For those of you that had a prior engagement watching some Dulux undercoat set on a large brick wall, you might have missed last night’s New Statesman Labour Leadership Contest - which James McIntyre thinks “sets fire”. To what? Some of us have long been calling for a Socialist Bonfire of the Vanities, but communal arson was most unexpected.
Anyway, that's not the burning issue. Because I'm confused about Andy Burnham.
The David Miliband / Ed Balls axis kind of has a familiar political logic to it: David the nerdy Blairite who can appeal to the parts of Primrose Hill that other Socialists can’t reach; Ed Balls the Brownite who looks as proficient as his mentor at chucking his stapler around the bunker; and Ed Miliband who’s somewhere in the middle of the Venn diagram, both Milliband and Ed, Blair and Brown, save the climate and keep the change.
And now of course there’s Diane Abbott, the voice of the Left, the fizz, the fun, the TV personality, the underdog. Against private schools as a politician but in favour of them “as a mother”. (Note: I’m against big tax rebates for lawyers “as a politician” but in favour of them “as a barrister”).
But none of this explains Andy Burnham. Apparently, McIntyre tells us:
“Andy Burnham set the tone for his pitch by saying "I can give people something the Tories can't -- a leader whose background is similar to people.""
Surely not a leader whose background is similar to people?! As opposed to the others whose backgrounds are similar to reptilian life forms?
I'm not trying to be unkind, he does seem like an awfully nice chap, but is there anything here beyond a rather vain attempt to package a Cambridge-educated career politician as a man-of-the-people?
What's it all about? And is there anyone that thinks he can actually win? (Labour Party members seem to think so.)