they contested this Election. And on that basis, they won it. The English, in particular, have voted against aspiration to an extent not seen in living memory. They have submitted to the leadership of the vanguard class nationally and internationally.

      No one more embodies both that class and that ideology at large than George Osborne, the publicly anointed successor of a Prime Minister who has confirmed that he will not be seeking re-election.

  • Andrew Bartlett

    Serious question – if Milliband was successfully represented as being tainted by the role that the unions – who represent many thousands of working people – played in his ‘election’, what hay will the press make with the fact that Umunna would be a leader who could be easily presented as being annointed by Mandelson – who, for better or worse is widely disliked by the general public?

    • Ian

      I think that’s the least of his problems. The fact that he’s a slimy posh boy is much more of a handicap with Labour’s electorate.

      • Andrew Bartlett

        Well, yes. But so far it seems that all the prospective leaders are lining up the stress just why Labour voters wouldn’t want to vote for them, in a way they hope will appeal to that middle few percent. And of course, we’ll see how that well strategy motivates members and activists. But if the goal is to appeal to that key segment of the electorate, I would imagine it’d be best not choose someone who has just received the endorsement of one of ‘middle Britain’s’ pantomime villains.

  • Sunny Jim

    Chuka will redux NL and validate Tories policies for voters in the south by being a ‘lite’ version of the real thing.

    Those in the midlands/north who are crying out for a return to something that they recognise as Labour will flood to UKIP now they’ve established credibility with so many decent 2nds and can offer what they want on their blank sheet of paper.

    UKIP will destroy you if you don’t get this right.

    • Ian

      There are a lot of people on here who just can’t (or won’t) see this – perhaps they’ll change their tune after a few by-elections.

      • Sugarcube

        Am totally with you guy on this. For whatever reason, the UKIP impact was largely ignored or pushed aside, to the Labour Party detriment. I agree, we need to do the following:
        Stop – patronising UKIP voters are somehow stupid.
        Start – listening to them
        Do – develop a strong position on immigration that delivers to these voters.

        • Patrick Nelson

          To be fair plenty of UKIP voters who are in the “most unlikely to join Mensa club”, but this doesn’t change the fact that there are many who are not, many who used to vote Labour and they only stopped supporting Labour because they gradually started to feel that it had become an ultra-Liberal London-focused party that was unable to recognize their personal concerns of loss of self esteem due to loss of vocational opportunity, loss of a sense of security due to the disappearance of the communities of their childhood and fears of the security of their offspring through a loss of national sovereignty. Labour wants the votes of the working class but too many of its prominent figures sometimes give the impression of having little respect the the symbols, ideas and traditions of Britain – the very things which are close to the self image of many working class British people. Hopefully the next Labour leader will reach out to the natural Labour voters who have got lost and save them from the Soho clip joint known as UKIP.

    • Michael Murray

      ‘Destroy you’

      So you are not Labour after all!

      • Fred Worthy

        Ukip are everywhere they invade social media sites like a disease,they have done this on the local one here,their tactic is to agree with local people then in they come with their perverted ideology to sway the chat to their unabashed racism.

    • Fred Worthy

      I think Michael is to polite saying you are not Labour,and he seems to be right ,is he Sunny Jim if so Sunny Jim your a quim.

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Well he won’t get my vote I’m afraid. His message is not necessarily wrong it’s just that he’s the wrong person to deliver it.

  • Sugarcube

    I like him, yes he’s slick – what’s wrong with that? Its not existing Labour supporters the that need convincing, its the electorate. He’s young, ambitious and smart. I disagree that voters won’t like him, I believe they might.
    As for ‘those in the North who are crying out for a return to something they recognise as Labour’ – I get this and also feel it, but its almost sentimental. I feel those days are long gone, a somewhat romantic notion of a lost Labour Party.

    • Malatesta!

      “I like him, yes he’s slick – what’s wrong with that? Its not existing
      Labour supporters the that need convincing, its the electorate. ”

      Existing Labour supporters do need convincing, did you not see what just happened in Scotland?

      “As for ‘those in the North who are crying out for a return to something
      they recognise as Labour’ – I get this and also feel it, but its almost
      sentimental. I feel those days are long gone, a somewhat romantic
      notion of a lost Labour Party.”

      If the party takes this attitude we will see Northern seats falling like Dominos to UKIP. When working class people say they are voting UKIP they usually say that they see little difference between Labour and the Tories and feel ignored.

  • NT86

    While I agree with his early prognosis of Labour’s failure to connect with aspirational voters, he is hardly the one the carry the centrist message forward. New Labour was a massive success, but was doubled edged sword, as it had too many gaffe prone smug metropolitan types around. Umunna wouldn’t win back southern votes and he could send some voters over to UKIP.

    His interviews on the news leading up to the election were brutal. Him and Tristram Hunt would not go down well with many voters even if they are associated with Blairism. They come across badly on TV and seem very out of touch.

  • Sugarcube

    Its interesting. Her is where I am at. Am active on the doorstep, not just for the election but in support of several location elections and knock on doors and chat to lots and lots of voters. A huge majority of voters, don’t talk in terms of Blairism or New Labour. They just don’t use this terminology and actually aren’t that interested. What can you do for me, does that policy directly affect me. For both the Party and the next Leader, that’s what needs to be considered if we want any chance of reclaiming seats in England.

