Labour should put the choice of a new leader on hold and get on with its job of opposing the Government. If it does not it is in danger of handing the de facto leadership of the opposition to the SNP.
Nicola Sturgeon has already claimed the, “SNP is now the main opposition to the Conservatives at Westminster while Labour embarks on a rebuilding process”, according to the Aberdeen Press and Journal. It is a credible argument from a party that arrives in Westminster with a cohesive group including experienced politicians.
But what have we seen from Labour – various members of Miliband’s shadow cabinet hitting the broadcast studios to say: “We got it all wrong but it was not my fault and I know what we should have been doing. Give me the job.” Back to Blair nor forward to socialism are going to win the next election.
Anyone throwing their hat into the ring now, should be ruled out on the grounds that they have demonstrated self-interest above the need for deep thought about the future of the party. The Independent says, “a fierce Labour leadership battle has broken out… leading to fears of a bloody contest that could set the party fall back further.”
The paper gives five names: Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham. I fear none of them has demonstrated the vision and communications skills to look like a future prime minister or a ruthless and effective opposition leader.
The party needs to listen to its grass roots. These are the people who have the best idea of what has happened. People like Jack Abbott, their young candidate here in Central Suffolk, who has impressed with his passion and understanding of the issues facing voters. There must be people like him in every constituency who should be helping forge a new party to fight again in five years.
Harriet Harman, the interim leader, needs the space to build an effective opposition team. She has shown the can handle PMQs and all the rest of the job until at least the Autumn and provide the time for deep consideration of the future approach. Only after that is it time to think about the best person to lead.