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They could have got a box for Hazel Blears to stand on, like Willie Carson has when he's doing the racing.

Alan Johnson has been the best performer by far; he's the real threat to Conservatives. I'm shocked at the level of open venom thats being thrown around, at each other and at those at the top of the government. Maybe the Tories can make hay with that.

Yes John - my namesake is the most charismatic of the six.

If Johnson was PM, he could be a threat. Rest are pretty mediocre.

Harman is making a blatant bid to woo the left - will it work.

Yes, Robert, HH is shamelessly playing to left.

Harman looks fluffy and weak

Harman is pathetic. Why would anybdoy vote for her?

What's new Robert?

Order of sucess tonight?




Harman was dreadful! Well, in fact, they all were!

There are two main things to be observed from this: 1 - the way in which they all wished to practically distance themselves from the last 10 years in power, and 2 - the Old Labour ideals that were being espoused by all. Redistribution of wealth? Reducing the gap between rich and poor by bringing down the rich? I thought that these were issues no longer deemed respectable?! It's a disaster!

I think Alan Johnson came across the best, by far and, if I had a vote, I would probably have voted for him. However, because Cruddas doesn't want to be in government, perhaps we should be hoping that he gets it!

As for Peter Hain, the man just annoys me, full stop! He has such a high opinion of himself. How he thinks that he is the one to reconnect with the voter, I just don't know! The man's a fool.

Having seen the debate can I just agree with Andrew Woodman "They could have got a box for Hazel Blears to stand on".

Interesting that they all would move the Labour Party so far to the left, is that just wishful thinking in their part designed to gain the activist vote or do they know something about what Brown intends to do?

It will certainly be taken by CCHQ as vindication of their strategy of adopting New Labour's mantle on the grounds that without Blair Labour will lurch massively to the left and leave the social democratic ground to them.

Out of the 6, Alan Johnson is far and away the most reasonable.

Out of the 6 I think only Peter Hain is really not going to make it, any of the other 5 could win, those opposing the war in Iraq who had been in government could be seen as being opportunistic generally as well as losing support among those supporting the war, the argument that it was time for a woman for Deputy Leader might play well among those who thought it might help attract women voters and although it was Harriet Harman saying this it might benefit Hazel Blears as well even though she is standing on merit, more in a sort of Barbara Castle mould.

Yes I think Labour is set to drift back to the "left" and we are right to re-take the mainstream vote,


I have to say, I think having seen the debate a lot of people would agree that there is little substantial difference between Labour and the Tories anymore. However, unlike some I don't think thats a big problem. For instance; we had most of the candidates saying that they supported wealth creation and opposed punitive taxation - thats the victory of Thatcher for you. This is why I support the leadership of the Tory Party for shifting the debate from tax and economy towards society and the role of (not size of necessarily) the state. We now need to win these arguments.

I didn't realise Hazel was a dwarf, it looked like the sketch that John Cleese and Ronnie Barker did with Ronnie Corbett. "I look down on her, but I look up to him...."

You all (understandably) don't get Labour politics if you think that tonight represented a general shift to the left. It didn't.

There are three "leftwing" candidates - Hain, Cruddas and Harman - leftwing because they're all faux lefties only pandering to a base they really have no credibility with, and three new Labour: Blears, Benn and Johnson.

Keep it in perspective: none of these candidates is a threat or a godsend to the Tories: it's just the largely irrelevent deputy leadership we're talking about (and all will be more effective than Prescott in terms of appealing to the centre ground anyway).

It's simply untrue to claim that all of the candidates tried to distance themselves from the past ten years: Blears is unapologetically not doing so - and credit to her because she's losing votes by not doing so. Johnson and Benn are also largely loyal to Blair.

Harman and Hain should both be dismissed from the government for being utterly disloyal, dishonest and incapable of exercising collective responsibility.

The Labour voting system is preferential. I suspect that the first round will go:

1. Benn
2. Johnson
3. Blears
4. Harman
5. Cruddas
6. Hain

Hain will be eliminated and his votes will splinter all over the place, but more will go to Benn than Johnson, keeping Benn narrowly ahead. Round 2:

1. Benn
2. Johnson
3. Harman
4. Blears
5. Cruddas

Cruddas's votes will largely transfer to Harman, but she'll probably be too far behind to catch up with Benn and Johnson, so round 3 will see exactly the same top four.

Blears votes will go almost entirely to Johnson, enough to push him into the lead:

1. Johnson
2. Benn
3. Harman

It all hinges on how Harman's votes will go. I suspect they'll favour Benn heavily, but I also don't think there'll be sufficient transfers this late on in the preferential system for her to influence things that much. Hence, I predict a - very narrow - Johnson victory.

Politicalbetting.com has Benn 6/4 and Johnson 2/1.

Politicalbetting.com has Benn 6/4 and Johnson 2/1.

Is Benn closer to Gordon Brown politically? They're both nuts about Africa and giving away tonnages of money to corrupt dictators.

Would Gordon be irritated by Johnson's persona? The era of populism is hopefully passing with Blair the master's departure. I doubt anyone wants another one, at least not so soon after Tony.

11.12pm: Cruddas, Harman and Johnson support some sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

If they do that we will be short of illegals and have to import some more !

Don't agree with most of his views but the least nauseating for me was Cruddas. They'll vote Benn in.

Put six politicians from ANY party in a row like that, try to get them to answer straight questions, and nausea is bound to overwhelm you.

Cruddas seemed to be the only one with real principles, closely followed by Benn. Not that I agree with them but at least they stand for something.

I am fond of Jon Cruddas, the only one I can imagine talking to without vomiting. The tory blogosphere equivalent of the Pirates of the Caribbean's Black Spot!

Did anyone notice Hain claiming to have single handedly solved the Northern Ireland problem?

Didn't Thatcher and Major kick that off and Blair spend much of his political capital on it?

Phil - he also led the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa; Nelson Mandela must have been so proud...

...The other issue in this race of course is that it's not just a straight vote of members: I think that Benn may just win the most members' votes, but Johnson will do much better than Benn among MPs - a third of the college; and I suspect he'll also do marginally better among Unions, which are his roots even if he has become more distant from them (most of the union votes will go to Cruddas - but those alone don't make him viable overall).

Paxman lobbed up some really nasty questions, generally trying to force the candidates to twist to the left, or else not answer and appear slippery. Johnson is the obvious choice and the most dangerous operator.


i think the best cigars are from cuba, what You think


We are already a billion!

The number of the Internet users overcomed psychologicly important limit - a billion! This information can be found in the report of U.N.O., named "About informational economy". Amasing grow of the Internet continues, its number of users grew to 20%. First place is occupied by USA (200 million users), China (111 million users), Japan (85 million users).

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