    • Peter Colledge

      Spot on. Thanks.

  • Alex Agius

    I’m not involved in this as I’m not a Labour party member but as an outsider I do find the choice that Labour are going to make about its future direction, values and philosophy fascinating.

    I think all of the possible candidates have something very different to offer. From what I see Chuka Umunna offers Labour the chance to reconnect with the UK Business community that was vital to Labours victories in ’97, ’01 and ’05. Another Labour Business secretary Peter Mandelson once said that he was “Intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich” signalling he did not want to be against wealth creators but a friend of industry. Chuka Umunna would be able to offer this in a way that I do not think any of the other candidates are inclined to or capable of doing.

    • Bluegray

      Mandelson’s sentence continued with the very important words – “as long as they pay their full tax”. Regardless of whether people agree with it, the problem is that nearly all very rich people avoid or evade their due tax bill.

      • Ian

        If it’s good enough for senior Labour Party figures why shouldn’t they do it too?

      • Alex Agius

        You needn’t have said that all rich people evade tax, saying all people evade tax would suffice.

        I am not rich yet I have evaded tax twice this morning. First I successfully evaded some fuel duty by driving past 2 more expensive petrol stations and filling up at my local Morrison petrol station which was 5p per litre cheaper. I then successfully evaded some VAT by purchasing a new vacuum cleaner from Tesco where the model I wanted was £20 cheaper than my in local Currys which is nearer to my home than Tesco.

        Tomorrow I hope to evade some more tax when I chose not to use the M6 toll for my drive to Stoke, instead I intend to use the M6 (non-toll).

        • Dave Postles

          None of that is tax evasion.

    • Michael Murray

      In other words you are suggesting he’ll make us indistinguishable from the Tories like Blair did. Power without socialist principle again. And look where that got us in the Labour Party. Less council homes built in the thirteen years of New Labour than in one year of the appalling Thatcher.

      • Alex Agius

        I think choosing him would set the future direction of Labour to a place where the party is more comftable with wealth creators and more pro business. I don’t think that makes Labour indistinguishable from the Tories.

    • Aaron Taylor

      Businessmen and women have one vote, like everyone else.

      • Patrick Nelson

        Big business generally has easy access to government at the moment (it did under Blair and it continues under Cameron). They have access to the ear of governments with a level of influence that charities or individuals could only dream of.

  • RegisteredHere

    In some respects it might be better to elect a Blair-ite leader from the right of the party to avoid the confusion that Miliband caused by being a left-ish leader without a label saying just how left-ish he really was.

    Under Umunna, those on the right could vote for 2015 2010 New Old Labour, and those on the left could vote Green/SNP/Plaid unconflicted. I can’t quite believe that’s the plan though.

  • Bluegray

    Is it only me that is noticed Chuka’s very irritating tendency to start his answers with “LOOK” OR “LISTEN”, as if he’s telling a small child “Look, if you put your finger in there it’s going to hurt”. It’s a very irritating habit and I can’t believe I’m the only one it irritates. I’ve noticed quite a few politicians doing this nowadays, but I reckon it was Chuka who started the fashion when he started regularly appearing as a national spokesperson, a few years ago.

    • Andrew Bartlett

      He could always temper it by adopting the Australian ‘Aw, look…’, which sounds a lot more apologetic, seeming as if the speaker is asking the other person to please agree, rather than demanding that they do.

      • Bluegray

        I think he has to eliminate it. Ed could never quite shift the perception that he was a boffin, unfamiliar with the real world. Chuka has a certain ‘arrogant/know it all’ air to him, and the whole LOOK/LISTEN magnifies that negative feature.

        • Patrick Nelson

          At least starting an answer with “look” shows the ability to argue back forcefully, which not all the prospective leaders have, yet nearly all election winning British Prime Ministers in the last several decades have had.

          • Bluegray

            True Patrick, and Ed Miliband failed to argue back about our economic management until far too late. However, Chuka will annoy many people with his LOOK/LISTEN style, so they won’t listen to his following argument. He just needs some good media training.

          • Pam_Smith

            I’ve reacted against Chuka Umunna purely on what I’ve seen of him on telly. It may be very unfair in terms of his substance or what he’s about as a politician, but every time I’ve seen him interviewed I’ve become impatient with him for not answering the question. As well as the ‘Look/listen’ tic, he goes all round the houses, and he sounds as if there’s absolutely no fire behind what he says. I’m prepared to be convinced otherwise during the leadership election but he’ll have to show a bit more substance to go with what passes for a media savvy presentation (which just comes across as a bit evasive to me).

    • Michael Murray

      Yes. I have noticed and it is very irritating. But I have looked, and, no, the last thing I want is Umunna as my leader. I want a socialist.

      • Harry Barnes

        “I want a socialist”. Yes, but where can find we find one that can even get enough nominations to qualify to stand? Will we have to settle for someone to stop Umunna? If so, whom?

