Why’s the best equipped contender set to come last?

Why’s the best equipped contender set to come last?

Is Balls paying the price for supporting Gordon?

Judging by the opinion polls, the list of nominations and the number of endorsements then the one near certainty about the race for the Labour leadership is that Ed Balls isn’t going to win.

On all the measures he is a long way behind and it’s hard to see what could change in the final four weeks before the ballots go out.

Yet if you look at what the five have said and done in the past month or so then a different picture emerges – for the one who is demonstrating again and again that he’s the best equipped politician is the same Mr Balls.

Just read his thinking and analysis of Labour’s challenge in his recent interview with the Times and you see observations and insights that are not coming from the other four.

Take his assertion that Labour has allowed itself to be distracted by the Lib Dems when the main target for the party’s fire-power should be the Tories.

Take also his observation that Labour did not lose the election because of its lack of appeal to middle income groups – rather it was the failure of the party to engage traditional supporters at the bottom end where they lost out.

EdB’s problem, of course, is that he’s the one most associated with some of the worst aspects of old regime and the thing that the movement wants now is to move on from the Brown era.

Maybe Ed not getting the job is the price he’ll pay for all his efforts in getting Gordon into Number 10 and keeping him there.

The big question is what portfolio he’ll be allocated after September 25th – and here I like the idea that he’ll become the shadow home secretary. Good news for Michael Gove – but less so for Theresa May.

Mike Smithson

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