The Candidates’ Manifestos

The Dronfield Blather blog has run a three-month campaign to get manifestos from the Labour leadership candidates. This week it published the responses of all five Labour leader hopefuls.

‘On 16 June we commenced a campaign to get the candidates in the Labour Leadership Election to issue what we called “Manifestos of Intent”,’ says the website, run by Dronfield Labour Party discussion group.

‘We are now able to present these manifestos or provide relevant links to the candidates’ own web-sites where they have previously published this material themselves.’

You can view them here:


  1. Will Brown
    6 September 2010

    Hi Graham

    You’re right I didn’t go into detailed criticisms of Abbott – it was a brief commentary on one session in a long article. I know many people think Abbott ‘appears more left radical’ (your choice of the word ‘appears’ is interesting). Many others think her politics are vacuous. What I think are the crucial weaknesses are, first, a lack of awareness (shared with others associated with McDonnell and campaign group left) that simply staking out a left list of demands is not enough. Cruddas at least shows some awareness that the political wind is not in our favour and both the Milibands show some recognition that the party needs to be revitalised and has to change how it engages with the public in order to begin to build support for a different kind of politcs. Second, she is blatantly tokenistic and explicitly trades on her ethnicity (‘I am what a 21st Century leader should look like’) – note the word ‘look’. Thirdly her performances in the media have been woeful – being unable to get a coherent sentence out when on Newsnight, a minute after claiming she was the ‘articulate’ voice of the left; and complete silence in response to a Today programme question about her choice to send her son to a private school. I could go on but probably to no end. I know she is popular with some people as witnessed by the aclaim with which Compass greeted her and by her performance in the general election (increased majority). But she’s not for me, and given that you are abstaining I assume she is not for you either?

    However, I agree with you about the contest as a whole. I don’t think it has been as bad as the press have made out – the Tory press have a vested interest in saying it is ‘boring’ – but it has engaged a lot of Labour members and others. The real problem is that after 15-20 or more years of control-freak central control over parliamentary candidate selection ist is hardly surprising the field is limited.
    Best wishes

  2. Graham
    1 September 2010

    This subject gives me a chance to talk about an earlier post – A galaxy but no stars –. William turned out a couple of phrases in the paragraph on the Leadership election that I didn’t feel entirely happy with. About a candidate in the contest he wrote: “enthusiasm for her waned as the debate proceeded, possibly reflecting the vacuity of Abbott’s politics”. And over somebody who isn’t standing at all: “whatever the shortcomings of Cruddas’ politics”. I just felt mildly critical of William that he didn’t say more about the shortcomings and expand on his opinion concerning Diane Abbot’s failings. It didn’t seem enough to me to have a negative view without giving reasons especially in the latter case when I had heard a number of members in my Constituency Party expressing their support for Diane Abbot simply because she appeared to them as more left radical than the rest.

    And now on the contest itself: I (anybody else ?) do not feel at all enthused. And it has got nothing to do with the content of the “manifestos” that Dronfield Blather has managed to gather up. I can recall speaking to a bemused Constituency General Committee (although everybody still called it GMC then) that I didn’t favour participating in electing a Leader be it OMOV, 30:30:40, or 1/3 1/3 1/3. (I am pretty sure this abstentionism wasn’t the agreed ILP view in 1980/81.)

    I don’t think you have to be an anarchist to feel uneasy about committing yourself to be a follower of a Leader chosen from a necessarily limited menu. If the Parliamentary Party finds it necessary to pick out a boss then for me that was no reason why the whole Party has to put itself in thrall to that person. Kinnock, Smith (no time to do real harm), Blair and Brown. Not very impressive, is it ? I shall not be using my ballot paper to support any one of the five.

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