    • Dave Postles

      In the case of Balls, who may have initiated this verbal tick (‘Look’), it was because of his stuttering, so can be excused, but plenty of Tories commence their observations this way too.

  • wolfman

    I do worry about the future of my party. We are supposed to have a prolonged debate about the direction and future in this upcoming leadership contest… and yet members don’t seem prepared to hear all sides..

    I probably won’t vote for Chuka but I’m interested in what he has to say and our greatest ever leader Clement Attlee wasn’t exactly blue collar was he ????..

    Time for members to grow up………..

    Unless left and right wings start to embrace eachother we will be out of power for years !!…

    Who wants that ???.

  • Kevin T

    Millionaire. Lawyer. Compass Group wonk. He’s about as “London elite” as it’s possible to get. Ed Miliband is a beer-swilling populist by comparison. Precisely the image Labour needs to be backpedalling away from. Don’t they have any Alan Johnson types left under the age of 60?

  • Peter Colledge

    Chuka and Jonathan…I’m sure they are good people but what have they done outside of politics? I was in Stalybridge in February, spoke to a local church warden and he told me that his town had been completely forgotten. I agree, only anecdotal, and Jonathan has only been in for five years…but.

  • NewForestRadical

    Can we just see what he has got to say and how he performs in the campaign? It is a shame, and probably a mistake, that he is wrapping himself in the rhetoric of Blairism and riding on the Blairites’ clearly orchestrated post-Election wave of interviews and articles. But, he is articulate, bright and has a more interesting backstory than some of the other candidates, so it would be crazy to dismiss him as casually as some on here are.
    Maybe his soundbites about aspiration and wealth-creation could be fleshed out in ways more obviously in line with core Labour values than under Blair/Mandelson. It’s that sort of creative thinking that Labour needs right now, and an openness to it will be the basis on which I make my decision. Who knows Chuka might be the best person to facilitate this, but we can not know this until we hear more from him and the other candidates.

  • Brumanuensis

    I have nothing against Chuka, but I have a feeling he may end up being the focus of an organised campaign against him by all his opponents within the contest. He does seem to attract animosity from some quarters. Perhaps his former status within Compass is regarded with suspicion.

  • Jake Acton

    What is all this nonsense ‘We need to be more socialist!’, ‘ NO! We need to return to the Blair ways!’ What Labour needs is a leader with some charisma about them.

    The policies are not the problem, I’ve said it once & shall say it again, Milibands manifesto was solid, people liked it & people agreed with it, any other Labour leader could easily just continue with the same one. What people didn’t like was Miliband himself, he was goofy, looked weaker than Cameron & as Paxman pointed out, compared to other world leaders he’d look embarrassing.

    A good party leader shouldn’t need every single chip to fall in his favour & the perfect irrefutable history & manifesto to win an election. A good party leader can get people on his side despite what disagreements some may have with him. Chuka will never do this simple as. Of course then the question is, well who can? I would suggest someone who can get Northern England behind him, and can actually come across as likeable, Dan Jarvis, while lacking the experience would have been perfect. At the moment Andy Burnham is the person who springs to mind. A liked Northern politician, always puts in solid performances on the telly if whether speaking in the house, question time or BBC interviews. Not to mention he has union support because of his strong & consistent stance against almost all NHS privatisation. He will stand, and I suspect he might easily win. If he does, I can see him putting up a strong fight against whoever takes over after Cameron resigns.

    • Brumanuensis

      “What people didn’t like was Miliband himself, he was goofy, looked weaker than Cameron & as Paxman pointed out, compared to other world leaders he’d look embarrassing”.

      You’re basically Exhibit A in ‘what is wrong with British democracy’.

      • Jake Acton

        Never stated I agree with the mentality, simply stated the facts. We had solid policies and the rest and here we stand 99 seats below the conservatives who ran a poor campaign.

        If the party wishes to continue making decisions from its fantasy world, so be it. I personally want to see them win again.

        • returner

          I would disagree that the Tories ran a poor campaign. They settled on “long-term economic plan” as their central message a long time ago, and stuck with it over and over throughout all those bloody PMQs. They could argue it was working (cherry-picking some favourable economic figures) and it explained why they should be given another 5 years. Labour had nothing pithy and resonant to match it.

          • Jake Acton

            I would argue that without the overwhelming support from the press your opinion would be different, but let’s agree to disagree.

          • returner

            I definitely agree that if the press had been monstering their messages instead of Labour it would have been a very different story (Sun headline: “Long-term economic DOOM”)

        • taylor

          The Conservatives may have run a poor campaign in terms of what they were offering; they ran an excellent campaign in demolishing their opponent – from vicious personal attacks to scaremongering about the SNP.
          Something does have to change – I am not an activist so may not be aware of the finer points, but Labour needs to get tough and picking candidates who spout airey fairy nonsense is not going to win over anyone.
          Look at the Tories – a front PR man, with a Machiavellian bruiser assisting him!

          • Jake Acton

            I do agree with that entirely, it’s basically what I was initially trying to get across. Often times the leader is the PR man, and that’s what Labour desperately lacked!

  • Monkey_Bach

    An origami tiger like Umunna WON’T reinvigorate the Labour Party. Eeek.

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