Time for Labour to make a clean break from its economic past

Time for Labour to make a clean break from its economic past

My bold prediction for the 2020 General Election, the economy will dominate it, as much as it did this year, even if the economy is performing badly, which will be particularly bad news if your name is Liam Byrne, as the argument will be framed in terms of the situation the Tories inherited in 2010.

Ed Miliband’s refusal to admit that Labour overspent between 1997 and 2010 during Question Time a week before election day, was felt to be a crucial mistake, at the time, so I’m working on the assumption that the best thing for the next Labour leader to perform a mea culpa and not to be associated with Gordon Brown in the way Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were.

I’m ruling out backing Yvette Cooper further, for similar reasons, her past health issues might be a bar, but she’s coped with being Shadow Home Secretary for four years without any issues.

Andy Burnham is another contender, I wouldn’t back, I like him on a personal level for his work on getting justice for the Hillsborough victims and their families, but like the economy, the NHS will feature a lot in 2020, and the Tories have successfully managed to associate the problems at Stafford Hospital with Andy Burnham’s previous tenure as Health Secretary.

So I’m looking at the MPs who first came to Parliament in May 2010 or after. One of whom who gets mentioned as a potential leader is Dan Jarvis, who unlike most of the current bunch of MPs has had a career prior to politics, but I cannot recall a single speech or article from him at all since he became an MP.

If having a compelling back story was crucial for winning the leadership election, then Naseem Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, would be nailed on to be the next Labour leader.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt are two people that might be worth backing, they are impressive in the media, particularly the latter given his role as a TV presenter, the debates are here to stay, and all parties will need to be led by someone good in the media. The only mark against Chuka is some issues regarding his wikipedia entry, but that’s something that’s never held Grant Shapps’ career back.

But if you are feeling adventurous, you might consider backing are Liz Kendall, Stella Creasy and Rachel Reeves, at 16/1, 25/1 and 50/1 respectively. All three are impressive in the media, some backed Kendall at 50/1, so she’s quietly impressive. Stella Creasy’s campaign on payday lenders, is something that will and has gone down well with Labour activists. The one caveat with Rachel Reeves is that she’s due to give birth next month.

The full odds on the next Labour leader are available here.


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